Pearl Jam was doubtlessly one of the finest grunge bands of the 1990s and of all times. With a long standing history as one of the band’s most prolific and leading musical acts, the group was formed on the West Coast, in the grunge-imbued Seattle, Washington, in 1990, centered around frontman and lead vocalist Eddie Vedder. Some members of the band previously played in other grunge bands during the 1980s as well, more specifically Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar), Jeff Ament (bass guitar), and Mike McCready (lead guitar).
Lead guitarist Mike McCready previously performed with Shadow whereas rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament were initially bandmates in Green River, before joining Malfunkshun and subsequently playing with Mother Love Bone (one of the most illustrative grunge bands ever).
In 1990, after the disbanding of all of their previous bands, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, and Mike McCready gathered together in order to lay the foundation of one of the most finest grunge musical acts ever. The trio jammed a bit and successfully managed to produce a demo consisting of 5 songs which they passed on to other musicians. They only needed a vocalist and a drummer in order to become a full-fledged band.
It wasn’t long before they found Eddie Vedder, thanks to former Red Hot Chilli Peppers drummer Jack Irons who listened to the demo and shared it with his basketball friend from San Diego, none other than legendary Eddie Vedder himself. At that time, soon-to-be Pearl Jam lead vocalist Eddie Vedder already played in a band, more specifically in Bad Radio (rooted in funk rock), and worked a part-time job at a local gas station.
After he got the tape from Irons, he listened to it and then went to surfing. He eventually recorded the demoes for ‘Alive’, ‘Once’, and ‘Footsteps’, mentioning that he found the inspiration for them while surfing. After sending his tape to the three musicians in Seattle, Eddie was then asked to fly to the grunge capital for a vocal audition which he had successfully passed. Lastly, Dave Krusen filled the missing piece in the Pearl Jam puzzle and became the band’s founding drummer. The rest is history or the beginning of a beautiful and long-lasting friendship as well as the birth of ‘Ten’.
Their first studio album, entitled ‘Ten’, was powerful, introspective, epic, and well-balanced both in terms of lyrics and instrumentation. With 1970s technical influences on guitar and the rhythm section as well as very precise lyrics with social impact, dealing with the reality that American youth had to face during the early 1990s, Pearl Jam quickly stormed the charts with a debut record like no other before for a freshly-formed band of young musicians from the West Coast. ‘Ten’ was released in 1991 and was a major commercial and critical success, garnering many fans of all ages both during the years of its release and many years afterward.
Coincidence or not, ‘Ten’ was followed by ten other studio albums until to now, as follows:
- Vs. (1993);
- Vitalogy (1994);
- No Code (1996);
- Yield (1998);
- Binaural (2000);
- Riot Act (2002);
- Pearl Jam (2006);
- Backspacer (2009);
- Lightning Bolt (2013);
- Gigaton (2020).
In addition to their studio albums, Pearl Jam released 15 live LPs, 3 compilations, 5 video albums, 24 music videos, 1 EP, 38 singles, 25 Ten Club Holiday singles, and 314 official bootlegs.
Early on in their career, more specifically in 1990, the band was briefly also known as ‘Mookie Blaylock’ (a reference or a tribute to a former namesake basketball player), before ultimately changing their name to Pearl Jam. Their overall sound is a mixture of grunge rock coupled with alternative rock and hard rock. Throughout the passing of time, they have been signed to the following labels: Universal, Epic, J, Third Man, and Monkeywrench.
Below is a series of personal most favourite songs by Pearl Jam:
Documentation sources and external links: