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Listen to Jack White's very rare, and very funny, cover of Blondie's 'One Way or Another'

Recorded on an old cassette tape, the 1997 cover is thought to be one of the earliest White releases.

Recorded on an old cassette tape, the 1997 cover is thought to be one of the earliest White releases

Jack White's cover of Blondie's "One Way or Another" is thought to be one of the rarest recordings of the indie rocker. (David James Swanson)

First as frontman of the White Stripes and later as a solo artist, Jack White became one of the biggest names in indie rock — now a rare recording has surfaced, and it features White long before he rose to fame.

The recording is from 1997, the same year the White Stripes first formed, and features White and Detroit teen punk band 400 Pounds of Punk performing in a makeshift home studio. Singer Jamie Cherry also features on the track, which was uploaded to YouTube by Third Man Records co-founder and archivist Ben Blackwell, who recently penned the essay "Why Cassettes are the New 45s."

"The track list is a sparse four songs, with the snotty From the Garbage Bin being my personal favorite," writes Blackwell. "An unlisted hidden fifth track is a rude cover of Blondie's One Way Or Another with vocal duties shared by the band's lead singer Jamie Cherry and one of the session engineers, a then-unknown Jack White.

"The cassette, titled He Once Ate A Small Child is, as far as I can tell, the rarest physical release of a Jack White performance. And prior to the mention here, the release was completely undocumented. I doubt more than a half-dozen people even knew about it."

The cover is brash and hilariously goofy. Check it out:

In the essay, Blackwell goes on to argue that this is why cassettes are the new 45s, because there is so much to discover in those boxes tucked away in closets and dusty garages. 

"How many other tapes are languishing in despair in moldy basements across the country? Across the globe?" he writes. "If my inchoate ramblings here can serve any legitimate purpose, dig out your own box and start uploading and cataloging. I thank you in advance, and the rest of the world will thank you later."

About the Author

Jennifer Van Evra

Jennifer Van Evra is a Vancouver-based journalist and digital producer for q. She can be found on Twitter @jvanevra or email jennifer.vanevra@cbc.ca.

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