Meaning of the Seven Nation Army song by The White Stripes

The fourth album by the American rock band The White Stripes, titled Elephant and released in 2003, begins with the track Seven Nation Army. The composition with a killer guitar riff is especially loved by football fans, thanks to which it is known and even sung by people who have never heard of The White Stripes. Therefore, we can safely say that Seven Nation Army is the most famous song of the group.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song Seven Nation Army

The origin of the name of the composition, which translates as “Army of the Seven Nations”, is interesting. According to Jack White, songwriter and lead singer of The White Stripes, as a child he thought that was the name of the Salvation Army. However, the Seven Nation Army is not about the famous charitable organization.

The song began with the same guitar riff that became the hallmark of the song. Jack White composed it during a sound check before a concert at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne and called it Seven Nation Army. Initially, he did not put any meaning into this expression – he just needed to designate a new melody. However, later, when Jack wrote the lyrics, the phrase took on a new meaning.

White said that he wrote the lyrics to Seven Nation Army under the influence of an unpleasant experience associated with popularity. He explained that the main character of the song is a guy who settles in a new city, but gossips do not allow him to live in peace, and he is forced to leave, although he does not want to at all.

Briefly, Jack described the Seven Nation Army as follows:

This is a rumor song. It’s about me, Meg, and the people we meet.

Whether jokingly or seriously, White said in an interview that he planned to use the guitar riff as the main theme of the next James Bond film if he was asked to write it. But then he decided that it was unlikely and created the song Seven Nation Army based on it.

Seven Nation Army release

It is interesting that music producers neither in the States nor in England recognized Seven Nation Army as a future hit and did not want to release it as the first single from the Elephant album. But Jack insisted, and he was right. The song topped many charts, was included in various lists of the best songs of the 2000s, and won White a Grammy.

Seven Nation Army was named one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone.

Clip Seven Nation Army

The music video for “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes was directed by Alex and Martin. Let’s watch the online video.

Seven Nation Army in sports

And now a few words about the Seven Nation Army and sports. It is said that fans’ love for the song began with Brugge football club fans who started singing it at a Champions League match when their team played against AC Milan.

However, the whole world in the role of the anthem, the composition was glorified by the Italians, who supported their national team at the 2006 World Cup. In order to become world champions, seven other teams must be defeated in this tournament – seven nations. At that time, the Italian team succeeded, and its fans desperately sang the Seven Nation Army at every match.

Is it any wonder that the song reappeared on the local chart, where it climbed to number three.

And football fans have since often sung the Seven Nation Army in the stands, inserting lines into it that glorify their idols or ridicule their rival.

American football also loves the Seven Nation Army. Let’s watch the clip.

Interesting Facts

  • The main guitar riff might appear to be played on bass, but Jack White played it on a Kay Hollowbody semi-acoustic guitar using a DigiTech Whammy pedal.
  • Francesco Totti, player of the Italian national football team, after the triumph of his team at the World Cup, sang “Seven Nation Army” in the street with a huge army of fans.
  • In the video clip, when White begins to sing the third verse, he points to a palm with clenched fingers. This is how the natives of Michigan make it clear where they come from, because the outlines of the state on the map resemble a mitten.

Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes Lyrics

I’m gonna fight ’em off
A seven nation army couldn’t hold me back
They’re gonna rip it off
Taking their time right behind my back
And I’m talking to myself at night
Because I can’t forget
Back and forth through my mind
Behind a cigarette
And the message coming from my eyes
It says, “Leave it alone”

Don’t want to hear about it
Every single one’s got a story to tell
Everyone knows about it
From the Queen of England to the hounds of hell
And if I catch it coming back my way
I’m gonna serve it to you
And that ain’t what you want to hear,
But that’s what I’ll do
And the feeling coming from my bones
It says, “Find a home”

I’m going to Wichita
Far from this opera forever more
I’m gonna work the straw
Make the sweat drip out of every pore
And I’m leading
And I’m pleading, and I’m pleading right before the Lord
All the words are gonna bleed from me
And I will think no more
And the stains coming from my blood
Tell me, “Go back home”

Seven Nation Army Lyrics

I will fight them off
An army of seven nations couldn’t hold me back
They will curse me
When they hesitate and stay behind me
I talk to myself at night
Because I can’t forget
Thoughts get confused in my head
When I smoke
And there’s a message in my eyes
That says “leave it”

I don’t want to hear about it
Everyone has something to say
Everyone knows about it
From Queen of England to Hellhounds
And if I catch it on my way
I will serve it to you
It’s not what you want to hear
But that’s what I’ll do
And there’s a feeling deep inside of me
Saying “Find a home”

I’m going to Wichita
Forever away from this booth
I will work hard
For sweat to drip from every pore
And I’m begging
And I’m begging and I’m begging the Lord
Words flow from me like blood
And I won’t think anymore
And splattered blood
Tells me “come back home”

Song quote

I really like that most of the people who sing it have no idea where it came from. This is folk music.

Jack White

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