grunge rock




Seattle, WA


still active

The Players:

  • Eddie Vedder (v – Bad Radio; Temple of the Dog: 90, Pearl Jam: 91-present)
  • Mike McCready (g – Temple of the Dog: 90; Pearl Jam: 91-present; Mad Season: 95)
  • Stone Gossard (g – Ducky Boys: 83-84; Green River: 84-88; Lords of the Wasteland: 88; Mother Love Bone: 88-90; Temple of the Dog: 90; Pearl Jam: 91-present; Brad: 93, 97, 02)
  • Jeff Ament (b – Deranged Diction; Green River: 84-88; Mother Love Bone: 88-90; Temple of the Dog: 90; Pearl Jam: 91-present)
  • Dave Krusen (d: 91-92)
  • Dave Abbruzzese (d: 92-94)
  • Jack Irons (d – What Is This; Red Hot Chili Peppers: 84-88; Eleven: 94; Pearl Jam: 94-98)
  • Matt Cameron (d – Soundgarden: 87-96; Temple of the Dog: 90; Pearl Jam: 98-present)
  • Boom Gaspar (organ: 02-present)

v = vocals; g = guitar; b = bass;
k = keyboards; d = drums

The Studio Albums:

This is a discography not just of Pearl Jam releases, but related product such as predecessors like Green River and Mother Love Bone, as well as later endeavors such as Stone Gossard’s side project Brad or Eddie Vedder’s solo efforts. Hover over an album for the name and year of release. Click to see its DMDB page.


(Organized by dates of recording, not release)

Live Albums:

(Organized by dates of recording, not release)

Key Tracks:

  • Alive (1991)
  • Even Flow (1992)
  • Jeremy (1992)
  • Black (1992)
  • Yellow Ledbetter (1992)
  • Crazy Mary (w/ Victoria Williams) (1993)
  • Go (1993)
  • Daughter (1993)
  • Animal (1993)
  • Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town (1994)
  • Tremor Christ (1994)
  • Spin the Black Circle (1994)
  • Better Man (1994)
  • Not for You (1995)
  • I Got Id (1995)
  • Who You Are (1996)
  • Given to Fly (1998)
  • Wishlist (1998)
  • Last Kiss (1999)
  • Nothing As It Seems (2000)
  • I Am Mine (2002)
  • Man of the Hour (2003)
  • World Wide Suicide (2006)
  • The Fixer (2009)

Album Sales (in millions):


Singles Sales (in millions):






Pearl Jam became “the most popular American rock & roll band of the ‘90s” STE during the grunge movement. They have “been described as ‘modern rock radio's most influential stylists…’ The band inspired and influenced a number of bands, ranging from Silverchair to Puddle of Mudd and The Strokes. Pearl Jam has outlasted many of its contemporaries in the grunge scene like Nirvana and Soundgarden.” WK

However, “compared with the other grunge bands of the early 1990s, Pearl Jam’s style is noticeably less heavy and harkens back to the classic rock music of the 1970s. Pearl Jam has cited many punk rock and classic rock bands as influences, including The Who, Neil Young, and the Ramones. Pearl Jam’s success has been attributed to its sound, which fuses ‘the riff-heavy stadium rock of the ‘70s with the grit and anger of ‘80s post-punk, without ever neglecting hooks and choruses.’” WK

“Pearl Jam was criticized early on – most notably by Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain – as being a corporate cash-in on the alternative rock explosion. However, over the course of the band’s career its members became noted for their refusal to adhere to traditional music industry practices, including refusing to make music videos and engaging in a much-publicized boycott of Ticketmaster. In 2006, Rolling Stone described the band as having "spent much of the past decade deliberately tearing apart their own fame.’” WK

Lead singer Eddie “Vedder’s lyrical topics range from personal (Alive, Better Man) to social and political concerns (Even Flow, World Wide Suicide). His lyrics have often invoked the use of storytelling and have included themes of freedom, individualism, and sympathy for troubled individuals.” WK

The Formative Years (1984-1991)

“Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament were members of pioneering grunge band Green River during the mid-1980s. Green River toured and recorded to moderate success but disbanded in 1987…Gossard and Ament began playing with Malfunkshun vocalist Andrew Wood, eventually organizing the band Mother Love Bone…[Their] debut album, Apple, was released in July 1990, four months after Wood died of a heroin overdose.” WK

“Devastated by the death of Wood and the resulting demise of Mother Love Bone,” WK Gossard and Ament “assembled a new band, bringing in Mike McCready on lead guitar and recording a demo with Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron on drums.” STE “They gave former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons the demo…to distribute…to anyone he felt might fit the lead vocal position.” WK He shared it with his basketball buddy, “a 25-year-old San Diego surfer named Eddie Vedder” STE who “was the lead vocalist for a San Diego band, Bad Radio, and worked part time at a gas station.” WK Vedder “overdubbed vocals and original lyrics and was subsequently invited to join the band.” ” STE

