Seven Nation Army
|"Seven Nation Army"|
|Single by The White Stripes|
|from the album Elephant|
|B-side||"Good To Me"|
|Released||March 7, 2003|
|Recorded||April 2002 at Toe Rag Studios, London|
|The White Stripes singles chronology|
"Seven Nation Army" (also stylized as "7 Nation Army") is a song by American rock duo The White Stripes. It was released as the lead single from their fourth studio album, Elephant, on March 7, 2003, and reached number one on the Modern Rock Tracks—maintaining that position for three weeks. It also became the third best-performing song of the decade on the same chart. It was well received commercially as well, and won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
The song is known for its underlying riff, which plays throughout most of the song. Although it sounds like a bass guitar (an instrument the group had never previously used), the sound is actually created by running Jack White's semi-acoustic, 1950s-style Kay Hollowbody guitar through a DigiTech Whammy pedal set down an octave. A combination of the song's popularity, recognizable riff, and defiant lyrics led to it becoming the band's signature song. Often ranked as one of the greatest songs of the 2000s, it has been used widely at sporting events and political protests internationally.
- 1 Development
- 2 Music video
- 3 Single track listing
- 4 Reception
- 5 Chart performance
- 6 Cover versions
- 7 External links
- 8 References
Sample from "Seven Nation Army". Jack White used an octave pedal to make the instrument resemble the tone of the bass guitar.
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Jack White has stated that he was saving the song's guitar riff in case he was ever asked to do a James Bond theme song. Eventually White concluded that such an offer was unlikely and decided to incorporate the riff into a White Stripes song instead (White would later perform, with Alicia Keys, the song "Another Way to Die" for the 2008 Bond film Quantum of Solace). The title of the track comes from what White used to call The Salvation Army as a child. The track was named as such as a placeholder before any lyrics were written however the name stuck and thus was released as such.
Billboard called the song a "sparse affair led by a simple bassline (actually played on guitar, with an octave effect), and is much more of a straightforward rock song" than "Fell in Love with a Girl."
The video, directed by Alex and Martin, consists of one seemingly continuous shot through a kaleidoscopic tunnel of mirrored black, white and red triangles, touching on Jack's love of the number three. The triangle slides alternate between images of Jack or Meg playing, interspersed with marching skeletons and an elephant, referring to the name of the album "Seven Nation Army" appeared on. The speed at which the triangles move forward through the tunnel speeds up and slows down in unison with the dynamics of the song. During the video, when the song begins to intensify, the lights in surrounding the triangles flash and other effects build up as well. The imagery bears a striking resemblance to Jason and the Argonauts as well as Bill Gold's theatrical release poster for A Clockwork Orange.
Single track listing
- "Seven Nation Army" (Jack White)
- "Good to Me" (Brendan Benson/Jason Falkner)
- "Black Jack Davey" (Traditional)
The 7" single only contains the first two tracks.
"Seven Nation Army" received overwhelmingly positive critical acclaim. Remarking on the White's reputation as a "garage rock" band, Billboard remarked of the song that even "adventurous rock programmers might want to join the 'Army.'" AllMusic call the song "breathtaking," and said that it delivers "some of the fiercest blues-punk of the White Stripes' career."
