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We’re here to show you our Best Pearl Jam Songs. The band needs no introduction, as they certainly are one of the most popular bands of the XX Century, and in particular during the 90’s, where they were the voices of one generation.

They set definitively an era where  Heavy Metal passes the testimony to the Grunge movement based mostly on Seattle,  which includes band such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains among other great bands…and of course Pearl Jam.

They have enriched a decade with dozens of great songs that are on the tongue of everyone who lived at the turn of the century.

The list that follows will be a retrospective of the Best Pearl Jam Songs from the begging of their career until the last album Backspacer , we are talking about 20 years (23 when they release Lightning Bolt in October this year)…yeah time really flies fast.

Enjoy Our List and say your justice too!

23 – Life Wasted  (‘Pearl Jam’, 2006)

22 – The Fixer (‘Backspacer’, 2009)

21 – I Am Mine (‘Riot Act’, 2002)

20 – Dissident (‘Ten’, 1991)

19 – Off He Goes (‘No Code’, 1995)

18 – Nothing as it Seems (‘Binaural’, 2000)

17 – Once (‘Ten’, 1991)

16 – Immortality (‘Vitalogy’, 1994)

15 – Daughter (‘V.S’, 1993)

14- Animal (‘V.S’, 1993)

13- Go (‘V.S’, 1993)

12- Do the Evolution (‘Yield’, 1996)

11- Yellow Ledbetter (‘Ten’, 1991)

10- Alive (‘Ten’, 1991)

Pearl Jam Alive cover artwork

‘Alive’ was Pearl Jam’s first single from the band’s debut album, Ten. Written by guitarist Stone Gossard, the demo was circulated around and finished in the hands of Eddie Vedder who soon wrote the lyrics for the song. That song report at the time when he was told that the man he thought was his father was not actually his biological parent .

‘Alive’ charted at number 16 in the UK, and has gone on to become the band’s second most-performed live song at over 620 performances, behind only ‘Even Flow’ which has been played over 700 times.

9- Rearviewmirror (‘Vs.’, 1993)

Pearl Jam rearviewmirror cover artwork

‘Rearviewmirror’ from the band’s second album ‘V.s’, was written by Eddie Vdder and have his participation on guitar for the first time on the band. About the song, Vedder says: ‘We start off with the music and it kinds of propels the lyrics. It made me feel like I was in a car, leaving something, a bad situation. There’s an emotion there. I remembered all the times I wanted to leave…’

8- State of Love and Trust (‘Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’, 1992)

Pearl Jam State of Love and Trust cover artwork

‘State of Love and Trust’ first showed up on the soundtrack ‘Singles’. It was initially recorded during sessions for the band’s debut album and then rerecorded with their new drummer after that LP became a hit. The song was also included on Pearl Jam’s 2004 greatest hits album, ‘Rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991–2003)’.

It’s amazing the quality of the band at that time, to put out the debut album with such incredible songs. But you can hear an early version of the song included as part of the reissue of the band’s debut album, ‘Ten’, in 2009.

7- Given to Fly (‘Yield’, 1998)

pearl jam Given To Fly cover

‘Given to Fly’  features lyrics by Eddie Vedder and the music was written by Mike McCready. It was the first single from the band’s fifth studio album, Yield (1998). About the origin of the music McCready says :

‘It was snowing here in Seattle, which it rarely does, and so they kind of shut down all the streets and I couldn’t get my car out of the driveway. And I have a Volvo and you’d think those would be able to drive in the snow, but no, it wasn’t going anywhere, so I was kind of stuck in my condo. And I wrote that riff [for “Given to Fly”] and the “Faithfull” riff that day.’.

The song was a tremendous success all over the world and will be known by the guitar part and main vocal melody that will remind you of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Going to California’ from the 1971 album Led Zeppelin IV.

6- Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (‘Vs.’, 1993)

Elderly Woman Behind the  ounter in a Small Town cover artwork

‘Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town’ was made by Vedder in 20 minutes, as he explains:

‘We were recording the second record, and we stayed in this house in San Francisco, and I was outside the house in my own world and the little outhouse had a small room. I’m talking the size of a bathroom. I was able to fit a Shure Vocal Master, which is a 1960’s PA, and two big towers of PA and a little amp and a 4 track. I slept in there too.

