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Hotel Yorba Closes – White Stripes officially split

The White Stripes yesterday announced that they have actively split. The duo, Jack and Meg White, announced on their website that they have ‘no further plans to tour or record’. So what will their legacy be?

Firstly, their arena-filling exploits should be put in context; this was a boy-girl, guitar and drums combo. Their success is utterly astounding. There was absolutely no precedent for an act like this to make it big – okay, maybe the Carpenters – but there they were, selling out huge venues and shipping millions of units. Credit where it is due.

Part of this success is in the mystique they created. Claiming initially to be brother and sister – again, utterly ripping off the Carpenters – they created a striking visual tapestry of red, black and white. Their blues-soaked, agonised howling created something thrillingly unique and more than a little different in amongst the stodge of what alternative had become.

It was almost archaic for a band to try and create the world in which they exist, but it remains common in America. Maybe we’re just too damn arch over here these days to play dress-up, but bands like the Strokes, the Killers and Kings of Leon have perfected the art of inhabiting a world of their own design. The White Stripes were their own creation; that no-one else sounded like them was no shock.

Were they any good? As a singles band, certainly. ‘Seven Nation Army’ and ‘Fell in Love With a Girl’ are classics. Over the course of whole albums, White’s incessant yelling and the monochrome nature of what they did could pall, but when they were good, they were great.

When Meg announced she was suffering from anxiety and cancelled dates in 2007, many suggested that the band would struggle to keep going as purely a studio act, and so it proved. White is king of the side-project – his storming album with Loretta Lynn and the so-so Raconteurs and Dead Weather, for example – and will now be able to concentrate on these. And doubtless others.

So the world is a less colourful place today for their demise. The White Stripes were an unlikely success story, and a beacon of inspiration for all those who perform outwith the music industry’s normal comfort zone. In the end, they leave a fine legacy, which they will doubtless piss on in a decade with the awful reunion shows. They will be missed.

Though they weren’t better than the Carpenters. Fact.

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One Response

  1. Despite the fact that I DO agree that The White Stripes were pretty good, I cant get by the fact that Jack White is an all-encompassing cock.
    I’ try and forget the rubbish vanity projects (Dead Weather being the pinnacle…..”Oh look at me, I can play drums as well!”), the record label releasing his mate’s albums and the supermodel wife.
    The moment that turned my opinion was an interview in Select, y’know the usual journo creaming all over him stuff.
    “So Jack, how would you like to be remembered?”.
    “Well, Dave, just as part of the classic blues canon”.
    I’m sure Howlin’ Wolf et all must have loved that.

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