“With the addition of Dave Krusen on drums, the band took the name Mookie Blaylock, in reference to the then-active All-Star basketball player. The band…soon signed to Epic Records. However, concerns about trademark issues necessitated a name change; the band’s name became ‘Pearl Jam.’ In an early promotional interview, Vedder said that the name…was a reference to his great-grandmother Pearl, who was married to a Native American and had a special recipe for peyote-laced jam. In a 2006 Rolling Stone cover story however, Vedder admitted that this story was "total bullshit" (even though he indeed had a great-grandma named Pearl).” WK

Ten and the Grunge Explosion (1991-1992)

“The band recorded their debut album, Ten, in the beginning of 1991, although it wasn’t released until August; in the meantime, the majority of the band appeared on the Andrew Wood tribute project Temple of the Dog. Krusen left the band shortly after the release of Ten; he was replaced by Dave Abbruzzese.” STE

Ten, which was “named after Mookie Blaylock’s jersey number,”WK “didn’t begin selling in significant numbers until early 1992, after Nirvana made mainstream rock radio receptive to alternative rock acts. Soon, Pearl Jam outsold Nirvana, which wasn’t surprising – Pearl Jam fused the riff-heavy stadium rock of the ‘70s with the grit and anger of ‘80s post-punk, without ever neglecting hooks and choruses; Jeremy, Evenflow, and Alive fit perfectly onto album rock radio stations looking for new blood.” STETen stayed on the Billboard charts for more than two years, and has gone on to become one of the highest-selling rock records ever, going thirteen times platinum.” WK

Pearl Jam Vs. Success and Ticketmaster (1993-1994)
“Pearl Jam headed into the studio in early 1993 facing the challenge of following up the commercial success of its debut…Second album, Vs., sold a record 950,378 copies in its first week of release and outperformed all other entries in the Billboard top ten that week combined…Paul Evans of Rolling Stone said, ‘Few American bands have arrived more clearly talented than this one did with Ten; and Vs. tops even that debut.’” WK

Still, at the same time, the band was growing “uncomfortable with their success.” WK “The band decided…to scale back its commercial efforts. The members declined to produce any more music videos” WK despite winning MTV’s Video of the Year for Jeremy. They also “opted for fewer interviews and television appearances.” WK

“On their spring 1994 American tour, the band decided not to play the conventional stadiums, choosing to play smaller arenas, including several shows on college campuses. Pearl Jam canceled their 1994 summer tour, claiming they could not keep ticket prices below 20 dollars because Ticketmaster was pressuring promoters to charge a higher price. The band took Ticketmaster to the Justice Department for unfair business practices.” STE “The Justice Department eventually ruled in favor of the ticket agency.” STE “Pearl Jam’s initiative to play only at non-Ticketmaster venues effectively, with a few exceptions, prevented it from playing shows in the United States for the next three years.” WK

Vitalogy, Neil Young & Other Side Projects (1994-1995)

Pearl Jam “recorded a new album during the spring and summer of 1994. After the record was completed, the group fired Dave Abbruzzese, replacing him with former Red Hot Chili Peppers and Eleven drummer Jack Irons.” STE “The band cited political differences between Abbruzzese and the other members; for example, Abbruzzese disagreed with the Ticketmaster boycott.” WK

Vitalogy “became the second-fastest-selling in history, with more than 877,000 units sold in its first week…Many of the songs on the album appear to be based around the pressures of fame.” WK

In early 1995, “Pearl Jam backed Neil Young, whom the band had noted as an influence, on his album Mirror Ball.” WK “Although the individual members of the band were credited, the name Pearl Jam did not appear on the cover due to legal complications. Pearl Jam released a single culled from the sessions…featuring the songs I Got Id and Long Road, in the fall of 1995.” STE

Also, “Vedder toured with his wife Beth’s experimental band Hovercraft in the spring of 1994 as Stone Gossard founded an independent record company; Mad Season, Mike McCready’s side project with Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, released their first album, Above, in the spring of 1995.” STE

No Code and Yield (1996-1998)

Fourth album, No Code, was released in 1996. It “was seen as a deliberate break from the band’s sound since Ten, favoring experimental ballads and noisy garage rockers…The lyrical themes on the album deal with issues of self-examination…Although the album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts, it quickly fell down the charts.” WK “The record’s performance was also hurt by Pearl Jam’s inability to launch a full-scale tour, due both to their battle with Ticketmaster and a reluctance to spend months on the road.” STE “A European tour took place in the fall of 1996.” WK

By the end of 1997, “Pearl Jam had completed a new, harder-rocking record entitled Yield.” STE “Lyrically, Yield continued with the more contemplative type of writing found on No Code, with Vedder saying, ‘What was rage in the past has become reflection.’ Yield debuted at number two on the Billboard charts, but like No Code soon began dropping down the charts.” WK

“Pearl Jam supported the record with a full-scale arena tour in the summer of 1998.” STE “For this tour and future tours, Pearl Jam once again began using Ticketmaster in order to ‘better accommodate concertgoers.’” WK “Jack Irons did not participate due to poor health, and was replaced by ex-Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron.” STE The band issued “the concert LP Live on Two Legs at the end of the year.” STE

Also of note during this era – “the band hired comic book artist Todd McFarlane to create an animated video for the song Do the Evolution from the album, its first music video since 1992.” WK

