On late-night talk shows, the last guest is usually reserved for a comedian or musical act. And over the past 22 years, nobody has closed out late-night talk shows quite like Jack White.
Jack White has performed on late-night TV with several of his bands including The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, and solo. In these bands, Jack White has performed for almost every late-night host, including Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman, and Craig Kilborn.
With that in mind, here are the top 10 Jack White late-night TV performances.
Top 10 Jack White late night Performances
10. The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, 2001
The White Stripes – ‘Screwdriver’
This performance is special because it was the band’s first late-night appearance. They appeared in promotion of their 2001 album White Blood Cells but choose to perform a song from their debut self-titled album. This would be the first time a nationwide audience on television would see the red, white, and black-dressed “brother and sister” duo from Detroit.
9. Late Night with Conan O’Brien, 2006
The Raconteurs – “Steady as she Goes”
The Raconteurs’ television debut came in promotion of their 2006 debut album Broken Boy Soldiers. The Raconteurs would be Jack White’s first major band without Meg White. The Raconteurs also features Detroit’s Brendan Benson and Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler from the Ohio band The Greenhornes.
8. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, 2015
The Dead Weather – “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)”
After a few year break, The Dead Weather returned with their album Dodge & Burn and appeared on The Late Show to perform their new single. In The White Stripes and The Raconteurs, Jack White plays guitar and sings; however in The Dead Weather Jack plays drums and sings occasionally.
7. Late Night with Conan O’Brien, 2008
The Raconteurs – “Many Shades of Black”
The band returned to Late Night in 2008 to promote their second album Consolers of the Lonely. “Many Shades of Black” features Brendan Benson on lead vocals, Jack White ripping through a solo, and the Late Night band providing their horn section to the performance.
6. The Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert, 2022
Jack White – “If I Die Tomorrow”
In 2022, Jack White released two solo albums, one being electric and more upbeat, the other being softer acoustic-based songs. ‘”If I Die Tomorrow” is off the softer album Entering Heaven Alive. Jack White is excellent at not only performing his heavier rock sound but also has a whole catalog of beautiful acoustic-based songs that he can mix in when he wants.
5. The Late Show with David Letterman, 2001
The White Stripes – “Fell in Love with a Girl”
This is the song that put The White Stripes on the map. The song had a music video directed by Michel Gondry, they played on MTV, they started being featured in multiple magazines, they were touring a lot, and the media was becoming very interested in the band. Constant questions of why they only wore red, black, and white and if they were really brother and sister surrounded the band. On Letterman in 2001, after the band’s punk performance, the band was destined to only larger success.
4. Late Night with Conan O’Brien, 2009
The White Stripes – “We’re Going To Be Friends”
The White Stripes appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien multiple times, more than any other late-night talk show. Throughout their appearances, it was clear that Conan was a fan. It also seemed that Conan and the band were actual friends. Conan told his wonderful story of how he wanted the band as his last guest on Late Night. Not only is this performance memorable because it was Conan’s last show, but it was a touching bittersweet moment before Conan left to take over The Tonight Show.
Jack White’s top 3 late-night TV performances
3. Saturday Night Live, 2020
Jack White – “Don’t Hurt Yourself/Ball & Biscuit/Jesus is Coming Soon”
Jack White has performed on Saturday Night Live several times throughout the years. He wasn’t originally scheduled for this show in 2020, but was asked to be last minute replacement. This show was at a different time in the world. We were in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic.
White performed a medley of songs during his set. First was “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” a song that he co-wrote with Beyonce for her album Lemonade. He then went into The White Stripes classic “Ball & Biscuit” before transitioning into the old blues song “Jesus is Coming Soon.” This song came out during the pandemic of 1918 and it’s wild how the lyrics related so well to the pandemic we were in back in 2020.
2. The Grammy’s, 2004
The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army”
Even if you’re not familiar with The White Stripes, you’ve heard this song. Even if you’re not familiar with the lyrics, you know the song’s riff. Jack White explained on Conan’s podcast how the song has become somewhat of a folk song because of this. The band’s 2003 album Elephant catapulted them to stardom. They performed the hit song before transitioning to their cover of “Death Letter Blues” at the 2004 Grammys and brought the house down. Truly an epic performance, it gets a special exception to make this list.
1. Late Night with Conan O’Brien, 2003
The White Stripes – “Let’s Build a Home/Going Back To Memphis”
During a week-long residency at Late Night in promotion of their widely successful 2003 album Elephant, The White Stripes played arguably their most wild performance on television. The set featured a song from their second album, De Stijl, before transitioning into a cover of “Going Back To Memphis.” During the performance, Jack White left the music stage and laid his guitar on Conan’s desk to perform a solo with his guitar slide. I’ve never seen anyone else do that.
Which Jack White performance is your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below!