When The White Stripes played in John Peel’s front lounge

THEY headlined Glastonbury and won five Grammys – but for many people the first time they heard The White Stripes was when they were beamed live from a living room in a Suffolk village.

The Detroit duo – Jack and Meg White – confirmed this week that they had split up but Sheila Ravenscroft, widow of broadcasting legend John Peel, still remembers when they played a “terrific” set at Peel Acres back in 2001.

The Radio 1 DJ had been a fervent champion of the band since their early days and Mrs Ravenscroft said it was “such a shame” that the rockers would not be recording or playing live again.

The band confirmed the news through a statement this week citing “a myriad of reasons” for the split.

Mrs Ravenscroft said: “It’s such a shame. They were absolutely terrific. When you heard them live they took your breath away.”

The band recorded three sessions for the John Peel show, with the third a 13-track set performed at Peel Acres on November 8, 2001.

During their visit to Great Finborough the duo, consisting of Jack and Meg White, played a mix of songs from their breakthrough album White Blood Cells as well as traditional blues numbers.

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Mrs Ravenscroft said she thought John had been such a fan because of the raw and “un-messed with” garage rock sound the band generated.

She added: “(The Peel Acres session) was absolutely superb. We were very privileged to have them here. I think anybody who had been to any of their gigs would come away feeling breathless from it because they were an astounding duo.”

Mr Peel became firm friends with the band and frontman Jack even attended the DJ’s funeral at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds in November 2004, alongside other famous faces from the music world.

The White Stripes rose to fame with their striking red and white outfits and stripped-down guitar-and-drums sound.

They grew their fame by refusing to confirm whether they were brother and sister or whether they had once been married and deliberately not using any post-60s recording equipment. The duo have sold millions of albums worldwide and won an army of devoted fans.

They have not played live or recorded any new material for three years as Jack concentrated on his two other bands The Dead Weather and the Raconteurs, producing other artists, including his wife Karen Elson and the country star Wanda Jackson, and running his own record label.

In an online message to fans, the duo confirmed that they would no longer be working together.

They said: “The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack any more. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want.

“The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”

Through the band’s website, Jack and Meg explained the full background to the split.

The statement read: “The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health.

“It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.Meg and Jack want to thank every one of their fans and admirers for the incredible support they have given throughout the 13-plus years of the White Stripes’ intense and incredible career.

“Third Man Records will continue to put out unreleased live and studio recordings from The White Stripes in their Vault Subscription record club, as well as through regular channels.

“Both Meg and Jack hope this decision isn’t met with sorrow by their fans but that it is seen as a positive move done out of respect for the art and music that the band has created. It is also done with the utmost respect to those fans who’ve shared in those creations, with their feelings considered greatly.”

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