- 🇺🇸 Seattle, WA
- Years Active
1989 - Now
Pearl Jam emerged from the alternative rock explosion of the early 1990s to become one of the most influential and enduring bands of its generation.
Pearl Jam formed in Seattle in 1990. Guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament first teamed in Green River, a little-heard but influential band whose raucous embrace of Seventies-era hard rock and post-hardcore punk set the stage for the grunge sound that emerged from the Emerald City during the late 1980s. While Green River's Mark Arm and Steve Turner reunited as grunge overlords Mudhoney, Gossard and Ament teamed in Malfunkshun with vocalist Andrew Wood; the group eventually morphed into the glam-inspired Mother Love Bone, whose major-label debut, Apple, appeared to critical acclaim in July 1990, four months after Wood died of a heroin overdose.
Gossard and Ament formed Pearl Jam (originally named Mookie Blaylock after the cult-favorite NBA player) with guitarist Mike McCready, drummer Dave Krusen and vocalist Eddie Vedder, formerly of San Diego band Bad Radio. Per Pearl Jam legend, Vedder wrote the lyrics for the songs "Alive" and "Once" while surfing; both appeared on the group's debut album, 1991's Ten, which also featured the hit singles "Even Flow" and "Jeremy." Ten made Pearl Jam superstars, building an intense fandom thanks to Vedder's powerful vocals and introspective lyrics as well as a radio-ready sound bridging the gap between grunge and classic rock.
Pearl Jam's second LP, 1993's Vs., was the fastest-selling album in history at the time and spawned hits like "Daughter" and "Animal." While subsequent efforts like Vitalogy and No Code loosened the band's grip on radio dominance, its energetic and passionate live performances continued to convert new fans for decades to follow. Pearl Jam also gained renown for its opposition to corporate influence in the music industry, waging a legal battle against live events giant Ticketmaster challenging the organization's monopoly over ticket sales.