Despite redundancy, this deluxe edition of Whitesnake’s 1984 LP revisits a band on the cusp of world domination
Every year or two, there is another Whitesnake compilation. 2019 is no exception with Slide It In: The Ultimate Special Edition, which celebrates that album’s 35th anniversary.
Slide It In precedes Whitesnake’s most recognizable asset: videos featuring Tawny Kitaen. Even so, many finely crafted and immaculately delivered hits overwhelm more than 50% of the 1984 album.
Despite the revolving door of band members after the UK release of Slide It In through to the North American release a year later, these are timeless classics. Versions from opposite sides of the pond featured entirely different musicians and different mixes, namely the debut of former Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes on the US recordings, whose input on the group’s eponymous 1987 LP helped lead them to a platinum mountain. But that doesn’t hold back the impact of the provocative “Slide It In” and “Slow an’ Easy,” the grinding “Love Ain’t No Stranger” and “Standing in the Shadow,” the swinging “Gambler” and saucy “Spit it Out.” Six million copies of Slide It In sold attest to that fact.
The issue with Slide It In: The Ultimate Special Edition is that, at an indulgent six discs with just under 100 songs, you’re fed up with the whole thing by the end of the second iteration. Disc One is the 2019 remaster of the original with a different running order. Disc Two is the same thing except with UK mixes and three bonus tracks: the cover of the blues rock standard, “Need Your Love So Bad,” and the 7” Eddie Kramer 1983 mixes of “Gambler” and “Guilty of Love.” If it weren’t for these bonus tracks, Disc two would be utterly redundant despite the difference in personnel.
At this point, the songs are starting to wear on you. And then Disc Three kicks in. This is the Slide It In, the album, again, but 2019 remixes, with the add on of “Need Your Love So Bad,” also remixed for 2019. Frankly, these remixes aren’t different enough from the originals to justify a disc of their own.
PHOTO: Whitesnake 1984 Official Tour Programme
Disc Four is peppered through with commentary from Whitesnake vocalist, David Coverdale, who provides 30 seconds or so of anecdotes and back stories to each song. These are followed by 1983 monitor mixes of the Slide It In songs. The bonus material on this disc is Coverdale speaking about the US versus UK versions of the album, plus live versions of “Gambler,” “Guilty of Love,” “Love Ain’t No Stranger” and “Ready An’ Willing.” These are taken from legendary keyboardist Jon Lord’s last performance with Whitesnake for the Swedish television program Måndagsbörsen in April of 1984.
If you still haven’t heard these songs enough, Disc Five is from the band’s concert in Glasgow in March 1984 at the Apollo Theatre. While it’s great to hear the crowd singing and chanting, by now, the songs have really worn thin on the listener. But it’s not over yet, Disc Six is a combination of rough or “ruff” mixes, very early versions of the Slide It In songs as well as instrumentals, a capellas, individual instrument excerpts, raw demos, unfinished demos and general studio tomfoolery.
On top of all this, there is a DVD with music videos, live footage and a Coverdale interview. Luckily, however, no one is forcing anyone to listen to this much of the same album. Should you want it piecemeal, there are options to purchase the physical item in varying small and large packages in your choice of formats. Talk about a Slide-ing scale.