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Pearl Jam: “Corduroy” and “Rearviewmirror”

Pearl Jam, of course, was one of the super groups of the 1990s. It surprised me that they still are touring today. Here is how Sterogum’s Ryan Leas begins his list of the band’s ten top songs:

Pearl Jam’s status as an artist can be a hard one to quantify. They entered the scene as one of the biggest bands in the world, and after a few years vanished from the mainstream audience radar, even though they continued, and still continue, to be an absolutely monolithic touring entity. Every fan knows the experience of talking to someone who goes, “Oh, they’re still around? I remember that one song they did…” before said person breaks into some ridiculous impression of the chorus from “Jeremy.” (Or maybe that was just me and a high school gym teacher, but I’ve got to imagine this is a semi-frequent phenomenon.) And even with them now falling outside of a lot of people’s attention spans, they’re still a quantifiably “big” band, between their ease at selling out arenas and the fact that their albums still move a respectable amount of copies (especially for a rock band in 2013, even if the numbers pale in comparison to their commercial peak twenty years ago). (Continue Reading…)

Billboard offers a straightforward profile:

Pearl Jam rose from the ashes of Mother Love Bone to become the most popular American rock & roll band of the ’90s. After Mother Love Bone’s vocalist, Andrew Wood, overdosed on heroin in 1990, guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament assembled a new band, bringing in Mike McCready on lead guitar and recording a demo with Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron on drums. Thanks to future Pearl Jam drummer Jack Irons, the demo found its way to a 25-year-old San Diego surfer named Eddie Vedder, who overdubbed vocals and original lyrics and was subsequently invited to join the band (then christened Mookie Blaylock after the NBA player). Dave Krusen was hired as the full-time drummer shortly thereafter, completing the original lineup. Renaming themselves Pearl Jam, 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. (Continue Reading…)

Both the band and Eddie Vedder as a solo act are playing outside the United States this summer. More information is at the Pearl Jam site.

(Home page photo: Paul Hudson)

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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