Icky Thump (song)

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"Icky Thump"
IckyThump single.jpg
Single by The White Stripes
from the album Icky Thump
ReleasedApril 26, 2007
Length4:17 (Album Version)
3:50 (Radio Edit)
LabelWarner Bros. (U.S.)
XL Recordings (Europe)
Songwriter(s)Jack White III[1]
Producer(s)Jack White III[1]
The White Stripes singles chronology
"The Denial Twist"
"Icky Thump"
"Rag and Bone"

"Icky Thump" is a song recorded by the American alternative rock band The White Stripes. Written by Jack White, it is the first single released from their sixth and final album of the same name.[2]


The name of the track comes from the Northern England exclamation "Ecky Thump;" The phrase was popularized in an episode of the British sketch comedy series The Goodies. The album title was then changed to "Icky" to make it more accessible to American teenage audiences.[3]


Music video[edit]

The music video for "Icky Thump" premiered on AOL.com at midnight EDT on May 23, 2007. The video was co-directed by Jack White and the Malloy Brothers.

The video was filmed in Nashville, Tennessee, though it is set in Mexico. The video also features Spanish subtitles acting as a translation of the lyrics.

The video for "Icky Thump" debuted on MTV's Total Request Live on July 17, 2007. This marked the first time a White Stripes video was ever on the countdown.

Release and reception[edit]

"Icky Thump" was made available online through the United States and Canada iTunes Store on Thursday, April 26, 2007.[4] The single reached number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became the group's only Top 40 single on that chart.[5] The song also reached number one (for three weeks) on the Alternative Songs chart and number 11 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[5] The song also ended the 15-week run of "What I've Done" by Linkin Park at the top of the Modern Rock Tracks chart when the song rose to the top of that chart in August. It was the second song by the White Stripes to top the chart, after "Seven Nation Army." It ended up being certified both Gold for physical shipments and Platinum for digital sales in the US.[6]

Third Man Records/XL Recordings also released CD and vinyl versions of the "Icky Thump" single on June 11, 2007 in the UK.[4] It is to date the duo's biggest UK chart hit, debuting at number 13 in the UK Singles Chart via download sales alone and peaking at number two the following week, marking their first UK Top 3 single, and was kept off the number-one spot by "Umbrella" by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z. On the Scottish Singles Chart, however, the song dethroned "Umbrella" to claim the number-one spot. After peaking, the song very quickly dropped out of the Top 100, spending only seven weeks on both charts and ending 2007 as the UK's 122nd best-selling song.

This song was number 17 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007.[7] On December 6, 2007, "Icky Thump" was nominated for two 2007 Grammy Awards: Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. "Icky Thump" won the 2008 Grammy award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.[8] In Australia, where the song reached number 46, the song was number 23 on the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2007.


The song was featured in the special footage clip of Warner Bros. Pictures' Justice League shown at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 and was later included in the film's soundtrack.[9]


Though grounded in straightforward garage rock to a greater degree than the Get Behind Me Satan singles, the song differed radically from previous White Stripes singles in its unusual construction: angular tempo-changes, stream-of-consciousness lyrics, and chaotic improvised snake-charming solos, played on a Univox synthesizer.

The song deals with the topic of immigration to the United States.[10] The song itself criticizes contemporary American immigration policy, something seen also in the video. It is thus the first political White Stripes track since "The Big Three Killed My Baby," off The White Stripes.

The lyrics talk about someone (perhaps Jack White himself) taking a trip to Mexico in a wagon, easily crossing the border to Mexico, as opposed to the difficulties illegal Mexican immigrants face while crossing northwards. It then mentions a Mexican lady giving him a bed to sleep in, then tying him up, assaulting him and holding him hostage. When finally able to escape, White decides to start doing his own house chores (referring, most likely, to the hiring of illegal immigrants as very low paid house servants). In the video, when White escapes the lady's house and crosses back to the USA, he passes by Mexican workers building a wall, likely the so-called Great Wall of Mexico.

The defining verse against immigration policies comes near the end of the song:

White Americans
What? Nothin' better to do?
Why don't you kick yourself out
You're an immigrant too.

Who's using who?
What should we do?
Well you can't be a pimp
And a prostitute too.


Left alone
I hit myself with a stone
Went home
And learned how to clean up after myself

Track listings[edit]

7" white vinyl (companion to the NME-distributed record that was given away with copies of the magazine on stands June 6)[4]

  1. "Icky Thump"
  2. "Etching" (no audio)

Standard 7" [4]

  1. "Icky Thump"
  2. "Baby Brother"

Promo CD single

  1. "Icky Thump" (Radio edit)
  2. "Icky Thump" (Album version)

CD single [4]

  1. "Icky Thump" - 4:18
  2. "Catch Hell Blues" - 4:16

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ a b CD liner notes: Grammy Nominees 2008
  2. ^ FM96 Radio, Tuesday April 10 2007[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Later with Jools Holland. June 1, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d e "News page". White Stripes web site. Archived from the original on 2015-04-22. Retrieved 2007-04-25. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ a b "The White Stripes: Charts and Awards". Allmusic.
  6. ^ a b "American single certifications – The White Stripes – Icky Thump". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 16, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  7. ^ No byline (December 11, 2007). "The 100 Best Songs of 2007" Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-12-21
  8. ^ (February 9, 2008). "2008 Grammy Award Winners and Nominees" "New York Times". Retrieved 2007-01-12
  9. ^ Warner Bros. Pictures (2016-07-23). "Justice League Special Comic-Con Footage". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  10. ^ "Icky Thump : White Stripes :Review :RollingStone". RollingStone. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
  11. ^ "Australian-charts.com – The White Stripes – Icky Thump". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  12. ^ "Austriancharts.at – The White Stripes – Icky Thump" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  13. ^ "Ultratop.be – The White Stripes – Icky Thump" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  14. ^ "Ultratop.be – The White Stripes – Icky Thump" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  15. ^ "The White Stripes Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  16. ^ "The White Stripes Chart History (Canada Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  17. ^ "Danishcharts.com – The White Stripes – Icky Thump". Tracklisten. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  18. ^ "Lescharts.com – The White Stripes – Icky Thump" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Icky Thump". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  20. ^ "Notowanie nr1337" (in Polish). LP3. September 14, 2007. Retrieved March 10, 2019. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  21. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  22. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  23. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  24. ^ "The White Stripes Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  25. ^ "The White Stripes Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  26. ^ "The White Stripes Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  27. ^ "The Official UK Singles Chart 2007" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved June 16, 2018.

External links[edit]