Where To Start With… Jack White
Since the emergence of his band The White Stripes at the very back end of the 90s, Jack White has become one of the most prolific artists in recent memory. In addition to the six White Stripes albums he’s also released two albums as a member of The Raconteurs, the band he formed with Brendan Benson, another two with The Dead Weather, where he added playing the drums to his long list of musical talents, and a solo album, the Grammy-nominated Blunderbuss, released under his own name. On top of all that he has also been involved in collaborations with the likes of Electric Six, co-written a James Bond theme with Alicia Keys and featured as a guest on a host of other records, including Rome, the Spaghetti Western-inspired joint project from producer Danger Mouse and composer Daniele Lippi.
As if that wasn’t enough he’s also worked as a producer for many artists - particularly those from his hometown of Detroit - and founded Third Man Records, a Nashville-based label boasting its own studio, where White has just finished producing the latest album from Neil Young.
Next week marks the release of his second solo album, Lazaretto. Released on his own Third Man Records imprint, White has also self-produced the record features a variety of styles, much like its predecessor. Opener ‘Three Women’ is very much in the punk-blues vein that has dominated much of his musical output over the years, while other standouts include the title track, ‘Lazaretto’, as well as the riff-driven ‘Just One Drink’. Overall it’s yet another very strong offering from an artist who seems to have lost none of his vitality.
To celebrate the release of Lazaretto we take a look back over his career and pick out five of his best moments from his many musical ventures.
Click on the links to find the albums our five picks were taken from in our download store...
Seven Nation Army
(taken from Elephant)
There are many ways to measure a successful career in the music industry - chart positions, record sales, radio airplay and world tours being some of them - but there is a marker of success that transcends all the usual industry measurements: the moment when one of your songs becomes a staple on the football terraces. So it is with 'Seven Nation Army'. The opening salvo from The White Stripes fourth album, Elephant, the song features a riff so memorable it can be heard emanating from stadiums as far flung as Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana and Milan’s San Siro. There are many fine moments from Elephant, but 'Seven Nation Army' has to rank as the most universally recognised.
Steady As She Goes
(taken from Broken Boy Soldiers)
The first single from Broken Boy Soldiers, the debut by The Raconteurs, an indie supergroup of sorts that features Brendon Benson as well as Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler, the rhythm section from The Greenhornes, ‘Steady As She Goes’ begins sounding like a Joe Jackson song until the drum rhythm shifts and White’s crunching, stuttering guitar licks take the song somewhere else entirely. Finishing the job with a powerful but melodic singalong chorus, it’s one of the catchiest tunes Jack White has been involved with.
Two Against One
(taken from Rome)
This co-write with Daniele Lippi and Brian Burton - aka Danger Mouse - is a slow, acoustic guitar-led ballad that shows there is more to White’s vocal abilities than full-throttle blues growling and screeching falsetto. Taken from Rome, it was the lead single from the album and is comfortably one of its standout tracks.
(taken from Get Behind Me Satan)
Taken from The White Stripes fifth album, Get Behind Me Satan, the album’s opener really kicks things off with a bang. ‘Blue Orchid’ is a stomping, four to the floor riff-fest accompanied by White venting his frustration, although he has claimed the lyrics are not a reference to his relationship at the time with actress Rene Zellweger (“You took a white orchid and turned it blue / How dare you? / How old are you now, anyway?”). Heavy, raw and mercilessly addictive, it’s one of the band’s best ever moments.
(taken from Blunderbuss)
Featuring on his first solo album, Blunderbuss, ’I’m Shakin’ is a cover version of a song originally recorded by Little Willie John in 1960, but as with the other covers Jack White has recorded, here he puts his distinctive stamp on the song and brings it kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Featuring a swinging riff, baffling time signature and some glorious, crackling vocals, despite being a cover version it’s one of the best moments on his first solo effort.