And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #110: Jack White v Guinness World Records

By | Published on Friday 18 May 2012

Jack White

Jack White is trying to promote his new solo record, but everywhere he goes people ask him about The White Stripes.

I mean, what is there to say that he hasn’t said already? Yes, they split up. No, he doesn’t know why. You can see why this might be annoying, and why it might result in disproportionate outburst of anger after a while, with whoever happens to be in the way at the time getting the full brunt of it. So, poor old Guinness World Records, which was this week branded an “elitist organisation” by Mr White.

Actually, it seems that White does feel he has justified reason to take fire at the big book of records, because back in 2007, he and Meg White played what they believed was the shortest gig ever. They contacted Guinness and asked to be in the book but were apparently denied.

Speaking to Interview magazine, White said: “We’d done this whole tour of Canada, where we played in every province, and almost every day we would do a free show. I would decide each morning what kind of show we would do. So when we were in Newfoundland, the idea that I came up with at breakfast was, ‘Let’s play one note today…'”

He continued: “I told Meg as we were getting out of the car: ‘Make sure you grab your cymbal [and] when you hit the cymbal, grab it so that the note only lasts a millisecond’. I was thinking that afterwards we could contact the Guinness World Records people and see if we could get the record for shortest concert of all time. So we did it, but ultimately they turned us down”.

Bummer. No biggy, really. Though Jack is still miffed.

He ranted further: “The Guinness book is a very elitist organisation. There’s nothing scientific about what they do. They just have an office full of people who decide what a record is and what isn’t… Most of the records in there – who has the biggest collection of salt and pepper shakers or whatever – are just whatever they want them to be. So with something like the shortest concert of all time, they didn’t think whatever we did was interesting enough to make it a record. I don’t know why they get to decide that, but, you know, they own the book”.

Wow, maybe he’s right. Maybe this is a massive conspiracy just waiting to be uncovered. I’d sure like to know what Guinness World ecords has to say about all this. If they’re turning down The White Stripes for records, who knows what other achievements the shadowy organisation might be hiding from the public. Norris McWhirter and Roy Castle must be spinning in their graves. Whatever happened to “dedication’s what you need, eh?” I want answers. We NEED answers. We MUST KNOW THE TRUTH.

“The White Stripes were in fact recognised in the 2009 Edition of the Guinness World Records book for the shortest music concert ever when, on 16 Jul 2007, they played just one note at St John’s in Newfoundland, Canada”.


In a statement issued to NME, Guinness World Records continued: “Subsequent to this appearance we received a large volume of applications from bands and performers seeking to beat this record. The ultimate results of this was individuals claiming that simply appearing on stage was enough to qualify them for this record”.

Oh, yeah, I can see why that would be a problem.

“The results were difficult to objectively measure (for example, how many members of the crowd need to be able to see the performer before they disappear off stage?) and as such it’s difficult to justify an appearance as a concert by any reasonable definition of the word”.

Wow, that’s a bit more scientific than Jack White had me believe as well.

“The nature of competing to make something the ‘shortest’ by its very nature trivialises the activity being carried out, and Guinness World Records has been forced to reject many claims of this kind. As such, we have been forced to cease listing records for the shortest song, shortest poem, and indeed the shortest concert”.

Oh man, Jack White made a mockery of the whole system. Jack White is a MONSTER. GWR doesn’t mind though, it’s all water under the bridge: “Many of us at Guinness World Records are enormous admirers of Mr White’s oeuvre, and we would be extremely pleased if he were to attempt any of the 40,000 records that are currently active on our database. In order to apply, all he needs to do is head to, fill in a short application and grab his own slice of record-breaking glory”.

If he’s going to go around playing one just one note before he walks off stage, maybe he could start by applying for the record for having the most annoyed fans.