In an odd, somewhat surprising bit of news, Jack White and Karen Elson announced today that they plan “to celebrate their 6th anniversary and their upcoming divorce with a positive swing bang hum dinger” in Nashville. A press release includes an invitation to the private party, reading: “Please help us celebrate together this anniversary of the making and breaking of the sacred union of marriage with our best friends and animals.”
Given that the talented couple, who added that they will “remain dear and trusted friends and co-parents to our wonderful children Scarlett and Henry Lee,” are opting to focus on better days, I thought we might as well: Enjoy a chronological recap of their key recording and music video collaborations so far, beginning with the 2005 White Stripes video where they met and ending with recent cuts from Elson’s White-produced solo material, below.
The White Stripes’ “Blue Orchid” Video, 2005
White and Elson met on the set of this official video for the opening track off the Stripes’ Get Behind Me Satan LP. Weeks later, the pair were wed by a Shaman priest in a canoe at the spot where three rivers — the Rio Negro, the Solimones and the Amazon — meet in Manaus, Brazil. Meg White was the maid of honor.
Mildred and the Mice – “I Like My Mice (Dead)”
Two Raconteurs records and one final White Stripes LP later, a “mysterious goth milquetoast” performed for White at a hardware store in 2009. Elson’s debut solo material, as the subject of White and Co.’s yarn, Mildred and the Mice, became one of the earliest releases by Third Man Records.
Karen Elson, Live at Third Man Records
Leaving behind the Mildred moniker, Elson released her first (excellent) proper solo LP, The Ghost Who Walks, a year later. The album was produced by White with a backing band co-starring Meg White husband/Patti Smith son Jackson Smith and others. Check out this 1-hour, White-directed live set at Third Man last year.
“The Truth Is In the Dirt” Official Video
In some ways — from its blue-hued color palette to slightly morbid themes — this Maximilla Lukacs-directed clip starring Elson in her own official video recalls the Floria Sigismondi-directed “Blue Orchid” set where they met. Enjoy the tune, which includes a a few of Jack’s signature slide guitar moves above.
“Season of the Witch” (Donovan Cover)
More recently, the pair have been collaborating on a string of classic cover songs as one-off singles and B-sides. Streaming above is Elson’s White-produced take on the 1966 Donovan song “Season of the Witch,” a tune they released alongside a Jackson C. Frank cover last August. Below is their most recent released recording as husband and wife: Lou Reed’s 1972 Transformer cut “Vicious,” taken from Elson’s Record Store Day release via Third Man this spring.
“Vicious” (Lou Reed Cover)
(Photo by Annie Leibovitz for Vogue)