Well, I'm a little late to the party as they say because I am just finding out that The White Stripes broke up over a year ago, in February 2011. Let's take a look at some of my favorite tracks from their six album discography, starting with this kickass video for The Hardest Button to Button, which was directed by Michel Gondry, who later went on to direct Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and, more recently.........The Green Hornet.
Let's start from the beginning, shall we? Jack White and Meg White are not brother and sister, as some speculated, at least early on in their career. They actually got married on September 21st, 1996, and Jack took Meg's surname (his original name was John Anthony Gillis). They divorced in March 2000. Now that that's out of the way......
Their first album, simply titled The White Stripes, was released on June 15th, 1999. They didn't get much national press but they established themselves in the Detroit rock scene, with Jack White saying years later that "I still feel we've never topped our first album. It's the most raw, the most powerful, and most Detroit-sounding record we've made". My favorite song from it has always been Astro.
Their second album, De Stijl (Dutch for "The Style"), was released on June 20th, 2000. It didn't actually chart until 2002 when their popularity was beginning to grow.
Favorite Track: Why Can't You Be Nicer to Me, which was used in an episode of The Simpsons. This recording took place at the 4th Street Fair in Detroit in 1998.
White Blood Cells, released on July 3rd, 2001, is the first album that I heard regularly on the radio. Hotel Yorba was the first song of theirs that I remember seeing on MTV. I remember thinking "why the hell do they keep playing this song?" and "what's the big deal with the White Stripes? I'm not seeing it."
Well, after hearing Fell in Love With a Girl and watching Michel Gondry's music video, I definitely saw what they were about. Then they showed up on The Late Show with David Letterman and said hello.
They were big after White Blood Cells, but they became huge with their follow-up, 2003's Elephant. It was the major label debut for the duo, and the first time they took number one in the UK charts, as well as a top ten album in the US. Not bad for an album that was recorded over just two weeks with some shoddy equipment that included a duct-taped 8-track tape machine.
When promoting Elephant, the band went on Conan O'Brien and did a cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene that my friends know I love because I put it on just about every mix cd I made at the time.
2005's Get Behind Me Satan was the much anticipated follow-up to Elephant. I never actually got too into it, but it definitely had it's moments.
Favorite track: The Denial Twist - which I didn't know has this insanely rad video.
The bands final album, 2007's Icky Thump was more my style, and might even be my favorite of their collection. The title track was a great lead single, followed by an even better song in You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You're Told).
My favorite track on Icky Thump is Conquest, a cover of a song originally written by Corky Robbins and popularized by Patti Page in the 1950's.