Whitesnake leader David Coverdale wrote this song in Portugal. While it's typically thought of as an inspiring song about facing your challenges head-on, it's really a song about heartbreak and the loneliness that comes with it. The song documents the breakdown of Coverdale's first marriage to Julia, with whom he tied the knot in 1974.
This was written in 1981 after Whitesnake toured the UK. The band went on hiatus when lead singer David Coverdale's daughter got sick that year, but this was resurrected in 1982 when he reformed the group and released Saints 'N' Sinners. The new version changed the line "Like a hobo I was born to walk alone" to "Like a drifter I was born to walk alone."
This was first released in 1982 on Whitesnake's album Saints 'N' Sinners. The album went to #34 in the UK, but was hardly noticed in the US. In 1987, it was remixed with new backing vocals and more slick production for the album Whitesnake 1987. It became a huge hit in the US and also did well in England, where it was released as the "US Mix."
Coverdale formed Whitesnake after leaving Deep Purple. Since he was well known in the UK, Whitesnake did well there, but they did not hit it big in the US until this album, which had a very radio-friendly sound.
Whitesnake opened for Motley Crue when they toured the US in support of the Whitesnake 1987 album.
The video features very quick clips of the actress Tawny Kitaen dancing seductively on the hood of two Jaguars (cars, not cats). One belonged to Coverdale, the other belonged to the guy who directed the video. It was a huge hit on MTV, and one of the first "tease" videos. Especially among hair bands, it became popular to show flashes of beautiful women throughout the video to keep the viewers interested.
Kitaen, who was in the movie Bachelor Party, also appeared in the Whitesnake videos "Still Of The Night," "Is This Love?," and "The Deeper The Love." She and Coverdale were married in 1989 and divorced in 1991.
This song entered the news in 2002 under some strange circumstances. Tawny Kitaen married the baseball player Chuck Finley in 1997. In April 2002, she was arrested for spousal abuse after kicking him with her high-heeled shoes while he was driving. Finley filed for divorce soon after.
Soon after Kitaen was arrested, the DJ for the Chicago White Sox was fired for playing this song to the stadium while Finley was warning up for his team, the Cleveland Indians.
As portrayed in the 2010 movie The Fighter, this was the theme song for the boxer Micky Ward, who used it for inspiration during training and before fights. Coverdale recalled on the VH1 Classic program That Metal Show that he read the script for The Fighter before he gave permission for the song to be used in the movie. "I [didn't] know how good it [was] going to be," he said. "But to see Christian Bale, 'Batman' singing your tune, are you kidding! It was amazing, very uplifting and inspiring. I thought the movie was great."