Sad news came down from the world of music yesterday. After 13 incredible years, The White Stripes have decided to break up. They broke the news on their official website, where they posted this letter to their fans:
So that’s a fucking bummer. It’s been almost four years since the band released an official album and, despite our recent plea that they release something new in 2011, it appears the wait for a new album won’t be ending anytime soon, if ever. As of right now, all we’ll have to work with are the hundreds of great songs they’ve left behind.
As a fond farewell to our favorite peppermint color garbed band, we’ve put together this list of ten incredible White Stripes songs that, unless you’re a die hard fan, you probably haven’t heard.
As for those of you who loved the band as much as we did and have heard all of these, feel free to take to the comments and recommend some more obscure White Stripes gems that people should check out.
10. “You’re Pretty Good Looking” (Trendy American Remix)
Back before Autotune was every musician’s studio aid of choice, all the world really knew of it was that it was that warbly technique employed by Cher on that obnoxious “Believe” song. So when Jack White used it on the “Trendy American Remix” of the lead track from De Stijl, that shit was hilarious. Hell, it’s still hilarious. And even with an extra layer of Autotune added, it’s a damn great song.
This cover of a Dolly Parton classic was initially released as a B-side to 2000′s “Hello Operator” from the album De Stijl. It later surfaced as a live single from 2004′s Under Blackpool Lights DVD and was a staple of the band’s raucous live shows.
8. “Walking With a Ghost”
This was the title track of an EP the band put out shortly after the release of the Get Behind Me Satan album. This cover doesn’t quite live up to the original version by Canadian duo Tegan and Sara (depending on who you ask, of course). But it’s almost impossible to mess up a song this great too badly, and the Stripes turn in a fine version.
7. “Little Acorns”
This song isn’t necessarily all that obscure. It was on the phenomenal Elephant album, which was a pretty huge record for the band. But still, it was never released as a single, so unless you own that album, it likely passed under your radar. We could provide all kinds of superlatives to describe it, but this comment from the YouTube video really sums it up best…
True Fact: This song is in the Guiness Book of World Records as The Hardest Rocking Song About A Squirrel Ever Recorded!
So, that’s probably not true, but it should be. This song is a killer. If you’re curious, the spoken word piece at the beginning is from an actual Detroit television news report by a journalist named Mort Crim, who received a partial writing credit for the song.
6. “Little Cream Soda”
“Little Acorns” may take the prize as hardest rocking song ever written about a squirrel, but “Little Cream Soda” wins the same honor for a song about cream soda. Probably any type of soda, actually. Again, this is one that won’t be at all unfamiliar to fans who own the band’s albums, in this case 2007′s Icky Thump (which sadly will be their last, unless they reunite at some point). But a band can’t release everything as a single, so this one never really got the spotlight it so rightly deserved.
5. “St. Ides of March”
Alright, now we’re getting back into obscure territory. In fact, this song is so obscure it’s probably best known as a White Stripes song, even though it was just a B-side on the 7″ vinyl version of 2003′s “The Hardest Button to Button.”
The original version is by a band called The Soledad Brothers and was featured on their debut album which, if Wikipedia is to be believed, was limited to a pressing of only 20 copies.
4. “Party of Special Things to Do”
If you’ve ever heard Captain Beefheart, and we’re fully aware it could totally go either way as to whether you have or not, then you know the band was a huge influence on the White Stripes sound. This cover is proof of that. If you didn’t know better, it could easily be mistaken for a White Stripes original.
3. “Candy Cane Children”
Who knew Christmas songs didn’t have to suck? This song was featured on a 2002 single/EP called Merry Christmas from the White Stripes. It also featured two more Christmas songs, “The Reading of the Story of the Magi” and “The Singing of Silent Night.”
2. “Shelter of Your Arms”
This ominous sounding tune was released as the B-side to “The Denial Twist,” a song from 2005′s Get Behind Me Satan. It’s a cover of a song by The Greenhornes. Jack White would later form a wildly successful side project, The Raconteurs, that included members of that band (and Detroit based singer-songwriter Brendan Benson).
1. “Though I Hear You Calling, I Will Not Answer”
The White Stripes could certainly be a strange band when they wanted to be. Never was that more evident than on 2005′s “Blue Orchid” single. One of the B-sides, “Who’s a Big Baby,” is so damn bizarre that including it here could very well derail all of the goodwill towards the band that we’ve been trying to build with this article. You can check it out at this link, but don’t say we didn’t warn you. It’s some odd shit.
“Though I Hear You Calling, I Will Not Answer” was also featured on the B-side of “Blue Orchid” and, while it’s not nearly as insane as “Who’s a Big Baby,” it certainly has its moments.
And Now, A Song That’s Not Rare at All: “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)”
We figure tossing in the last single The White Stripes released, “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)” is as good a way as any to end things. There’s nothing rare or obscure about this one. But as far as official singles from official albums go, it looks like it’s the last one we’re going to get. If that does prove to be the case, at least they went out on a high note.
The White Stripes might have caught a lot of flack for always wearing matching outfits or for making songs that some people deemed “too simple” or because Meg White was far from the most accomplished drummer in music, but “You Don’t Know What Love Is” proves one undeniable fact…Jack White sure as shit knows how to write a great song.
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