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Although Whitesnake's late-'80s era is its best known (when the group scored a steady stream of hits in the Led Zep and power ballad mold), longtime fans know that the band was around for several years previously, issuing albums that sold well in Europe but were largely ignored in the States. The 12-track 2002 compilation Best focuses entirely on Whitesnake's early era. Although these tracks aren't as renowned as "Still of the Night" and "Is This Love?," quite a few longtime Whitesnake fans prefer the group's earlier, more straightforward hard rock direction, akin at times to Deep Purple's 1973-1975 sound (which shouldn't come as a surprise, since three Purple alumni, singer David Coverdale, keyboardist Jon Lord, and drummer Ian Paice were also Whitesnake members). If you're looking to dig a bit deeper into Whitesnake's early years, Best is a good place to start, as such forgotten rockers as "Love Hunter" and "Walking in the Shadow of the Blues" are showcased here, as well as (surprise, surprise) a trio of tracks that would later be re-recorded by Whitesnake in much better-known versions, "Fool for Your Loving," "Crying in the Rain," and "Here I Go Again." For a solid Whitesnake collection pre-Slide It In, Best is recommended.

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