David Coverdale founded Whitesnake in 1977 in North Yorkshire, England. The core line-up had been working as his backing band The White Snake Band on the White Snake album tour and they retained the title before officially being known as Whitesnake. They toured with Coverdale as his support band and for both of the solo albums he released, White Snake and Northwinds, between exiting Deep Purple and founding Whitesnake. During the band's early years their music was primarily blues rock (although Coverdale described Whitesnake's early style as "progressive R&B").
At this time, the band was made up of David Coverdale, Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody, Neil Murray and drummer David "Duck" Dowle with keyboardist Brian Johnston. Johnston would soon be replaced by Procol Harum organ player and keyboardist Pete Solley. Because of Solley's producing commitments he was replaced by the former Deep Purple keyboard player Jon Lord, during sessions for the first LP.
The band's early material has been compared by critics to Deep Purple but by the mid 1980s Whitesnake had moved away from the early blues influenced hard rock to a more commercial heavy metal style.
Whitesnake were named the 85th greatest hard rock band of all time by VH1.