It seems that WHITESNAKE’s classic track “Here I Go Again” has debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Hard Rock Songs chart after the death of Julie E. “Tawny” Kitaen, who appeared in the song’s video. According to Billboard, the song drew 2.5 million U.S. streams, up 22%, and sold 1,000 downloads, up 178% for the week leading up to May 22nd.
Kitaen passed away at her home in Newport Beach on May 7 at the age of 59. Her exact cause of death has not yet been fully revealed.
WHITESNAKE lead singer, David Coverdale, was dating Kitaen when the band were working on their 1987 self-titled album. She soon began to appear in several of WHITESNAKE’s music videos, including “Here I Go Again”, “Is This Love” and “Still Of The Night”.
Last June, Tawny told “Ouch, You’re On My Hair” about how she ended up being featured in the WHITESNAKE videos: “Ironically, I started dating David. He was two million dollars in debt to David Geffen at that time. I was working and had more money than David at that time, so I kind of supported us a little. And when I heard the album and I was allowed to go in and help mix the album… You know how when you sing different tracks, they give you a piece of paper and you pick the word from the best track. So I was able to do that. And John Kalodner, who was the biggest A&R guy in the business, who works for David Geffen, in my ‘E! True Hollywood Story’ called me Yoko Ono — because I picked the album covers, I picked the single, I picked the photographer. I made the rule that no girls were allowed backstage, so the groupies must have hated me.
“I’ll tell you how I came to be in the video,” she continued. “Marty Callner, the director of all the WHITESNAKE videos, had it all planned out — had the girl, had everything. The night before the shoot, David said, ‘Will you come with me to Marty, the director of the video’s house? We have to go over the story boards.’ So we went over to his Bel Air mansion, and he opens up the door, and without even saying hi or hello, he pointed at me and he said, ‘You’re her.’ And I’m, like, ‘I’m who?’ And he said, ‘You’re the girl.’ And I was already an actress. I had turned down a couple of bands from not being in their video, because I was an actress. ‘I’m not gonna do a rock video. Are you kidding?’ That was the mentality. But it was my boyfriend at the time’s video, so I thought, ‘All right, I’ve already helped my boyfriend on all the RATT album covers’ — referring to her former boyfriend, late RATT guitarist Robbin Crosby — “why can’t I help my boyfriend in his videos?’ And so that’s how it happened. And this poor girl got a call that she was no longer gonna be in it, and here I was.”
Coverdale and Kitaen were married in 1989 however the union would only last two years.
Prior to connecting with WHITESNAKE, Kitaen appeared in RATT’s “Back For More” music video. She was also featured in several reality shows, including “The Surreal Life”, “Botched” and “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew”.