March 1998.

The third release on Italy Records, a relatively new indie-label based in Detroit is by a relatively new indie/garage punk calling themselves The White Stripes.  The duo, consisting of Jack White (vocals/guitar) and Meg White (drums/vocals), are siblings – well that’s their story at this point in time, and they’re sticking to it.

The single has come about as Dave Buick, the founder/owner of Italy Records, sees a great deal of potential in The White Stripes based on watching them perform in various bars in Detroit.  Jack White had been reluctant to do so on the basis of not being able to meet the costs involved, but relented when it became clear that the label would pick up the tab.

The decision is taken to go with an energetic number, a little over two minutes in length:-

mp3 : The White Stripes – Let’s Shake Hands

A cover version was chosen for the b-side:-

mp3: The White Stripes – Look Me Over Closely

This song had originally been recorded by Marlene Dietrich in 1953.  The composer was Terry Gilkyson, who would later end up at Disney Studios where a number of his subsequent songs would become hugely famous from their use in cartoon films, including the Oscar-nominated Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book in 1968.

Only 1,000 copies of Let’s Shake Hands/Look Over Me Closely were pressed, on 7″ red vinyl.  As you can imagine, it’s incredibly difficult to get a hold of, with copies fetching several hundred pounds on the second-hand market.  There was a second pressing in 2002, just after The White Stripes had become internationally famous, which is more readily available and affordable, despite again having a limited run of just 1,000 copies, followed by a third pressing in 2008, again with a limited number. (And no, I don’t have a copy of any of the pressings….the mp3s were villaniously acquired…..)

The White Stripes would record a second single, Lafayette Blues, for Italy Records thatwhich was released in October 1998 before they moved to the long-established Sympathy for the Record Industry label, based in California. Over a three-year period, there would be three albums and a number of singles, and enjoying the commercial breakthrough in White Blood Cells in 2001.

I think it’s fair to say that The White Stripes debut single demonstrates clearly the sort of sounds that would propel them to superstardom and widespread acclaim.


45 45s @ 45 : SWC STYLE (Part 8)


40. Hotel Yorba – The White Stripes (2001 XL Recordings)

Released as a single in November 2001 (Reached Number 26)

In December 2001 I was asked (Ok I offered) to DJ for an hour or so at the staff Christmas party.

I turned up, had my dinner, (weirdly this was at an Italian restaurant and Christmas Dinner featuring pasta and not roast potatoes), and then took to the DJ Booth (I say booth it was a table with a machine on it). Back then it was all about CDs still, and I used a double CD player to throw down a few tunes as the boss plied me with free alcohol. The CDs were supplied by the restaurant and consisted mainly of that years ‘NOW’ releases, although I had bought a few of my own.

As the alcohol flowed I got a bit more daring, and started to stray of away from the stack of NOW CDs and that is when I dropped ‘Hotel Yorba’ by The White Stripes to bunch of bemused middle aged drunk people. Straight After ‘9 to 5’ by Dolly Parton and just before ‘Kung Fu’ by Ash.

‘Hotel Yorba’ was the first White Stripes single to really impact on the British Music scene. It was the lead single from their album ‘White Blood Cells’. It was certainly the first single of theirs to trouble the UK charts. At the time the NME were really hyping the band and this helped to increase their exposure.

Most of you probably know that the Hotel Yorba actually exists, it can according to Wikipedia, be found on the I75 in Detroit and is now a housing project. According to Jack White, the Beatles once stayed at the Hotel Yorba, a story that is sadly untrue.

The band also filmed most of the video outside of the building because again according to rumour, the band were banned for life from the building…..despite which the single version of ‘Hotel Yorba’ claims to have been recorded live in Room 206 of the Hotel Yorba!

The B Side was a track called ‘Rated X’ which I can’t find my version of – what I do have though is an acoustic version of ‘Hotel Yorba’ in which Meg White apparently plays ‘Cardboard Box’ again its recorded live at ‘The Hotel Yorba’

Hotel Yorba (live at the Hotel Yorba)

A few months later The White Stripes went global and went on to be on the biggest and best bands of the first decade of the century. I picked Hotel Yorba because it came at a time when music was a little stagnant. They, The Strokes and a couple of others all spearheaded a new wave of bands that dragged British music into that new century.


JC adds (from wiki):-

“Rated “X”” is a 1972 single written and recorded by Loretta Lynn. “Rated ‘X'” was Lynn’s sixth number one country single as a solo artist. The single spent one week at number one and a total of fourteen weeks on the chart. The song dealt with the stigma faced by divorced women during the early 1970s, and was regarded as somewhat controversial at the time, due to its frank language.

In 2001, a live version was used as the B-side of the “Hotel Yorba” single by The White Stripes.

mp3 : The White Stripes – Rated X (live at the Hotel Yorba)