David Coverdale says he believed his career was over when he wrote the Whitesnake classic “Here I Go Again” in 1981.

His first marriage was disintegrating, and relations with his bandmates were breaking down. At the time, Coverdale was living in a small rented apartment while he and his then-spouse slept in separate rooms. He was also feeling low about turning 30.

“As I was writing ‘Here I Go Again’ … about the breakdown of my first marriage, inconsolable, rat-arsed on white port and lemonade … I thought: ‘The party’s over,’” Coverdale tells the Independent. “In those days, nobody thought [Mick] Jagger would still be touring at 78! Are you kidding? These guys keep raising the bar, the bastards!”

“Here I Go Again” stalled at No. 34 in the U.K. upon its initial 1982 release, and didn't chart in the U.S. at all. Coverdale's label urged him to release a new version five years later, and “Here I Go Again ’87” became a transatlantic Top 10 smash. “I wasn’t impressed, but it worked out,” Coverdale recalled. “It was Geffen who convinced me, and thank God they did because that does help with the mortgage!”

An iconic music video featuring the late Tawny Kitaen played a big role in the song's success. She wound up briefly married to Coverdale after they met on the set.

“There was delicious eye candy in there, but we put Tawny in stylish environments and never utilized her as other rock bands were doing with ripped stockings and what have you,” Coverdale said. “It spread over the world to the point that whichever hotel suite I walked into and turned the TV on, nine times out of 10 it was on MTV and seven times out of 10 Tawny was doing cartwheels across two Jags. It just went absolutely nuts, and it continues to be.”

“Here I Go Again” re-entered the charts following Kitaen’s death in May, three decades after the former couple last spoke. “I’ve been involved with my wife, and raised a son,” Coverdale said. “I was very sad, and I sent my condolences to her family. I was under no illusions. It wasn’t like: ‘Oh my God, we’ve got another hit.’ It was: ‘Thank you, Tawn. That was a nice parting gift.’”

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