The Year in Rock 2014 — Jack White Hits New Highs with “Lazaretto”

Image Courtesy of David James SwansonJack White further cemented his status as one of modern music's biggest rock stars in 2014 with Lazaretto, his second solo album. Lazaretto -- White's follow-up to his 2012 solo debut, Blunderbuss -- peaked at number one on the Billboard 200, giving him two straight number-one solo albums. The new record also gave White a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album, and the title track was nominated for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance.

Even more impressive than his number-one position on the Billboard 200 was White's number one position on another chart. Lazaretto was easily the best-selling vinyl record of 2014, moving more than 75,000 copies. That figure made Lazaretto the best-selling vinyl record since Pearl Jam's 1994 album, Vitalogy. The second-best-selling vinyl record was Arctic Monkeys' AM, which sold just over 40,000 copies.

White didn't press vinyl just for himself -- he brought some legends in on the fun, too. Neil Young released an album of covers, entitled A Letter Home, which he recorded entirely in Jack White's Third Man Records studio in Nashville using a refurbished 1940s recording booth. On an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, White recorded Young using the booth and pressed a cover, all in one take.

White also continued his reign as one of rock's most exciting live acts. He brought that act to the 2014 Bonnaroo Music Festival, which included a cover of Led Zeppelin's "The Lemon Song." Later in the year, White released his Bonnaroo set on vinyl for members of the Third Man Records Vault subscription service.

2014 wasn't all highs for White, however. His touring keyboardist, Isaiah "Ikey" Owens, died of a heart attack in October while the band was on tour in Mexico. White canceled his remaining tour dates. The band resumed touring in November with White's Dead Weather band mate Dean Fertita playing keyboards in Owens' place.

White also found himself in a spat with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach. In an email sent to his ex-wife, Karen Elson, White said he didn't want his kids to go to the same school as Auerbach's, since he says Auerbach and The Black Keys ripped off his sound. White later apologized for his remarks.

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