Single of the Week: David Coverdale – The Last Note of Freedom (7″ Single)

I’m delving into the world of the single! I’ll buy a 7”, 12” or CD single every week and post my findings here. Who knows what musical discoveries will be made?

Another week in my hunt for singles took me to the ever-reliable Missing Records in Glasgow. There was plenty to choose from but nothing that was particularly grabbing me. Until I had flicked through the whole of the “Hard Rock/Metal” section and turned up this one. The Last Note of Freedom by David Coverdale from the Days of Thunder soundtrack.

Cov the Guv is definitely a “HMO Hall of Fame” sort of guy so, although I’m no completist, I was surprised to find that he’d released a solo single that I knew nothing about. My lack of interest in soundtracks and Tom Cruise movies probably didn’t help, admittedly. Compared to the previous two purchases this was relatively expensive at a whole £2 but for an unknown track by an A-List Rock Legend that seemed a pretty good price.

A quick Google for info reveals little. I still don’t know who plays guitar on it and if I believed Wikipedia I’d think David Coverdale co-wrote it. He didn’t; it was written by composer Hans Zimmer and none other than Billy Idol! So if you ever find yourself playing “Six Degrees of Cov the Guv” and Billy Idol’s name comes up… you’re onto a winner. You can thank me later.

The song is an 80s sounding, montage-friendly ballad. Lots of keyboards and some token heavy guitar in the middle section. Coverdale uses his lower, husky range to great effect and sounds on great form. The quality of his voice brings to mind the album he would record later with Jimmy Page. After the driving middle section, Cov starts doing his Tarzan bit. I’ve enjoyed this so much it’s already been played four times this week. If I’d heard this in 1990 I would have been right into it. It’s a welcome addition to my David Coverdale collection.

One note of warning! I listened to this before a game of Badminton with EvaOverload thinking it would give me the necessary Rocky-style motivation for excellence. In an “eat thunder and crap lightning” sort of way. Unfortunately, I listened to it WHILE SHE WAS IN THE ROOM so, in her own words, she “took succour” from it and later handed out a merciless drubbing.

Amount spent on purchases: £2

Amount spent in total so far: £431

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42 thoughts on “Single of the Week: David Coverdale – The Last Note of Freedom (7″ Single)”

  1. What is the B-side?

    This song was the music for our high school graduating class back in 1991. I have always loved this song. The album (Days of Thunder soundtrack) does not indicate who plays on it. All I know is that it was produced by Trevor Horn and written by Hans Zimmer with lyrics only by Billy Idol.

    When I first heard it, I took this to be the clearest indication that Whitesnake had broken up, which is in fact what had happened.

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    1. That’s what I was wondering because this would have been just after Slip of the Tongue right?

      So was it actually a hit anywhere? I don’t remember it at all and there doesn’t seem to be a promo video (not that I can find anyway).

      The B-Side is just a piece the Hans Zimmer score. “Car Building”. Pretty inconsequential soundtrackery. Parp parp parp. Apparently Jeff Beck played on the score but it doesn’t sound like him on either of these tunes.

      Cov’s voice is great on this, by the way.

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      1. Ahh OK. Is the A-side the edit version? Or full length? Full length should be 5:40 or so.

        No this wasn’t a hit, but somehow somebody in our highschool grad committee heard it and used it for our video collage. Cool.

        The hit from this soundtrack was Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, you might have heard of the band that did it? Guns N’ Something? They hadn’t released an album in 3 years or so, and this (and Civil War) was the only new music of theirs to be heard during that steamy summer of 1990. Clearly in the public’s mind, that overshadowed a mere Coverdale solo track.

        Incidentally that version of Knockin’ is different from the album version and remains exclusive to the soundtrack.

        Good find man. This is one I would have added to my collection, especially at that price.

        I’ve always assumed it possible that the guitar was by Adrian Vandenburg, but I’ve never seen any evidence one way or the other. It doesn’t seem like his style, but then again, neither did most of Restless Heart.

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      2. You must have been typing this comment as I was typing mine! Haha

        Is the version of Knocking very different? Is it the mix that’s different? I don’t even remember it being released in conjunction with this movie either. I remember seeing a video on TV that had clips. I’m guessing it would have been Show Me Heaven by Maria McKee, that went to No.1 over here. It really was the age of the movie ballad!

        Adrian Vandenberg would have been my first guess as guitarist… the solo’s just generic widdle really isn’t it?

        It’s only 4.44 so an edited version. Good buy for the price though, especially as I didn’t even know about it. My single project is paying off dividends already!

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      3. An edit version eh? Well I’ll put this out there right now — if you see another copy, snag it for me. I don’t have the edit. They’re not high on my priority list but I do like to have them.

        The difference on Knockin’ is addition lyrics. It’s in this section. Additional words, all spoken, by Axl, are in brackets:

        “Mama put my guns in the ground,
        (It wasn’t their fault.)
        I can shoot them anymore,
        (How were they even supposed to know?)
        That cold black cloud is coming down,
        (All things can be healed in time.)
        Feels like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door,
        (Why? Why do you — something something that I can’t make out)”

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      4. Urgh, don’t like the sound of those extra lyrics much. Not surprised those were removed for the later version.