The song featured on many "end-of-year" and "best-of" lists. In 2004, "Seven Nation Army" was ranked at number three on the Pazz & Jop critics' poll, by the American music magazine The Village Voice. It was number six on Rolling Stone's 2009 list of the 50 Best Songs of the Decade. In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Seven Nation Army" at number 8 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. In September 2005, NME placed "Seven Nation Army" at number 5 in its list of the 50 Greatest Tracks Of The Decade. It was also called the 75th greatest hard rock song by VH1. In May 2008, Rolling Stone placed this song at number 21 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time. "Seven Nation Army" also earned 20th place in Triple J's Hottest 100 of All Time in 2009. The song was also listed at #30 on Pitchfork Media's top 500 songs of the 2000s, and at number 2 in Observer Music Monthly's top 75 songs of the decade, behind Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love". It also came in second on Channel V Australia's top 1000 songs of the 2000s. In 2009, US website Consequence of Sound named this as their top rock track of the 2000s, as did Boston's WFNX Radio. On Rolling Stone's updated version of their The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, "Seven Nation Army" was listed at number 286. It was also ranked #1 on Rhapsody's list of the Top 100 Tracks of the Decade. In October 2011, NME placed it at number 23 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years". In February 2013, listeners to BBC Radio 6 Music placed the song at number 6 in "6 Music's 100 Greatest Hits", the top songs released in the station's lifetime.
The song is very popular in European football stadiums, even becoming the unofficial anthem of Italy's World Cup win in 2006 and was used in both Euro 2008, when the teams walked onto the pitch at the start of the game and in Euro 2012, U-21 Euro 2013 and Euro 2016, when it was played when a goal was scored. Its emergence as a popular sporting anthem started when, Melbourne Victory fans chanted the melody after the team scored a goal. The club then played it in the stadium after they scored at home games. This was the first known instance of the song's melody being used at Football games. Subsequently, supporters of Club Brugge K.V. started chanting it and then Brugge began playing it in Jan Breydel Stadium during matches. After Brugge hosted A.S. Roma in a UEFA Cup match on February 15, 2006, the Italian side brought the song back home with them and it began to be played inside the stadium. By the time the World Cup had begun in June, the song had become the national team's unofficial anthem.
In response to the song's popularity in Italy, Jack White said:
I am honored that the Italians have adopted this song as their own... Nothing is more beautiful than when people embrace a melody and allow it to enter the pantheon of folk music. As a songwriter it is something impossible to plan. Especially in modern times. I love that most people who are chanting it have no idea where it came from. That's folk music.
Falkirk fans have also taken to singing the main riff whenever they win a corner to the words "We're the navy blue army". Oldham fans also use the chorus, singing "we're following Oldham" to it. The song is also sung by Sheffield United, who sing "we're the red and white army"; their main rivals, Sheffield Wednesday, subsequently changed the lyrics into their own chant, "dirty red and white bastards", sung to taunt their rivals or, increasingly, any other team that plays in red.
The song is also played at home games of La Liga team Atletico Madrid and A-League team Melbourne Victory following a team goal, with the song becoming an almost unofficial anthem for the club's fans. The song was also chosen by the newly formed Western Sydney Wanderers FC as their goal scoring music. The club did not know the song was already connected to Melbourne Victory, and once the Wanderers active support group the Red & Black Bloc informed the club they stopped using the song.
Every time the German club Bayern Munich score, a remixed version of the song is played. Also the song was played every time a team scored a goal in the Amsterdam Arena at the 2013 UEFA Europa League Final, in Wembley Stadium for the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final, which Bayern Munich won 2–1 against Borussia Dortmund. And in the 2013 UEFA Super Cup the song was played again, every time a team scored a goal, which saw Bayern Munich win the match against Chelsea, in a penalty shooutout 5–4, after the match ended 2–2 in normal and extra time.
Also there became present in the final instances of the UEFA Champions League 2013–2014, being sung by the fans of Real Madrid in the celebration later to that were gaining the tenth European Cup. And in the celebration later to the conquest of the eleventh European Cup in the final of the UEFA Champions League 2015–2016.
Darts player Michael van Gerwen uses the song as his walk-on song. Fans asked him to change his walk-on song from Breathe by The Prodigy, and Sky Sports chose Seven Nation Army, and the darts audience took an immediate liking to it, chanting his name to the beat of the song.