I remember waking up one morning and playing pretty normal chords that sounded good, and I put on the vocal master to hear myself and it came out right quick. I don’t even think I scribbled the lyrics down. It took 20 minutes. Stone was sitting outside reading the paper, and he was like “I really like that.” So we recorded it that day’.

The long title is Pearl Jam’s realization that the majority of their songs have very short titles. Eddie Vedder’s songwriting evolved with Pearl Jam’s second album ‘Vs.’, and ”Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town’ serves as evidence of that. The song tells us a story of two people reuniting after years apart. Eddie can capture the humanity reality in his music like anyone.

5- Even Flow (‘Ten’, 1991)

pearl jam even flow cover artwork

Featuring lyrics written by Eddie Vedder and music written by guitarist Stone Gossard, ‘Even Flow’ was released in 1992 as the second single from the band’s debut album, ‘Ten’. All the members of the band have commented on the excessive number of takes ‘Even Flow’ took to record. About this fact, Guitarist Mike McCready stated, ‘We did ‘Even Flow’ about 50, 70 times. I swear to God it was a nightmare. We played that thing over and over until we hated each other. I still don’t think Stone is satisfied with how it came out.’

In terms of reception, ultimately, the song peaked at number three on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and was placed at number 77 on a list of ‘The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time’ by Rolling Stone. It was also included on VH1’s countdown of the ‘100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs’ at number 30.

‘Even Flow’ was first performed live at the band’s October 22, 1990 concert in Seattle, Washington at the Off Ramp Café. Since then has gone on to become the band’s most performed live song, having been played over 700 times.

4- Corduroy (‘Vitalogy’, 1994)

pearl jam vitalogy cover album

‘Corduroy’ managed to reach number 13 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks, despite the lack of a commercial single release. Like most of Vitalogy, ‘Corduroy’ is simple, straightforward rock, its one of those songs that Pearl Jam have made a classic through their live performances. They nearly always play it live making it one of the few stable things in their live catalog.

About the lyrics, Eddie Vedder says that: ‘It is about a relationship but not between two people. It’s more one person’s relationship with a million people. In fact, that song’s almost a little too obvious for me. That’s why instead of a lyric sheet we put in an X-ray of my teeth from last January and they are all in very bad shape, which was analogous to my head at the time’.

3- Better Man (‘Vitalogy’, 1994)

pearl jam vitalogy cover album

From the band’s third studio album, ‘Vitalogy’ (1994), the song was written by vocalist Eddie Vedder and initially was recorded for ‘Vs’. ‘Better Man’ reached the top of the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and spent a total of eight weeks at number one.

Eddie Vedder when was in high school pulled from his own experiences with his stepfather to written this track. The song begins with Vedder’s solitary strumming but eventually turns into a melodically rocking track about a woman settling in life. For there’s no doubt about the meaning of music, Vedder, once in April 3, 1994 in Atlanta, Georgia at the Fox Theatre, hr clearly said ‘it’s dedicated to the bastard that married my Momma.’

2- Jeremy (‘Ten.’, 1991)

jeremy footsteps yellow ledbetter pearl jam cd cover art

‘Jeremy’ the magnetic and powerful song was released in 1992 as the third single from Pearl Jam’s debut album ‘Ten’.

This song is about a boy who kills himself at school to get revenge on the students who tormented him. It is based on the true story of Jeremy Delle, a 16-year-old who killed himself in front of his English class at Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas on January 8, 1991.

The song gained notoriety for its music video, directed by Mark Pellington and released in 1992,  and became a hit. In 1993, the ‘Jeremy’ video was awarded four MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Video of the Year.

1- Black (‘Ten.’, 1991)

ten pearl jam cover album

‘The song is about letting go,’ said Vedder ‘It’s very rare for a relationship to withstand the Earth’s gravitational pull and where it’s going to take people and how they’re going to grow. I’ve heard it said that you can’t really have a true love unless it was a love unrequited. It’s a harsh one, because then your truest one is the one you can’t have forever.’

Number 1 on many Pearl Jam fans’ lists, ‘Black’ is probably the song we would introduce to a new listener of Pearl Jam. One of their most emotional songs was written by Stone Gossard, which he called ‘E Ballad’ before Vedder put words to it.

Despite the lack of a commercial single release, the song managed to reach number three on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Remixed versions of the song were included on Pearl Jam’s 2004 greatest hits album, Rearviewmirror, and the 2009 Ten reissue.

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Is just a guy who got tired of bothering his friends talking about music, and decided to create a blog to write about what he loves the most.
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