Happy Birthday, Jack!
John Anthony Gillis was born on July 9, 1975 in Detroit, Michigan. He belonged to a big working class Catholic family and was the youngest in a brood of ten. His religious upbringing would have an effect on his spiritual convictions, and at 14 he would ponder on the possibility of becoming a priest. Who would’ve thought that little Jack Gilllis would soon change his name to Jack White and become the front man of the two-piece evolutionary alternative rock duo The White Stripes?
The multi-talented musician and songwriter started pounding skins when he was in first grade, learned to play guitar and piano soon enough, and initiated his own lo-fi recordings even before he was in high school. Amazing!
Becoming Jack White and The White Stripes
And no, he certainly wasn’t always called Jack White, or Jack White III. Then Jack Gillis only adapted the surname White when he married Meg White in September of 1996. Pretty unconventional move for a new groom, but who ever said he was ordinary? Meg became not only his better half, but also the other half of The White Stripes.
Jack and Meg made a name for themselves as The White Stripes. They might as well have built a seven nation army of followers. The husband and wife tandem became insanely popular, but only under the impression that they were siblings. Jack later explained that claiming they were brother and sister was done to help listeners focus on their music, and not to be sidetracked by the notion that they were a couple.
The Lomographic Society was as fascinated as everybody else. Lomography collaborated with The White Stripes some time ago to create the special edition JACK Holga and MEG Diana.
Even after their divorce in 2000, Jack and Meg continued with what they were probably better at: being a punk-blues-rock duo. The band won six Grammys and released six studio albums, not all of which were commercially successful, but praised by music critics nonetheless.
Jack White married model Karen Elson, who appeared in The White Stripes’ music video of ”Blue Orchid,” in 2005. Meg was the maid of honor. Jack and Karen had two children, but Jack prefers to keep mum on the subject of his personal life.
The White Stripes last performed on the final episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien in February 2009. They officially disbanded in 2011, but such was not the end of Jack White’s music career.
After the Stripes
White had formed The Raconteurs as early as 2005 and The Dead Weather a few years after. White has also collaborated with the likes of Wanda Jackson, Norah Jones, and yes—-you better believe it—-even Conan O’Brien, although in a non-conventional recording. He released his solo album, Blunderbuss, last year under his own label Third Man Records.
Jack White’s legacy continues, and we raise our glasses in his honor. Happy Birthday, Jack!