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“Here I Go Again”: The Mysterious Whitesnake Song That Sheds Its Skin

here i go again

There are many who would argue that once a piece of art is released to the world, it no longer belongs to the creator.

Rather, it belongs to those who stumble across it out in the wild, those who weave it inextricably into the fabric of their personalities and souls, which, in a way, sanctifies the art, making post-release alterations a rather dubious matter.

I mean… imagine if Leonardo da Vinci decided a decade after completing the Mona Lisa that she needed more prominent eyebrows, or if Michelangelo had later decided that “The Creation of Adam” should actually have been “The Creation of Duck-Billed Platypus”.

Well, this is precisely the scenario we’re facing with Whitesnake’s seminal hit “Here I Go Again”.

Granted, it’s not exactly “high-brow art” in the same way the above examples are, but this classic rock tune means a lot to countless people, yet it seems to have changed mysteriously a number of times throughout the years.

here i go again

Has “Here I Go Again” Changed, Or Are We All Going Mad?

We may well all be going mad, but our steady descent into insanity has very little to do with the perceived evolution of Whitesnake’s stadium rock rager, “Here I Go Again”.

Our collective confusion regarding the differences between the track of bygone days and the track we hear today is not an example of the Mandela Effect — It definitely has been amended, and not just once either, but a number of times!

What Has Changed About “Here I Go Again”?

The original rendition of the infamous glam metal track was released in 1982 as part of the band’s fifth studio release, Saints & Sinners. It featured Jon Lord tickling the ivories of a Hammond organ and Bernie Marsden alongside Micky Moody on guitar.

If you came of age in the eighties, you probably know the chorus…

Here I go again on my own

Going down the only road I’ve ever known

Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone

But get this… these aren’t the original lyrics! — Shocking, I know. Let’s take a look at the untampered-with words of this classic Whitesnake fist-pumper.

Here I go again on my own

Going down the only road I’ve ever known

Like a hobo, I was born to walk alone

This is the version of the song heard on Saints & Sinners, but interestingly, although this was the very first studio recording of the track, “hobo” wasn’t exactly the word David Coverdale wanted to use when he initially penned the lyrics.

As it happens, Coverdale really did write “Like a drifter I was born to walk alone” before the band hit the studio, but after worrying that “drifter” had become rather played out and platitudinous in song lyrics of the time so he switched the word out for “hobo”. Maybe he didn’t want to risk any association with the Beat Generation and their famous drifters.

Happily, no changes were made to the music video, which featured the one and only Tawny Kitaen.

When Was The Change Made?

The changes occurred in 1987, five years after the track’s initial release. The newly recorded version was included in the track list of the band’s self-titled album that dropped later that year.

Apparently, making changes to a previously recorded Whitesnake song was Coverdale’s idea, but “Here I Go Again” wasn’t necessarily the track he wished to tinker with.

David’s master plan was to re-record “Crying in the Rain” from Saints & Sinners, which he was permitted to do so by the label, Geffen Records, on the basis that the band also re-recorded “Here I Go Again” for their upcoming release.

Coverdale agreed to the terms, and the band hit the studio to record the version that would eventually be attached to the “Here I Go Again” music video.

The most notable alteration was of course the substitution of “hobo” for the original “drifter”, as Coverdale (and the label) were concerned people might mistake the lyric for;

like a homo I was born to walk alone.

It Wasn’t Just The Lyrics That Were Altered

The run time of the original ‘92 “Here I Go Again” was 5:08, building momentum gradually with Coverdale’s singing and Hammond’s organ playing, but the amended version runs a total of 4:35, with the organ replaced by a more gripping keyboard passage played by Don Airey.

Although the guitars sound relatively similar, they were tracked by John Sykes, whilst the solo was played by Adrian Vandenberg. Furthermore, the new track was set to a slightly different BPM and arrived sans drums at the 4:22 mark.

Here They Go Again Changing Everything

Despite the track’s original appearance on Saints & Sinners, Geffen planned to use “Here I Go Again” as one of the lead tracks on the soon-to-be-released Whitesnake record, so they asked the band to make a third studio version tailored to radio play.

This time around, the meandering intro was axed, reducing the runtime to 3:52. The drums and guitar burst onto the scene immediately, with Coverdale’s vocals buried 22 seconds into the track, giving DJs plenty of time to introduce it on the radio.

Final Thoughts

Obviously, with legal rights to the song, Whitesnake and Geffen technically did nothing wrong when they altered “Here I Go Again”, but we fans might not be as forgiving as the law.

Thankfully, though, the essence of the song remains very much intact, and as each version is available on all major streaming platforms (albeit remastered), you can choose to listen to whichever rendition means the most to you.

Check out the video below from Whitesnake TV to see the band in the official music video for “Here I Go Again”.

Can you catch which version they perform?

whitesnake

“Here I Go Again” Lyrics

I don’t know where I’m going
But I sure know where I’ve been
Hanging on the promises in songs of yesterday
And I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time
Here I go again, here I go again

Though I keep searching for an answer
I never seem to find what I’m looking for
Oh Lord, I pray you give me strength to carry on
‘Cause I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

Here I go again on my own
Going down the only road I’ve ever known
Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone
And I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time

I’m just another heart in need of rescue
Waiting on love’s sweet charity
And I’m gonna hold on for the rest of my days
‘Cause I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

And here I go again on my own
Going down the only road I’ve ever known
Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone
And I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time
But here I go again

Here I go again
Here I go again
Here I go

‘Cause I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

And here I go again on my own
Going down the only road I’ve ever known
Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone
And I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time

And here I go again on my own
Going down the only road I’ve ever known
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone

‘Cause I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams

And here I go again on my own
Going down the only road I’ve ever known
Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone