Classic Rock

Whitesnake Unleashes a Stirring Performance of ‘Is This Love’

Whitesnake’s “Is This Love” stands as a monumental track in the annals of rock music, epitomizing the power ballad genre of the 1980s. Released in 1987 as part of their self-titled album, often referred to as “1987” in Europe, the song cemented Whitesnake’s place in rock history. The track was crafted by lead singer David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes, showcasing a softer, more emotive side to the band known for its harder rock edge.

Originally penned by Coverdale with intentions for Tina Turner, “Is This Love” ultimately became a defining moment for Whitesnake, showcasing the band’s versatility and Coverdale’s rich vocal prowess. The song’s composition features a memorable melody, underscored by a slow-burning, emotive guitar riff that complements Coverdale’s heartfelt delivery. The lyrics speak of longing and introspection, exploring the uncertainties and depths of love.

Upon its release, “Is This Love” quickly ascended the charts, becoming a significant commercial success. It resonated with a wide audience, securing a spot in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and achieving similar success in various other countries. Its accompanying music video, featuring Coverdale and actress Tawny Kitaen, became iconic, further amplifying the song’s appeal through heavy rotation on MTV.

The production of “Is This Love” is characterized by its polished sound, typical of the era’s rock ballads, yet it retains an emotional sincerity that prevents it from feeling overly manufactured. The song’s structure, building from a gentle opening to a powerful crescendo, mirrors the emotional rollercoaster of love itself, making it a relatable and enduring piece.

“Is This Love” has since become a staple in Whitesnake’s live performances, often serving as a poignant moment in their concerts. The song’s longevity is a testament to its quality and the universal appeal of its theme. It has been covered and referenced by numerous artists over the years, further solidifying its place in the rock music pantheon.

For Whitesnake, “Is This Love” represents a high point in their career, showcasing their ability to craft songs that transcend the traditional boundaries of rock music. It remains a beloved classic, continuing to captivate new generations of fans with its timeless exploration of love’s complexities.

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