Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 89
Sat. April 27, 2013

“Seven Nation Army”
White Stripes

“♫ Every
got a
story to

John Lennon and Jack White have something in common. Both artists penned songs influenced by The Salvation Army. We all know Lennon wrote and recorded “Strawberry Fields Forever” with The Beatles but Jack’s contribution was a little more cryptic than Lennon’s as White explained, “I didn’t have lyrics for it until later on and I was just calling it ‘Seven Nation Army’ – that’s what I called the Salvation Army when I was a kid. So that was just a way for me to remember which one I was talking about, but it took on a new meaning with the lyrics.”

There was an actual a Third Man [Editor’s Note: Jack White’s record label named after a lyric from White Stripes “Ball & Biscuit”] staff member who actually witnessed the creation of “Seven Nation Army” as White told Rolling Stone when he said, “There’s an employee here at Third Man named Ben Swank, and he was with us on tour in Australia when I wrote that song at sound check. I was playing it for Meg and he was walking by and I said, ‘Swank, check this riff out.’ And he said, ‘It’s OK.’” Ben’s response wasn’t as enthusiastic as Jack would have liked, Swank explained, “Weirdly enough I didn’t like it. I said, ‘I don’t know man, you can do better.‘” Thankfully, White didn’t listen to Swank and unfortunately he wasn’t the only disbeliever of one of White Stripes now most famous song as Jack reminisced when he said, “I can think back to when ‘Elephant’ (The White Stripes’ 2003 album) came out I wanted to put ‘Seven Nation Army’ out as a single. The label in England and the label in America both didn’t want to. They wanted to put ‘There’s No Room For You Here’. “Can you imagine not putting ‘Seven Nation Army’ out as a single?

Jack White shared how it feels to have White Stripes fans devoted to “Seven Nation Army” when he told The Observer Music Monthly, “It’s a great thing that people want to hear something. That they’re waiting for something in particular. It feels good for them, I think. It doesn’t matter that that’s the only song they know. I know that the first concert I went to when I was ten years old was Bob Dylan, and I really wanted him to play ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ – but he didn’t play it. I wasn’t upset. I kind of thought it was cool he didn’t when I was ten years old. It’s cool. If people wanna come and hear their jam – that’s fine! It’s good. It’s a nice way to keep everybody interested. It was funny, at one of those festivals, we went on for an encore, and the crowd was chanting it. And Ben Blackwell [Dirtbombs drummer, Jack’s cousin] said, That’s the only time I ever heard a crowd chant a riff! Da da-da da-da durr. It’s true, you don’t ever hear anyone chanting a riff. It feels good. I’m happy that something connects with other people. That’s what we’re trying to do – connect with other people. If it connects with them, then we’re succeeding, I guess.”

At the beginning of the Stripes, Jack said he didn’t know if the audience was connecting with the band when White told Rolling Stone, “We didn’t really know what we were doing, if it was going to stand the test of time or if people would look at it as nothing but a novelty.” It wasn’t till sometime after Elephant was released when Jack realized the impact the White Stripes were making when he described, “I was sitting in a hotel room somewhere in Europe, and I heard people chanting that song in a pub a block away. I couldn’t believe it — I didn’t want that moment to ever end.”

All you have to do is turn on a College Football game or any International Soccer match and you will hear Jack White’s immortal chords to “Seven Nation Army.” You can bet when White was composing the first track from Elephant Jack would have never have dreamed his “Seven Nation Army” would become a sports anthem. This fan is hoping Jack White will get a chance to perform his famous soccer anthem at a World Cup in 2014. Until then break out those air guitars and let White classic riff rip. Whether you’re at home, in the car or at the stadium nothing is better than being a member of White Stripes “Seven Nation Army?” All you need is three chords, air guitar, open your mouth and chant Jack White’s truth. Relive Jack White’s riff of a lifetime, crank it up past eleven today.

“Seven Nation Army” live from Under The Great White Lights :