2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 1 PICK 10- RUN-SEW-READ SELECTS- ‘BETTER MAN’- PEARL JAM
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Better Man – Pearl Jam
Lyrics by Eddie Vedder
Released November 1994, reached US Billboard Mainstream #1 on 1-6-1995
I’m looking forward to seeing all of the picks in this song draft, and coming up with my own picks. Choosing 10 songs from a multitude of great ones is quite a task, as other participants before me have expressed. My personal Top 10 won’t be released in any particular order. They are all my faves. With that, here is my first song pick.
Family Conversation on Facebook back in 2013:
ME : Here are some pictures from seeing Pearl Jam last night in OKC. It was an awesome show, even though they didn’t play the song I most wanted to hear – Better Man.
NEPHEW : I’m so jealous. Pearl Jam was a huge part of my teenage soundtrack.
MY MIDDLE BROTHER : Pearl Jam is great. I went to their free concert in Lawrence in 1992. They booked it before they were really famous; then their fame exploded and they could have cancelled, but instead they insisted on honoring this gig.
NEPHEW : Oh man, I didn’t know I could be this jealous.
MY YOUNGEST BROTHER (a carpenter): When I lived in the Seattle area, we did some work on Eddie Vedder’s place. He’s a really cool guy.
NEPHEW : Ughhh. [nearly dies of jealousy]
We haven’t really talked about it much since then, but clearly we are a family of Pearl Jam fans.
The lyrics in Better Man reach me first, and then I get totally sucked in as the music builds. Then it ends and I want to start the song over again.
I think this is my favorite performance of the song on Youtube. Get set with your air drums, then click Play. https://youtu.be/6kV8g2av2nQ
Here is the studio version. https://youtu.be/27ztFtLKvuQ
According to internet sources, Vedder wrote the song when he was a high school teenager, sitting in his room on his bed. This puts Better Man in the same league with other iconic yearning, haunting songs written by an artist in his/her teens. (Other examples: Lucky Man by Greg Lake, Nights in White Satin by Justin Hayward, I’ll Follow the Sun by Paul McCartney, The Man With the Child in His Eyes by Kate Bush.) Vedder has said the song is about his mother and her man when Vedder was growing up. Years later when Pearl Jam recorded it, the song was not released as a single, but yet achieved the Billboard #1 spot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Better_Man_(Pearl_Jam_song)
That free concert in Lawrence, KS in 1992: https://youtu.be/bTxOc2ynrDk
It’s truly one of the greats
a great song which has always been among my favorites by them. Well, not seeing them play it will just give you a good reason to go back next time they play your area!
Thanks, and yes, I will try again to see them perform Better Man in person. 🙂
Good tune. I also like those other similar ones you noted at the bottom of your take.
I don’t know all of their music but this one I do…what a history to that song and it’s a wonder it got recorded…I laughed about when the producer said it was a hit and got a groan out of Eddie… Great pick.
Thanks! Yes, the history sort of made me think it was something more than a run-of-the-mill hit. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall during that conversation between Eddie and the producer.
That was early on but yea…just because it could be a hit…doesn’t mean it has to be bad lol.
What a complete enigma these guys are. I loved their first album Ten and remember the fury of fans trying to figure out WTF Vedder was singing about in Yellow Ledbetter.
Sadly, after Ten, I lost interest in the group. Vedder still has a hell of a voice.
Yes, to the voice! I was slower to acquire a taste for their music, but I too prefer their early songs, and even those are very hit-and-miss with me. This one and a few others are extraordinary to me.
I hear ya’.
I like Vedder a lot – I think Pearl Jam improved around Vitalogy when he took over. His first solo album, the songs from Into the Wild, is really good too.
This is one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs too. I’ve never seen them perform live, but based on videos I’ve seen, Eddie and his band are electrifying on stage, even when performing a slow song. Nice pick!
Thanks! I’ve only seen them the one time, and yes electrifying, even the songs I wasn’t familiar with or hadn’t ever warmed to. By 2013, they could have skated by with a lot less effort, but instead they worked at making it a memorable show.
So much to say about this, Diana. First: GOOD CHOICE. You may or may not know what a PJ fan I am but you can expect to see at least one of their songs chosen by me in the draft. Second: Eddie Vedder is God-like in looks, talent, and social activism (maybe in that order maybe not.) Third: there is no third. Great write-up and really enjoyed reading about how your fam is a Jamily 🙂
Thanks! And I will certainly look forward to your PJ song pick and write up. I agree about EV. Not to mention, he and the band went to war vs. Ticketmaster. Everyone who tries to hold that organization to account is on a little higher pedestal in my view. ‘Jamily’, I love it!
You’re welcome, Diana. I didn’t make “Jamily” up it is what the super hardcore fans call themselves. You probably already know this but at the PJ website, it has a running list of all of the songs they’ve ever performed, the number of times performed, when first played and when last played, and also includes all of the covers they do. I’ve used this list forever and find it so handy:
Honestly, I never look at their website and didn’t know that’s what the fans call themselves. That’s an awesome name; perfect. I used to follow the band on Google+ (remember that? 😀 ) But haven’t since that went away. Thanks for the songs link!
Cool, and you are welcome. Not sure I ever used Google+ but I know Google always seems to worm its way into things.
It was supposed to compete with Facebook, but never really caught on so they shut it down.
p.s. Great top image!
I think the image is great too, and it didn’t come from me. Hans gets the credit.
Good job of picking image, Hans!
I know is we’re on to round 2 but wanted to say great choice! I have never really gotten into PJ but they’re one of those bands that Ive felt I should go back and check out their back catalogue. I also respect their integrity – the TM thing was a losing battle but they wanted to make a point.
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