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Artist of the Week

Artist of the Week: Pearl Jam

Genre: Rock (Alternative)

Location: Seattle, Washington

Years active: 1990-today

Cited by some as the most popular rock band of the 90s, Pearl Jam began as a project named “Mookie Blaylock”, after the former New Jersey Nets point guard. Pressured by their label to change the name, they still paid homage to their favorite player by naming their debut album Ten (Blaylock’s uniform number).

Pearl Jam is a curious entity in many different aspects. For starters, they found immediate success with Ten but drew just as much criticism for being a corporate cash grab during the grunge startup of the early 90s. As the decade wore on, however, the band began to deconstruct that image. After their first two albums, they refused to make any more music videos, and, more impressively, boycotted industry giant TicketMaster when it came time to set up tours.

Although they never matched the smashing success of Ten or sophomore album Vs., they still put on one of the best shows in America, and continue to produce new albums. Their last effort, Backspacer, was released in 2009, and new material is expected in 2012.

Pearl Jam’s ultimate legacy will probably be that they are the only band from the “Seattle Four” (Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Soundgarden and PJ) that survived the 1990s and have never parted ways. Alice in Chains and Soundgarden recently reconvened to try and create some leftover magic, but Pearl Jam hasn’t folded yet, and for that, they have my respect.

My five favorite Pearl Jam tracks:

5. “Black”

4. “Yellow Ledbetter”

Listen here.

3. “Daughter”

2. “Better Man”

Listen here.

1. “Alive”


Also, check out this awesome video of singer Eddie Vedder jumping into the crowd from a TV mast in his younger days:


Offical website




About Alex Smith

Alex Smith is a writer and musician from Minneapolis, MN. He currently attends the University of Missouri in Columbia and is pursuing a dual degree in journalism and english.


2 thoughts on “Artist of the Week: Pearl Jam

  1. I was just thinking about how I need to get into Pearl Jam. This blog inspires me to be a “Better Man.” That being said, Pearl Jam good, Nirvana better, yes?

    Posted by Burn | July 11, 2011, 8:30 am
    • Very, clever, my dear sir. Yes, I do like Nirvana more than Pearl Jam, but Nirvana isn’t nearly as technically gifted as PJ. If you like classic rock more than punk rock, you gotta slam with the Jam.

      Posted by Alex Smith | July 11, 2011, 10:13 am

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