In Whitesnake’s early days, they had some really cool album covers. Both the UK and US versions of Trouble were pretty cool. The UK version (pictured) looks like a rub-on tattoo you’d get out of a 50 cent vending machine, and the ’80s kid in me appreciates that. Lovehunter was a sexy cover depicting a naked woman wrapped up by/riding a giant snake. Surely an image worthy of being airbrushed onto the side of a van! Come An’ Get It is also an interesting airbrushed piece of art featuring a green snake all wrapped up inside an apple just waiting to strike out with its poisonous fangs. Slide It In has the band returning to the imagery of a woman’s assets by having a snake sliding down into a woman’s cleavage. Even the logo that all of these albums share is pretty cool as it’s just one extremely long snake spelling out “Whitesnake”.
That brings us to the band’s self-titled album from 1987 (which for some reason was actually titled 1987 for European and the Australian markets). A new logo and a weathered emblem with the initials “WS” on what I have always assumed to be a cracked wall, but it could just as easily be a tombstone or sidewalk I suppose! It’s a good album cover in its own right. This era was a turning point for when Coverdale got more serious about the band having a modern commercial appeal and it shows here. The album cover is not only classic, but classy. It’s definitely one of the memorable album covers from the 1980s in my opinion.
Slip of the Tongue (1989)
Much like the music on Slip of the Tongue, the cover art largely feels like more of the same in regards to the band’s 1987 effort. Except this time even more polished and slicker and softer. The WS emblem now appears to have taken the form a wax seal on some type of parchment paper complete with a ribbon.
Good To Be Bad (2008)
Skip ahead some 19 years to the next proper Whitesnake studio album and we see a big “X” that signifies Good To Be Bad as the band’s tenth album. There’s also that “WS” emblem and a largely plain background other than the gold “X”. Seeing a theme now?
“I’ve got an idea for the next cover album! Enlarge that emblem and make everything gold!”
The Purple Album (2015)
“Now make it purple.”
Flesh & Blood (2019)
“We gotta change it up, guys. Put some snakeskin in the background.”
Is this really the final album art? I’m not a fan of this one at all. The red is hard to read on top the dark-colored snakeskin and the top and bottom look a bit blurry. It looks like this thing was thrown together by an amateur in Adobe PhotoShop.
But, wait… There’s more!
Whitesnake didn’t reserve its iconic emblem only for studio releases! Plenty of live releases and compilations to go around with some slight variations on the theme every now and then. Here’s a few highlights:
Greatest Hits (1994)
Um… I think the guy that designed Flesh & Blood may have been a fan of this cover art. You can’t read the text on this one either! Red font and snakeskin does NOT go together, people!
Okay, I admit I’ve always loved this album art. One of my favorite live albums of all-time, too.
30th Anniversary Collection (2008)
An obvious callback to the off-whitish textured backgrounds of Whitesnake and Slip of the Tongue, but now with more emblems! Why use just one when you can use three?!
Live At Donington 1990 (2011)
Okay, at least this gets back to the goofy & cheesy snakes of the band’s late ’70s and early ’80s album art, but the outer ring of the WS emblem is still present.
Oh, come on! You are not even trying at this point! They’re really just working from a template, aren’t they? Give Forevermore, The Purple Album, Flesh & Blood, and this release the same background and you’d wouldn’t know you were looking at FOUR different albums unless you took the time to read the text.
The Purple Tour (2018)
All they did was zoom out on The Purple Album and add in the band members for this release! If you didn’t look close enough, you’d think this album was an alternate cover for The Purple Album.
And if that’s not enough, here’s the rest!
I hope whoever designed that Whitesnake emblem is getting royalties. If not, he’s probably kicking himself.