One of the most influential rock bands of all time, Pearl Jam is a legendary alternative rock entity that has outsold and outlived its contemporaries since the 90′s. Unknown to many, they may have waned in the mainstream music industry, but they’ve been performing and touring nonstop for the last 20 years.
For a new fan of grunge rock, here are 5 things you need to know about Pearl Jam:
1. Pearl Jam Helped Change the World of Rock Music
Pearl Jam is one of the most influential and biggest-selling rock bands of all time. To date, they’ve sold a total of 31.5 million records in the US and 60 million in global sales. Their 10 albums, released in a span of 12 years from 1991 to 2013, continue to sell around the world to this very day.
As key members that established Seattle’s early 90′s grunge explosion, which included Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden, Pearl Jam helped to change the world of rock music forever.
2. Eddie Vedder Joined the Band through Another Rock Icon
Founding members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament recorded demos to the band’s first album and gave it to Jack Irons – Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s drummer at the time – to persuade him to join the band and was asked to share it with anyone who would be interested to do the vocals.
Irons gave it to Eddie Vedder, who was a San Diego musician and incidentally his basketball buddy. The rest, as they say, is rock music history.
3. The Debut Album, Ten, Catapulted the Band to Stardom
Released on August 27, 1991, Pearl Jam’s debut album was slow to sell at first but became a breakthrough success in the later part of 1992. Ten is actually an homage to Mookie Blaylock, a point guard of the New Jersey Nets, who sported the jersey number. In fact, when recording the album, the band’s name was Mookie Blaylock – but was asked by their label to change their name to prevent copyright issues with the athlete.
Ten reached the #2 spot on the Billboard Charts, with hits like Alive, Even Flow, and Jeremy, becoming national anthems of the grunge subculture. It stayed on the charts for 2 whole years and went platinum 13 times, making it one of the best selling records of all time.
4. The Must-listen to Songs are Alive, Jeremy, Even Flow, Corduroy, and Last Kiss
While Alive and Even Flow have been fan favorites, it was Jeremy that brought Pearl Jam to mainstream consciousness. A song about an actual suicide of a 15-year-old high school student who shot himself in front of his English class in Texas, this song is the band’s most recognized record.
5. Pearl Jam are Social and Political Activists
Playing in major concerts around the world to aid in charities and support pro-choice movements, Pearl Jam is widely noted for their social commentaries aside from their incredible rock and roll history.
As members of Rock the Vote, Vote for Change, and as strong supporters of environmental change, they’ve continuously promoted awareness of social and political issues around the world.
As rock royalty, Pearl Jam stands the tests of time, outselling and outlasting many of their alternative rock contemporaries. So long as they’re alive, they’ll continue to shape the world of alternative rock.