Regardless of your opinion of grunge — I’m generally not a fan — it’s hard to argue with Pearl Jam making it into the Hall on the first ballot. They are pioneers in one of the last major movements in rock-n-roll history. Along with Nirvana (first ballot inductees in 2014), they defined the grunge era for a whole generation of bands.
Nirvana is the grunge act that receives most of the credit for popularizing the genre, but fellow Seattle band Pearl Jam was just as successful and influential. The band’s 1991 debut, Ten, is neck-and-neck with Nevermind in terms of domestic album sales, both topping 10 million.
I love several tracks on Ten, including ‘Black,’ ‘Evenflow,’ ‘Alive’ and today’s SOTD, hit single ‘Jeremy.’ The rest of the cuts are either a little too loud, a little too meandering, or both.
Die-hard Pearl Jam fans would likely be insulted to see them labelled as a 90s band. After all, Pearl Jam has released four albums since 2000 (all of which went Gold in the U.S.), they are currently recording another and they have toured consistently and successfully for over two decades.
But there’s no denying that, along with fellow Seattle rockers Nirvana, Pearl Jam defines the grunge era.
Eddie Vedder is the one artist on this list whose music I don’t own or listen to, which I suppose makes his appearance here all the more impressive. If I was actually a fan, he’d no doubt crack the top five.
Let me rephrase. It’s not that I’m not a fan of Vedder, or Pearl Jam, but that they just aren’t really on my radar at all. They were, once upon a time, but they’ve since fallen off and I haven’t given them much thought since. But that doesn’t keep me from really loving Eddie Vedder’s voice.
From Pearl Jam I make the rather simple leap to an Eddie Vedder solo performance. In October of 1992, a stellar lineup of artists gathered at Madison Square Garden to pay tribute to a living legend at The Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Celebration.
Of course, Dylan has gone on to record four studio albums since then, including three that number among his very finest work, so maybe this celebration was a bit premature. But I guess it’s never too early to tip your hat to genius. I wonder what they’ll cook up for the 50th anniversary celebration three years from now.