The White Stripes released their fourth studio album Elephant on April 1, 2003. The album gained near unanimous praise from both critics and fans, becoming a defining album for the decade.

Learn more about the album below.

1. The album was recorded in two weeks at London’s Toe Rag Studios.

2. Jack White produced the album using antiquated equipment. A disclaimer included in the album’s liner notes states “No computers were used during the writing, recording, mixing, or mastering of this record”. None of the equipment used was more recent than 1963.

3. It was Meg’s idea to include a cover of Burt Bacharach’s “I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” on the album.

4. The song’s music video was directed by Sofia Coppola and features a pole dancing Kate Moss.


5. The liner notes read that “this album is dedicated to, and is for, and about the death of the sweetheart”. Jack elaborated, telling former Rolling Stone editor Kurt Loder that he wanted “to get people to think about how they relate to one another — how the males and females relate, how the parents and sons and daughters relate, and bring up some ideas to see if they still mean something. What does the word “sweetheart” or “gentleman” mean nowadays? Has it changed in the last 50 years? Should we reevaluate these words?”.

6. Like all other White Stripes albums, Elephant includes a song containing the word “little” in the title – “Little Acorns”.


7. Former Detroit broadcast journalist Mort Crim contributed the song’s monologue.

8. The album had six different versions of the cover art. Each was based on the region the album was sold and the format, either CD or LP.

9. Although it sounds like a bass riff in “Seven Nation Army” (an instrument the band had never used), the sound was actually created through Jack’s semi-acoustic, 1950s-style Kay Hollowbody guitar through a DigiTech Whammy pedal set down an octave.

10. Jack was saving the riff in case he was ever asked to write a James Bond theme song, but he gave up hope and recorded it with the White Stripes. Five years later, he’d perform “Another Way to Die” with Alicia Keys for the 2008 Bond film Quantum of Solace. 

11. The title “Seven Nation Army” comes from what Jack called the Salvation Army as a child. The track was named as such as a placeholder before any lyrics were written and it stuck.

12. The song is recognized as one of the greatest songs of the decade and was covered by Audioslave, the Flaming Lips, Metallica and more.


13. “Ball and Biscuit” clocks in at 7:19, making it the longest studio track recorded by the band. The song tells the story of a man courting a women, calling himself the “seventh son” and her “third man”. Jack is the youngest of ten children – and the seventh son.

14. “Hardest Button to Button” is about a child in a dysfunctional family trying to find their place after a new baby is born.

15. The song’s video was parodied in the Simpson’s episode “Jazzy and the Pussycats”.


16. The album is widely considered one of the greatest albums of the decade, being ranked number 390 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It placed 39th in Channel 4’s list of the 100 Greatest Albums of all time. In 2003, NME named it their Album of the Year. In 2011, Rolling Stone called Elephant the 5th best album of the decade and “Seven Nation Army” the 6th best song of the decade. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

17. The album gained the band three Grammy nominations including Best Album of the Year. They won for Best Alternative Album of the Year and Best Rock song for “Seven Nation Army”.

Filed under: Elephant, White Stripes