“It was a Vladimir Kagan couch, the fabric was pink with silver threads”. he says. “I had three staples tamping the fabric down, left, right and centre, and I just stared at it for 10 minutes, it became hypnotic. This was the minimum amount of staples I could put to hold this fabric down. The number three exemplifies the almost iconic, mysterious perfection that cannot be obtained. A table has to have three legs or else it falls down. A traffic light has three lights. A car wheel can stay on with three bolts. It goes on and on. There are these three elements to everything, and if you can discover what those three are as your structure, then you're on the right path. To this day, I still think about it all the time. When I write a song, I have to build a structure, I have to build upon that."
What's known as the three chord structure is actually the basic building block of blues songs, which begat rock and roll. And the three chord structure is what forms the basis of the 12-bar blues, one of the most popular patterns in music. And something White has used for numerous songs.
And it’s not just songs, but it permeates all aspects of White’s work. From releasing 3-inch vinyl records when in The White Stripes to changing his name to Three Quid to performing with three microphones to even being incorporating the number into accessing content on White's website, it’s everywhere.
Check out the video below for more on this obsession. And check out more from The Raconteurs at the Third Man Records website.