        Not only an edit version but I think it might have been remixed too. Someone is credited with remixing it and I just read an old interview with Coverdale where he mentioned the album version being a bit of a mess and a remix version that he preferred. Think this might be that? Does your album mention any remixing by Carlos somebody? I’ll keep an eye out for another copy.

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      5. I actually prefer that version of Knockin’ to be honest. When I hear the album version, it always sounds like something is missing during that verse.

        A remix?! No, the album version is not remixed and I certainly wouldn’t have called it a mess! But now I want that single even more. I know it was released on CD single (I was looking after I read your article) so perhaps we’ll see how this Christmas goes.

        Great find. Always a wonderful thing when you can show LeBrain something that he didn’t know existed, that ends up on his wishlists.

        See what I did there? Talking in the 3rd person like I said I would 🙂

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      6. That’s interesting, Knocking was never a favourite of mine. Maybe I’d prefer that version too.

        I’m really glad you’re getting some new info from my discoveries! I’ve bought and heard so much great stuff due to reading your blog I’ve lost track!

        A wee quote I found from Cov about the production:

        “(Trevor Horn) was so under the pressure from David Geffen to finish the record I don’t think it was one of his better mixes so I had a guy called Chris Lord Alge re-mix it and they were talking about it being a single so there’s an actual much better version in the can than the album version.”

        Don’t know where I got “Carlos” from but I’m pretty sure that’s the guy that’s listed on my single. I’ll check when I get home to make sure.

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      7. Now I’m confused more. Are Chris Lord-Alge and Tom Lord-Alge the same person? Because the Gold CD clearly states it’s TOM.

        HOWEVER…

        I know for a fact that the single mix of “Now You’re Gone” was done by CHRIS Lord-Alge. I know this from the single credits, and an old 1990 interview with Steve Vai where he described working with CHRIS Lord-Alge on the remix, and on Passion and Warfare.

        But Whitesnake Gold lists “Now You’re Gone” as ALSO being remixed by this “Tom” Lord-Alge.

        Maybe simply a mistake on the Whitesnake Gold CD.

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      8. My guess as to the difference in the versions would be how many times Axl said “… on heaven’s door-whoar hey hey hey hey hey yeah.” Because that’s eloquence right there. And it’d make a difference if there were more or less of those beautiful little tidbits.

        By the way, what the hell is a door-whoar, Axl?

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  2. Drive through the smoke, Cole! Drive THROUGH the smoke! Hahaha such a terrible movie but that part was hilarious.

    Anyway. On a related and completely unnecessary note, I once had a pair of orange Days Of Thunder sunglasses from Harvey’s. Got ’em when you bought a burger. I wore those for a long time. Isn’t childhood grand?

    Glad you enjoyed your single. This is a great addition to the site! And you’ve added them to your Money Spent Total. Well done. Can’t wait to see what you get next week.

    And if I ever come to Glasgow again, you are taking me to these shops, for sure.

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      1. Yes, burgers are happy things. Even if they’re fast food. Nothing compares to homemade properly, but in a pinch…

        I’ll hold you to that tour offer. Just gotta get my canoe out of the shop.

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      2. Because every good Canadian owns a canoe! hahaha. No, I think for the North Atlantic, I’d prefer to be in an airplane soaring over it all. Not ON an airplane, as George Carlin so adroitly pointed out. To paraphrase him, you are free to get ON the plane and ride there if you like, I will be getting IN the plane, thank you very much.” Great loss, was George’s death.

        As for the ‘good stuff,’ you’re right. Except that every week you could be looking right past things that I would consider to be good stuff and you wouldn’t even know. Same as when we went to Toronto, we might’ve skipped right past something you’ve wanted for ages and we wouldn’t have known. So here’s the deal: you come here, we’ll take you ’round, we’ll go there and expect the same! WOO!

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  3. HMO,
    I decided to check my numerous Whitesnake compilations here. I have one called Whitesnake Gold, which contains an “alternate mix” of Last Note of Freedom.

    It was remixed by Tom Lord-Alge, is it noticeably different, much clearer, heavier, different guitar parts, but is 5 minutes long, so clearly not the same as the 4:44 edit version. You still have a version that I don’t have.

    Incidentally even Whitesnake Gold lacks musician credits. BUT — BUT! It does have a writing credit. And guess who has a writing credit on this version? Coverdale himself. According to Whitesnake Gold, it’s written by Coverdale/Zimmer/Idol!

    So basically with this research we’ve only muddified the clarification!

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      1. Could be an American-exclusive comp. It has lots of rare tracks on it. Remixes, and an unreleased song from Cov’s Into The Light sessions. Highly recommended even though it overlaps with other comps out there, it has enough stuff to make it worthwhile.

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      2. No problem man! USUALLY the “Gold” series of albums is just useless re-releases. Rush Gold is just Retrospective I and II, I believe. Aerosmith Gold is just a re-release of other compilations. But Whitesnake Gold is valuable to my collection.

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      3. You ARE the music sleuth! Interesting that Tom got the credit while Chris did the remix. I wonder if that makes Christmas dinner awkward at the Lord-Alge household.

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      4. It’s great when this happens. I can’t believe there’s been this large a comment thread about one single!

        Just got home and checked the single… remixed by Chris Lord-Alge but just Zimmer/Idol credited as writers.

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