Pearl Jam Celebrate Yield’s 20th Anniversary, Watch Incredible Tribute Video

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Today is the 20th anniversary of Pearl Jam’s fifth album Yield. The band are airing a 20th anniversary celebration on Pearl Jam Radio today, it will be replayed tomorrow as well. A few days ago they rebroadcast the Monkeywrench Radio broadcast that took place around the time Yield came out. The album was released just a year or so after the Grunge era had come to a close, with Alice In Chains falling apart after a very short run of 1996 live performances, Soundgarden breaking up in 1997, and Stone Temple Pilots going on hiatus in 1997.

While No Code was a classic, it was a very experimental album and Yield reestablished Pearl Jam as an arena rock heavyweight. The Yield tour was Pearl Jam’s most extensive in years, and laid the groundwork for the legendary live act the band has become in the last 20 years.

“Given to Fly” is a pillar of the album and has become one of Pearl Jam’s most beloved songs. Guitarist Mike McCready explained to Alternative Nation a couple of years ago how he came up with the music to the track.

“With ‘Given to Fly’ it was kind of an easy process. I came up with the whole idea, and I just worked on it on a snow day, when it actually snowed in Seattle back then in [1997 or 1998]. I think I worked up a demo of it, and then brought it into the band, and we just kind of kicked it around, and Ed seemed inspired by it. He would start singing melodies, and ideas and words. There wasn’t really any structure per se, from what I recall vocally, other than some melodies when we first were working on it. And then he, as he will do, will take it in the back room and bring his typewriter out, and start typing on his old school typewriter, and coming up with some lyrics. This may have happened over the couple of days after I had brought it in. He comes back, and starts singing, and it’s like oh my god, this is amazing.

With Ed, when he gets inspired, he does it 100%, and he goes in and he takes his time with it too. It could have taken longer than a couple of days, but when the first early demos of it were done, it was very exciting. It’s a situation where a song gets better because [now that] there are lyrics to it, and your band have made it better. Jeff [Ament]’s playing a bass a certain way, or Stone [Gossard]’s bringing in a little melody that I would never think of, or at that time Jack Irons was bringing kind of a groovy drum beat shuffly thing that I wouldn’t have thought of.”

PearlJamOnline have put together a beautiful tribute video to 20 years of Yield featuring “Given to Fly.” Watch below!

  • Corndog

    I wonder if Mike was listening to Led Zeppelin on that snowy day…

    • Stone Gossardish

      When you hear him play it on the acoustic he wrote it, not as much. It’s pretty cool though.

      I think the Foo’s La Dee Dah is closer to Crawl than GTF is to the Zeppelin classic.

      Any day now already we should get the Katrina concert CD of the legendary Plant-Pearl Jam effort too, but it’s been like 10 years now.

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    • Trovoid

      He must’ve been. Whenever it snows I think about Going to California..

      I know how you feel about Eddie’s deteriorating voice so what did you think of that Given to Fly performance? That was rough, he sounded like he was really struggling..

      • Corndog

        Yeah man it was a terrible performance, but the really scary thing is that’s what passes for a halfway decent performance from Eddie these days. I watch a lot of live PJ on YouTube and bad as he sounds here, he can actually sound a lot worse. It’s sad really. How the mighty have fallen.

        • Breath and a Scream

          I have been listening to a lot of shows from 1992 and what a difference! I don’t know why he didn’t take care of his voice.

          • Corndog

            Yes 1992 is sort of the golden year for PJ concerts. The early stuff that can be found on YT is just amazing. Eddie is like a force of nature. He was just so powerful and amazing. Not the fragile shell of his voice that we hear now. It’s hard to accept that it is the same band that we see today.

            I’ve been a fan right from the beginning but i never got to see them back then as they only came to my country in 2010, and back in those early days i was too young to even think about travelling to another country to see them.

