The White Stripes were an Alternative Rock duo consisting of Jack White and his ex-wife (though billed as his sister), Meg White. They were founded in Oak Park, Michigan (one of Detroit's smaller northern suburbs) in 1997. Since then, they have released six albums:
The White Stripes (1999)
De Stijl (2000)
White Blood Cells (2001)
Get Behind Me Satan (2005)
Icky Thump (2007)
The height of their popularity would likely be in 2007-08, around the release of the single "Icky Thump" (their only US Top 40 hit, something they achieved without bothering with pop radio airplay), though the 2003 release of the single "Seven Nation Army" (which reached #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart without crossing over) was a previous peak. In February 2011, in a statement on the band's website, it was announced that the band had disbanded after 14 years of existence.
Amicably Divorced: Despite having divorced in 2000, an extremely close platonic friendship has evolved out of Jack and Meg's failed marriage. Meg was the maid of honor at Jack's 2005 marriage to model/musician Karen Elson. Meg and her second husband Jackson Smith were married in Jack White's backyard in 2009.
Anti-Love Song: A few of them. Examples include "I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman", "Fell In Love With a Girl", and "Effect and Cause".
Author Appeal: As mentioned below, Jack seems to have a thing for redheads, and several of the band's songs make reference to (or are just plain about) sexy red-headed women ("Fell In Love With a Girl", "Take, Take, Take", "300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues", etc.).
Badass Boast: These occur in a few of their songs, but "Ball and Biscuit", which is basically 7+ minutes of continual Badass Boasting, particularly stands out: "Right now you could care less about me / but soon enough you will care by the time I'm done."
Better as Friends: Luckily, they managed to find this out without breaking up their music duo.
Breakup Song: Many ("I'm Bound to Pack It Up", "There's No Home For You Here", "Red Rain", "You've Got Her In Your Pocket", "The Denial Twist", "I'm Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman", etc.) covering the topic from every conceivable emotional angle. Kind of funny when you consider that they were once a couple themselves.
Creator Breakdown: Meg suffered a major anxiety attack in 2007 that resulted in the duo canceling all of it's remaining tour dates. Her inability to recover well enough to perform was a factor in the duo breaking up.
"Rag and Bone" is about taking and reusing old stuff no one else wants, a transparent metaphor for Jack White's approach to making music.
To distract the media, Jack & Meg pretended to be siblings. Jack claimed this was because he wanted them to focus on the music and not their relationship. Also, their last names are stage names. They're actually not related in any way but performing together.
Well, kind of. As noted above, they were married from 1995 to 2000. The interesting bit is that John Anthony Gillis changed his name upon marrying Megan Martha White. This happened as just a funny thing he decided to do when they got married; it wasn't for another two years that he got it in his head that his wife might join him onstage.
Heroes Want Redheads: Jack sang about redheads on a least one song on every album after De Stijl. And then married one.
I Am the Band: Many people tend to assume that the White Stripes were Jack White, since he was the sole composer of almost all of their original material, sang lead on most songs, and played all the instruments aside from drums. According to White himself, however, the band is actually an aversion, as he claims that Meg's drumming was the foundation of their sound and a major source of creative inspiration to him.
Let's Duet: "This Protector", "Rag and Bone"; "It's True That We Love One Another" is a three-way Call-and-Response Song among Jack, Meg, and English singer Holly Golightly.
Letters 2 Numbers: Subtly done with the back cover of Elephant - the E's in the title are actually rendered as backwards 3's.
Limited Wardrobe: Limited to white, black, and red.note "But the White Stripes' colors were always red, white and black. It came from peppermint candy. I also think they are the most powerful color combination of all time, from a Coca-Cola can to a Nazi banner. Those colors strike chords with people." — Jack White.
The Maiden Name Debate: Jack (born John "Jack" Gillis) took Meg's last name when they married and kept it when they divorced.
Mind Screw: "St. Andrew (This Battle Is In the Air)".
Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Depending on the song, they could vary anywhere from the 1-2 range to the 6-7 range, often on the same album; part of what made the band so critically beloved was their ability to write and perform with equal skill songs that ranged wildly in style, instrumentation, and attitude.
Non-Appearing Title: "Black Math", "The Air Near My Fingers", "Passive Manipulation", "Instinct Blues", etc. More frequently averted however. On the other hand, all but one of the band's albums (Icky Thump) had a Non-Appearing Title.
Off the Table: The White Stripes made a music video entirely out of Lego and stop-motion. Jack White consulted with the LEGO company about having LEGO figures of Meg and himself packaged with the release of the single. LEGO refused, claiming they wouldn't cater to a market other than children. When the video was a hit, Lego changed their minds, only for Jack to turn around in a fit of anger and refuse.
Once per Episode: The word "Little" was used in at least one song in every one of their albums.
Retraux: Jack consciously appropriates imagery and music from everything from The Thirties (Robert Johnson, De Stijl), The Fifties (portions of Get Behind Me Satan) to The Sixties. There is also the Victorian-style video for "Blue Orchid".
Reclusive Artist: What Meg has become since her 2007 anxiety attack. Since The White Stripes have broken up she has completely fallen off the radar.
Self-Backing Vocalist: "There's No Home For You Here", which features a chorus of backing vocals, all by Jack White.
Something Completely Different: Get Behind Me Satan largely eschewed the band's earlier distortion-heavy blues/punk rock sound in favor of lighter, country-inflected songs featuring piano and marimba; they'd return to their roots on their next and final album Icky Thump however, so the record fell short of being a full-blown New Sound Album.
Song Style Shift: Jack has commented that "300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues" was an attempt to write a song that incorporated as many different styles of blues playing as possible; hence its abrupt shifts from gentle, country-style acoustic blues to screeching, up-tempo electric blues and back again.
Surprisingly Gentle Song: "We're Going To Be Friends", a nostalgic acoustic number about an innocent childhood friendship between a boy and a girl on an album (White Blood Cells) full of passionate, often bitter and angry hard rockers about messy adult relationships between men and women.