The song has also become increasingly popular at American college football games, being used at many large venues throughout the country. Introduction of the song to college football can be traced to the Penn State football program, where in 2006 the communication and media director, Guido D’Elia, was inspired after hearing a Public Radio International story about A.S. Roma's use of the song. At about the same time, Arrangers' Publishing Company began to sell sheet music of the song for marching bands and by January 2012 had sold around 2,000 copies. The University of Southern California marching band plays the song in reference to quarterback Matt Barkley's jersey number 7. The Oregon Marching Band plays the tune every time the Oregon Ducks Football defense comes onto the field during football games. The song can also be heard at all home games of traditional rivals Ohio State and Michigan before kickoff following a home team score.
The song has been used since 2011 as the official hype song of the Baltimore Ravens. During the 2012 season, it was cited in an ESPN story declaring M&T Bank Stadium the top home field advantage in the NFL. During Super Bowl XLVII, Ravens fans could be heard chanting the song as the power went out during live TV coverage in the third quarter.
Most famously, it has been used by the Baltimore Orioles since the 2012 season, being heard during key moments in games during and since.
At many college and some pro American football games, the six note hollow-body guitar sequence that is repeated throughout most of the song can be heard spontaneously chanted (wordlessly) by the fans, with no accompaniment from the official stadium audio system. It is also played before tip-off at New York Knicks games.
The song is also used at college basketball games in the United States at schools such as NC State University, Saint Louis University, Wichita State Shockers men's basketball (Wichita State University) and Butler University.
In November 2013, the song replaced Bon Jovi's "This Is Our House" as the goal song of the New Jersey Devils. The change came after a fan vote in response to the controversial replacement of Gary Glitter's Rock and Roll" with "This Is Our House", due to concerns by team staff surrounding a mocking "Hey, you suck!" chant done to the former.
The song has been used in the hype videos played before each Miami Heat home game in the 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons. The famous underlying riff of the song is also sung frequently by Heat fans as a chant. After the Heat's popularization of the song's main riff as a "battle cry", many other NBA teams have started using it for the same effect, and it is now in essence the NBA "battle song". During the 2013 NBA Finals 3rd game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Heat, Spurs fans used the chant when they won the game to mock the Heat's use of the song in their hype video. The fans also used the chant in game 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals, also against the Heat, when the Spurs won the NBA championship in five games.
The song was played in-between innings during the 2012–2013 home games of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The accompanying hype video takes inspiration from the Seven Nation Army music video and ends with baseball gloved hands making the famous LA sign. The Dodgers, and many other teams, have copied it from fans of the Baltimore Orioles, who are known to chant the signature guitar riff during home games at Camden Yards.
During the episode of WWE Raw the night after WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, Texas, as well as on the same show two weeks later in London, England, the crowd chanted wrestler Enzo Amore's name in tune with the guitar riff, singing, "Ohhhhhh, En-zo A-moooooo-re!" 8 years earlier, on an episode of Raw emanating from Italy, the riff was chanted wordlessly by a raucous crowd during the debut match of fellow wrestler Santino Marella.
The song is also the entrance music of middleweight boxing champion Gennady Golovkin, whilst it was used in a Beats advertising campaign for heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, before his fight against Eric Molina.
Following the 2016 Italian Grand Prix Italian speaking German Formula One driver Nico Rosberg led the crowd, known as the Tifosi, in singing the main riff of the song during the podium celebrations.
Usage in media
This song was used many times during the baseball documentary 10th Inning by Ken Burns. It is also a playable song in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, DLC for Rock Band 2, Rock Band 3, and Fantasia: Music Evolved. An exclusive remix by The Glitch Mob was featured in the trailers to G.I. Joe: Retaliation, season 12 of Degrassi: The Next Generation, the announcement trailer for the Team Fortress 2 fan-made film "End of the Line" and the video game Battlefield 1. The song was also used in the DC movie Suicide Squad.
