Dave Grohl invited the doctor who helped fix his broken leg onstage at a Foo Fighters show in Boston last year, covering The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’. “Holy shit, that’s actually my doctor,” Grohl exclaimed to the audience after the rendition. “What a badass.” Check out the footage below:
It wasn’t the first time another band have seen fit to take on one of Jack and Meg’s garage-rock anthems though. Here’s another eight memorable White Stripes covers from across the years…
Ryan Adams – ‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground’
Unlike the original, this live cover doesn’t crash right in – that’s not Ryan Adams’ style. Instead it builds throughout, cymbals gradually added into the bluesy mix as he switches from an atmospheric croon to a moody yelp. You can hear little whoops from the crowd in the background; Jack White would doubtless also approve.
Bob Dylan – ‘Ball And Biscuit’
What bigger compliment is there than having one of your songs covered by Bob Dylan? Well, getting to perform it with him, probably. Jack White received that honour at the Detroit State Theatre in 2004, condensing his seven-minute blues jam into five, swapping verses with Dylan and, we can safely assume, having the time of his life.
Of Montreal – ‘Fell In Love With A Girl’
You’d expect these loveable psychedelic weirdos to utterly deconstruct the original track: chirpy synths, dramatic arrangements, vocal acrobatics, the lot. But all of a sudden you’re listening to actual garage-rock, on perhaps one of the most faithful White Stripes covers you’ve ever heard. How about that. Nice one, Of Montreal!
Tracey Thorn – ‘In The Cold, Cold Night’
Accompanied by a lilting guitar part, the Everything But The Girl singer pitches this one far lower than Meg White, and swaps ominous bass for pretty liberal use of the drumkit. The result spins what was a menacing siren song into something almost upbeat, but that’s no real surprise – this was recorded for a Christmas album called ‘Tinsel and Lights’.
The Flaming Lips – ‘Seven Nation Army’
Late Night Tales often produces interesting covers – Django Django’s cover of The Monkees’ ‘Porpoise Song’, or Midlake’s version of Black Sabbath’s ‘Am I Going Insane’, to name but a few. On The Flaming Lips’ own curated album they chose to take on ‘Seven Nation Army’. Theirs is a bold, hefty version that rattles the eardrums with spiky bass and an added police siren. Factor in the echoing vocals and this cover takes on an identity of its own – which, as the huge number of faceless ‘SNA’ cover versions out there show, isn’t easy with this song.
The Golden Filter – ‘The Hardest Button to Button’
Released only on vinyl as a B-side to single ‘Thunderbird’, this cover clothes the fuzzy original in sharp, slick electro. It’s weird for bleeping synths – and even more jarringly, drum machines – to have anything at all to do with the Stripes, but that makes the survival of the track’s essence all the more impressive.
Bright Eyes & First Aid Kit – ‘We’re Going To Be Friends’
It must be difficult to cover this primary school-themed song without making it sound horrendously maudlin. That’s not a quality Jack White seems capable of producing in music, but with these guys, it’s a danger. Luckily Bright Eyes pull it off along with Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit by using a Gameboy-style synth to manipulate your nostalgic tendencies.
Bigga Haitian – ‘My Doorbell’
You would never have thought anything White Stripes would work in a reggae style, but this totally, totally does. Almost too well. Almost like, you want to hear a reggae version of every White Stripes song ever produced. Just out of curiosity. Just to see. Because maybe – maybe – not just this song, but all White Stripes songs could work with a saxophone solo. And it’s of the utmost importance that we find this out, as soon as possible.