          • Breath and a Scream

            I saw them in 1991 but I don’t even remember it. Someone with his voice should never have started smoking and the drinking doesn’t help either. I wonder sometimes if he doesn’t sing like that on purpose anymore, maybe the growl hurt his throat too much. I don’t know. I am glad the old stuff is easy to find to remember what was. Best voice ever!

          • Corndog

            1991??? Damn! I’m so jealous:)

            Yes the smoking and the drinking really don’t help at all. You watch some of the shows on YouTube and he is throwing 2-3 bottles of wine down his neck every time. I don’t care who you are, once you start to get tipsy you just can’t carry a tune in the same way that you did when you’re sober.

            I actually recall reading an interview somewhere years ago (i think it would have been around the Binaural era, perhaps a little before that) where he said that back during the early days he was putting a voice on, trying to sing in a particular manner but now he was going to try and just sound like himself. No harm to the guy, and i’m saying this as someone who absolutely loves his voice, if this is what ‘himself’ sounds like, then i’d much rather he start putting on the old voice again.

            He could sound so much better if he just dropped some of the weird habits that he has developed over the years. Like adding extra syllables into every damn wo-rd tha-at he-ee si-ings. That is really annoying. Or the way that he trails off pulling away from the mic instead of tying to hit a note, or that way that he comes in late and then tries to cram all the words in quickly to catch up with the music, or the way that he adds ‘H’ into words all over the place for some unknown reason, his general poor timing and either inability or unwillingness to sing the song to the correct rhythm that he did when it was recorded. There are more things like this, but you get the idea. This really pisses me off because i think that if he just stopped doing these things he could at least sound half decent. He’ll never sound like he did 27 years ago, but he could sound ok if he’d just stop half assing it and try a little harder. Not being pished off his tits when he performed would help too!

          • Trovoid

            Yeah he said those first three records or so that he didn’t really know how to sing properly. I find that amusing considering the fact that his legacy heavily lies within those albums.

          • Corndog

            It is weird that he would say that, absolutely. He sounded better on the holy trinity than he ever has since.

            I agree, there is nothing wrong with singing with a ‘fake’ voice if it sounds good. Just look at opera singers. Obviously that is not how their voices sound in normal day to day life. They make their voice fit the music that they are singing and i have no issues with a rock vocalist doing the same thing.

            Yes by No Code and Yield you could definitely tell that there was a distinct change taking place, but the difference is there i still got the feeling that he could sing like he used to (for the most part) if he had only wanted to, but by Binaural i felt like the old voice was gone whether he liked it or not. It still saddens me. I would literally give my left nut if it meant he could sing like he used too when he recorded the first 3 albums.

          • Breath and a Scream

            lol holy trinity!!

          • Corndog

            I’ve been calling the first three albums that for years:)

          • Breath and a Scream

            I’m stealing that!

          • Corndog

            Have at it my friend:)

          • Breath and a Scream

            So if it isnt truly his singing voice and he can put the voice on when he wants to, I would like to hear it every once in a while! Especially on the songs on Ten.
            I cringe when I hear the extra syllables, I’m glad I’m not the only one who notices that. He started doing that in the early 2000’s but thankfully he doesnt do it as much anymore. I wonder though, if he had used his “real” voice on Ten, would it have been as popular as it was? (I think it would still have been popular, the music and lyrics were phenomenal.) And would we like his voice, since we would have nothing to compare it to? I think the weird habits he has picked up over the years are the worst things about it, cuz I do believe he can actually sing.

          • Corndog

            I think that Ten would likely still have been successful, but his voice was the main draw for a lot of people; myself included, so I don’t think they would have been anywhere near as big as they ended up without that trademark roar.

            What the hell is the deal with the extra syllables thing? Surely he can’t think that sounds good? Really gets on my nerves and takes me right out of the song. I do believe he would sound considerably better if he’d stop doing that and all the other stupid shit I mentioned.