Hamburg Port Anniversary celebration
On May 9, 2014, during the 825th Hamburg Port Anniversary celebration, the cruise ship MSC Magnifica used the ship’s horns to blast the song while entering the harbor. The event was caught on video and posted to YouTube.
|Australian ARIA Charts||17|
|Austrian Singles Chart||18|
|Dutch Mega Top 50||22|
|German Singles Chart||4|
|Irish Singles Chart||22|
|Italian Singles Chart||3|
|UK Singles Chart||7|
|US Billboard Hot 100||76|
|US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks||1|
|US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||12|
|German Singles Chart||57|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||245,822|
*sales figures based on certification alone
The song has been covered by blues musician C. W. Stoneking as well as the country group The Oak Ridge Boys (with bass singer Richard Sterban singing the original guitar riffs), funk metal band Living Colour, rock supergroup Audioslave, indie band Hard-Fi, alternative rock band The Flaming Lips, English indie singer Kate Nash, British soul singer Alice Russell, hard rock band The Pretty Reckless, pop singer Kelly Clarkson, heavy metal band Metallica and Argentine electrotango band Tanghetto. The song was also covered by Becky Hill on the 2012 season of The Voice (UK), Jamar Rogers during his blind audition for the second season of The Voice (USA), and Garrett Gardener's blind audition on the fourth season of The Voice (USA). The song has been remixed by The Glitch Mob as well, which was used in the first trailer for the 2016 video game Battlefield 1. It has also been covered by James Valentine leading guitar of Maroon 5 during his most recent tour Overexposed. The song was also covered by KT Tunstall (as a medley with her own "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree") on her 2013 Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon tour.
Ben l'Oncle Soul version
|"Seven Nation Army"|
|Single by Ben l'Oncle Soul|
|from the album Ben l'Oncle Soul|
|Released||8 March 2010 (promo)
24 September 2010 (CD Maxi)
|Format||Digital download, CD single|
|Producer(s)||Guillaume Poncelet, Gabin Lesieur|
|Ben l'Oncle Soul singles chronology|
The French soul singer Ben l'Oncle Soul covered the song on his self-titled album Ben l'Oncle Soul. The album had commercial success and "Seven Nation Army" became the debut single from the album and Ben l'Oncle Soul's first international hit charting in Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, also reaching number 16 on the Belgian (Wallonia) charts. The version was also included in a number of compilations including NRJ Hits 2010 Vol. 2 on Warner Records and Les hits de l'été 2010 on Universal Music Group label.
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)||16|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||51|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||57|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||54|
Marcus Collins version
|"Seven Nation Army"|
|Single by Marcus Collins|
|from the album Marcus Collins|
|B-side||"Break These Chains"|
|Released||4 March 2012|
|Format||Digital download, CD single|
|Genre||Pop, soul, funk|
|Producer(s)||Matt Furmidge, Alex Smith, Brian Rawling|
|Marcus Collins singles chronology|
British singer and X Factor runner-up Marcus Collins covered the song as his debut single, in a version based on the cover by Ben l'Oncle Soul. It was released in the United Kingdom on 4 March 2012, a week prior to his debut album Marcus Collins.
Revealing that he has received a lot of abuse from White Stripes fans, Collins said: "I know I can't please everyone. A lot of people have got opinions on it, but they can always listen to the White Stripes version. Why are they listening to me if they don't like it? Listen to the original if you don't like my singing. It's just the X Factor connection but, you know, why are people kicking off about it now?"
A music video to accompany the release of "Seven Nation Army" was first released onto YouTube on 16 February 2012 at a total length of two minutes and fifty-eight seconds. Critically, Lewis Corner of Digital Spy noted the "distinctive soul-pop" vocals showcased by Collins and wrote that, "Truth be told, we wish he'd fought a little harder to get one those eight original compositions he has on his forthcoming record out first."
|1.||"Seven Nation Army"||2:56|
|2.||"Break These Chains"||2:27|
|Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)||13|
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||9|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||9|
|United Kingdom||4 March 2012||Digital download, CD single||RCA Records|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Elephant (album)|
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