Jack White’s first real experience as a musician was for the cowpunk band Goober & The Peas. He drummed for the band under his real name John Gillis. He was also several other groups, including The Go, Two-Star Tabernacle, and Two Part Resin.
Jack met Meg shortly after, and the band played their first gig as The White Stripes in July 1997. Their debut single ‘Let’s Shake Hands’ was released in February 1998, followed by ‘Lafayette Blues’ in October that year.
The White Stripes’ third single, ‘The Big Three Killed My Baby’, was released on Sympathy For The Record Industry, the label that would go on to release their first three albums: their eponymous debut, ‘De Stijl’, and ‘White Blood Cells’.
2001’s ‘White Blood Cells’ became their breakthrough record, and was picked up by V2 in the Us and XL in Europe. It brought the world ‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground’ and ‘Hotel Yorba’.
Check out our discography of the band, which has a run down of all their albums and what NME said at the time.
The White Stripes headlined Glastonbury in June 2005. They opened their legendary slot with ‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground’ (watch that song performed live) before running through a hit-packed set and ending on ‘Seven Nation Army’.
The White Stripes grace the cover of NME in 2005, the year ‘Get Behind Me Satan’ was released. The album, featuring ‘Blue Orchid’ and ‘My Doorbell’, was awarded 8/10 by the magazine.
2003’s ‘Elephant’ was The White Stripes major label debut. Featuring ‘The Hardest Button To Button’ and perhaps their greatest calling card ‘Seven Nation Army’, it won them a Grammy the following year.
Jack And Meg White dressed as pearly kings and queens for the cover of their latest album, 2007’s ‘Icky Thump’. We spoke to their stylist about the arduous process of making the costumes.
After ‘Elephant’, the band released two more albums: 2005’s ‘Get Behind Me Satan’, and their swansong, 2007’s ‘Icky Thump’. Fans of the band can take some solace in the fact that they promised in their final statement to release more music, including unreleased material.
The White Stripes won numerous awards over their career, including Brits, Grammys, MTV awards and an NME Award, Best Single, for ‘Seven Nation Army. Watch their acceptance speech online now.
In 2007, The White Stripes were forced to cancel a series of dates after Meg suffered an attack of acute anxiety. Not long ago, Jack White was telling Vanity Fair that he was looking forward to getting back in the studio with Meg, but that seems like a distant dream now.
In 2008, The White Stripes reissued their first three albums – their eponymous debut, ‘De Stijl’, and ‘White Blood Cells’. Next week’s NME features a reappraisal of these, and indeed all of their LPs.
The band released a documentary film and live album entitled ‘Under Great White Northern Lights’ in 2010. It featured concert footage from a 2007 Canadian tour and would end up being their final full length release (to date).
In addition to his work with The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, Jack White has produced several other albums over the last few years, including efforts from Wanda Jackson, The Black Belles and Karen Elson.
The White Stripes announced their split officially on February 2, 2011.
The band’s label Third Man released a statement outlining why the band broke up: “The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health. It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.”
Jack and Meg added their own statement: “The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”