        • Trovoid

          It’s very unfortunate because he could’ve preserved his voice. Ann Wilson is 67 and she can still belt out the highest notes in her vocal range. Maybe there’s still hope, Cornell got some of his range back before he died. He was sounding atrocious in the Audioslave years. Then again Chris quit drinking and smoking and it took him a lot of work. Come on Eddie!

          • Corndog

            I really hope that’s the case, but i doubt it. He strikes me as the sort of person that would be set in their ways and i can’t see him changing now.

            I often wonder if he is even aware of the issues with his voice? He’d have to be, right? Or does he kid himself that he can still sing like he did 20 years ago? I also wonder if anyone in the band would have the balls to tell him that he sounds like shit now, and ask him to sort it out?

          • Trovoid

            I think denial is a strong thing. I’ll use Chris as another example. Although he got a lot of his range back, it was nothing like it used to be. Everyone around him was saying that he could hit all the same notes as when he was younger. This was true in a sense but I noticed live they were putting all of this delay on his vocals to make up for the lack of power.

            I think the same goes with Eddie. Most people are enamored by the fact that they’re playing these 3 hour long shows and digging through their large musical catalog. They don’t want to think about what we’re thinking about. I’m sure Eddie knows it in the back of his mind but he strikes me as a guy who is always looking forward, and doesn’t place too much focus on what used to be. I’m sure most people are afraid to say anything to the lead singer (who in ways has the toughest job). I mean, if they think Matt Cameron is a good match then they are probably in denial of Eddie’s voice.

            Nostalgia definitely makes people disregard facts. This is why bands that are old as hell can outsell younger and more energetic bands. The memories associated with the music are a powerful thing.

          • Corndog

            I think it’s fair to say that in general Cornell took much better care of his voice and was a lot closer to how he sounded 25 years ago than Eddie is. I don’t think that Eddie is even 50% of what he once was. Even his lyrics, while still really good, are no comparison to his early stuff. I did like that Twin Peaks song although i was thinking how good it would have sounded with Eddies old voice the whole time i was listening to it:)

            3 hour shows are great, but it’s hard to hear your favourite singer murdering his own songs for that long. I’d like to hope that he knows somewhere in the back of his mind, but if that is the case then why wouldn’t he try to do something about it? There is bound to be something that he can do, speak with vocal coach, do some exercises or whatever just to try and regain some control over his voice. If he is going to do something, then he needs to do it real soon as his voice is deteriorating at an alarming rate. Yes perhaps the other guys are in denial, or maybe they just don’t care so long as the audience keeps showing up regardless. Agree about Cameron. I know he’s their long time friend, but i don’t know what they were thinking there. His drumming is so lifeless and robotic. He ruins the old songs when they play them live.

            I’ve seen firsthand what you mean about nostalgia when talking to people online about PJ. People who will claim that Eddie’s voice sounds better now than it ever did. I mean, i don’t even think that is a subjective thing. He clearly can’t sing as well as he used to. I guess they must not be watching the same concerts that i am. I love the guy but i refuse to be in denial about his voice. There has definitely been a marked change for the worse over the years and if he doesn’t do something soon he is going to have to hang it up as he’s already getting pretty hard to listen to as it is. I really miss his voice. Corny as it sounds, that voice got me through some shit when i was younger. Music was always a real crutch for me.

          • Breath and a Scream

            Eddie’s wife seems really cool and I am glad that he is happy but he definitely wrote better stuff when he was with Beth in a not so great relationship.

            I cringe when they play Alive now, which is my favorite song ever, cuz Matt butchers it. I also think Boom has to go, at least on the older stuff because there was no organ on those songs and it sounds terrible. I feel like I am at church or a baseball game, totally takes me out of the music.

            That voice got me through some shit, too. Still does.