“Last Kiss” and Binaural (1999-2000)

“In 1999, Pearl Jam scored an unlikely pop radio smash with their cover of the J. Frank Wilson oldie Last Kiss, originally released as the seventh in a series of fan club-only singles that had also featured several incongruous covers in the past. Demand from fans and radio programmers resulted in the nationwide release of ‘Last Kiss,’ and it eventually became the band’s highest-charting pop hit to date, peaking at number two and going gold.” STE

“The group returned in 2000 with the Tchad Blake-produced Binaural.” STEBinaural was the first album since the band’s debut not produced by Brendan O’Brien, although O’Brien was called in later to remix several tracks.” WK “The title is a reference to the binaural recording techniques that were utilized on several tracks.” WK “The album is lyrically darker than the band’s previous album Yield…The album sold just over 700,000 copies and became the first Pearl Jam studio album to fail to reach platinum status.” WK

“In order to circumvent bootleggers, their subsequent European and American tours were recorded in full and released in an unprecedented series of double-CD sets, each of the 72 volumes featuring a complete concert.” STE Pearl Jam “set a record for most albums to debut in the Billboard 200 at the same time.” WK

“Pearl Jam’s 2000 European tour ended in tragedy on June 30, with an accident at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. Nine fans were crushed underfoot and suffocated to death as the crowd rushed to the front. The band stopped playing and tried to calm the crowd when the musicians realized what was happening, but it was already too late. The two remaining dates of the tour were canceled, and the band seriously considered retiring after this event. Pearl Jam was initially blamed for the accident, but was later cleared of responsibility.” WK

Riot Act (2001-2002)

“Pearl Jam commenced work on a new album following a year-long break…Vedder said, ‘There’s been a lot of mortality…Roskilde changed the shape of us as people, and our filter for seeing the world changed.’” WK 2002’s Riot Act “featured a much more folk-based and experimental sound, evident in the presence of B3 organist Boom Gaspar.” WK

“In 2003, the band embarked on its Riot Act Tour, which included tours in Australia and North America. The band continued its official bootleg program, making every concert from the tour available in CD form through its official website. A total of six bootlegs were made available in record stores.” WK

Hiatus (2002-2004)

“In June 2003, Pearl Jam announced it was officially leaving Epic Records following the end of its contract with the label. The band stated it had ‘no interest’ in signing with another label. The band’s first release without a label was the single for Man of the Hour,” WK featured on the soundtrack of Tim Burton’s film Big Fish.

2003 saw the release of a double-disc archival set, Lost Dogs: Rarities and B Sides. Pearl Jam also released “Live at the Garden, a DVD featuring the band's July 8, 2003 concert at Madison Square Garden…[and]…the live album, Live at Benaroya Hall.” WK In 2004, “Epic released Rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991–2003), a Pearl Jam greatest hits…[which] marked the end of Pearl Jam’s contractual agreement with Epic Records.” WK

An Eponymous Album, the Ten Reissue, and Backspacer (2006-2009)

“Clive Davis announced in February 2006 that Pearl Jam had signed with his label, J Records, which like Epic, is part of the Sony BMG group. The band’s eighth studio album, Pearl Jam, was released on May 2, 2006. A number of critics cited Pearl Jam as a return to the band’s early sound…Current socio-political issues in the United States are addressed on the album.” WK

In 2007, Eddie Vedder released his first solo effort, the well-received soundtrack for the Sean Penn-directed Into the Wild. That same year, “Pearl Jam recorded a cover of The Who’s Love, Reign O’er Me for the Mike Binder film, Reign Over Me; it was later made available as a music download on the iTunes Music Store…The band released a CD box set in June 2007, entitled Live at the Gorge 05/06, that documents its shows at The Gorge Amphitheatre, and in September 2007 a concert DVD, entitled Immagine in Cornice, which documents the band’s Italian shows from its 2006 tour was released.” WK

In 2009, “Pearl Jam’s debut album, Ten, was reissued in four editions, featuring such extras as a remastering and remix of the entire album by Brendan O'Brien, a DVD of the band’s 1992 appearance on MTV Unplugged, and an LP of its September 20, 1992 concert at Magnuson Park in Seattle. It is the first reissue in a planned re-release of Pearl Jam's entire catalogue that will lead up to the band's 20th anniversary in 2011. A Pearl Jam retrospective movie directed by Cameron Crowe is also planned to coincide with the anniversary.” WK

In 2009, Pearl Jam also released Backspacer, “the group’s first album to be produced by Brendan O’Brien since Yield.” WK “The music on the record features a sound influenced by pop and New Wave.” WK The band “reached a deal with Target to be the exclusive big-box store retailer for the album in the United States.” WK

2011 saw the release of another official live album, Live on Ten Legs. The title referenced the band’s first official live album, 1998’s Live on Two Legs. Vedder also released his second solo album, Ukulele Songs, which is, yes, an unlikely collection of Pearl Jam’s emotive front man dropping into an acoustic vein with a collection of ukulele-driven tunes that work surpisingly well.

Review Sources:

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Last updated June 3, 2011.