Monday, 10 August 2009

85: The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

The most widely recognised riff of the decade underlays this hit from Jack and Meg White, from the summer of 2003. The White Stripes laid claim to being one of the most innovative and influential bands of the Noughties, and with this Grammy-winning number, they achieved the peak of their mainstream success.

The riff itself sounds like it is created by a bass guitar, but The White Stripes' have never used that instrument - their standard set-up is Jack on guitar and vocals, Meg on drums. For 'Seven Nation Army', Jack ran his 1950s-style semi-acoustic through an octave pedal, set down an octave. (NB - I have no idea what this means, but Wikipedia says it, so it must be true). It is allegedly based around Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 5. A young Jack White supposedly misheard the name 'Salvation Army', hence the song's title.

The song has become massively popular with sports fans, particularly amongst Italian football fans, who sung it all the way through their country's success in the World Cup in 2006. Liverpool fans sing it to Javier Mascherano, and The Guardian described it as "the indiest football album ever." But it has also appeared as entrance music for a Welterwight boxing title fight, at the opening of an Australian cricket innings, and during the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich. Put simply, 'Seven Nation Army' has emerged as the ultimate in multi-purpose popular music. Which is quite an achievement for a track with a wild guitar breakdown and thrashing drums. Well done, the Whites.

1 comment:

  1. Had I attempted a similar exercise, I'm sure this would have been in my top 10. Pretty close to indie perfection. Didn't know the Salvation Army trivia; thanks for that.