I was all of five years old when a few long haired Seattleites sent a cassette tape to a San Diegan surfer, at the suggestion of drummer friend Jack Irons. According to the fantastic Pearl Jam fansite Two Feet Thick, today is the 20th anniversary of that fateful day. The day when Eddie Vedder received a cassette tape in the mail, went surfing in a sleep deprived state, and came up with the tragically beautiful lyrics to the three instrumental demos that he’d heard.
When the tape left Seattle, the songs were called Dollar Short, Agytian Crave, and Times Of Trouble. When it returned, with the words “for Stone + Jeff” scribbled on it, the re-dubbed tape now had the tracks we know as Alive, Once, and Footsteps.
Eddie didn’t make it to Seattle for another few weeks. The jam sessions that would lead to Ten hadn’t happened yet. And October 22nd, the band’s first show, was more than a month away. But twenty years ago today, the first three Pearl Jam songs were born. The Trilogy. The Momma-Son demo. And while we wouldn’t know the truth about these songs and their connection for almost two more years (when Eddie explained their origin at a show in Zurich), on September 14th 1990, the music of Pearl Jam was first brought into this world.
So here, in their cassette-dubbed glory are those three songs. The songs that started it all.
… and for good measure, here’s the songs from that Zurich show, where Eddie explained what it all means. Enjoy!