          • Corndog

            Yes she does seem quite nice from what little i have seen of her. She looks really young for him though. There are times that she almost looks young enough to be his daughter. I know what you mean about him writing better stuff when he was less happy. I’ve said myself a few times that i think he wrote better music when he was a bit more miserable:)

            I cringe when Matt plays anything live. He’s like a robot on speed. Always seems like he is in a hurry to finish up. There is no soul in his playing at all. I think he is the worst drummer they have ever had. I miss Dave A. That dude was awesome! I’m not that fussed about Boom to be honest. I don’t really hear him that much, but i can understand how it would annoy you if you’re hearing him clearly.

          • Breath and a Scream

            She is actually 40, so maybe a little young but not bad.
            Dave A. was definitely the best and I think Eddie (and the others) know how much of a fan favorite he is, which is why Eddie is always tooting Matt’s horn every chance he gets. Mike, Jeff and Stone are much better musicians than Matt yet Eddie rarely sings their praises.

          • Corndog

            She looks good for 40. She must have looked after herself over the years. I turn 40 next month and it’s freaking me out. Despite that, i’m clearly a big man-child because i couldn’t help but giggle when i read ‘Eddie is always tooting Matt’s horn’ 🙂 He really does though, almost like he’s overcompensating.

            Totally agree that the other guys are better musicians. It’s hard to forgive Matt for Evacuation. God that song is awful. One of the top 3 worst songs they have ever done. Right up there with Sweet Lew. I’m not a fan of Soundgarden but i’m told that he is apparently awesome in that band, but i can only judge him from what i hear in PJ, and in PJ, he stinks. Really ruins the sound of the songs, particularly the older ones, when they play live. I haven’t listened to Temple of The Dog in ages. Was he any better there than he is in PJ?

          • Breath and a Scream

            Yes, overcompensating! Thats a good way to put it. And there is no excuse for Evacuation. None. That and Johnny Guitar. He doesn’t bother me in TotD or Soundgarden, but Im not obsessed about them like I am PJ. If he played the songs the way they were recorded probably no one would really mind him.

            Btw, 40 won’t look so bad when you start nearing 50!!

          • Trovoid

            I felt the same way about Chris Cornell. He wrote much better music when he was with Susan Silver. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or not but both Eddie and Chris had divorces in the early 2000s and their lyrics and music changed drastically.

          • Breath and a Scream

            Funny, seems Chris would have been happier with Susan than Vicky!

          • Trovoid

            Well at least we’re being honest with ourselves. I feel like Eddie’s priorities have changed. It seems like PJ shows have become a celebration of sorts. Eddie is focused on being a husband and father, his love of sports, politics and his large group of famous friends. Maybe he’s done permanent vocal damage but still wants to perform? He has toured relentlessly and probably didn’t always sing properly. A lot of musicians lose their edge after they find success and age. Eddie had a lot to prove back in the day and I’m sure that fueled his vocal mannerisms and crazy stage antics. Bands just don’t want to give up performing because of the adrenaline rush. It really becomes an addiction.

            I hear you. Discovering Pearl Jam as a kid changed my life. I remember listening to them on the school bus every single day. I didn’t have many friends and their music was a huge comfort to me. It seems like no vocalists these days have the “hunger” and passion that someone like Eddie does. Nobody seems to be putting that sort of emotion in their vocal performances.

          • Breath and a Scream

            “I mean, if they think Matt Cameron is a good match then they are probably in denial of Eddie’s voice.” This sentence literally made me laugh out loud and couldn’t be more true!

          • Trovoid

            I love Matt but come on! He can’t fully express himself in Pearl Jam. I think he’s gotten even better over the years, his drumming on King Animal blew me away.

          • Breath and a Scream

            The funny thing is Matt played on those early PJ demos, so its not like he doesn’t know how the songs used to be played!

          • Trovoid

            Oh I know and it’s funny because he sounds so good on the Temple of the Dog album too. I think his internal clock has sped up over the years. Also, he’s a very musical drummer (not the kind to just provide the backbeat). He needs an outlet for his jazz and prog tendencies.

          • Breath and a Scream

            Then he should focus on a side project and quit trying to put his spin on the old songs lol.