Pearl Jam in 1992
Photo: Gie Knaeps/Getty Images
Pearl Jam's Perfect 'Ten': For The Record
When it comes to groundbreaking debut albums by rock bands, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, and Guns N' Roses immediately come to mind. Widening the field to the '90s — a decade currently ripe for nostalgia — Pearl Jam's Ten is in the conversation.
Released in August 1991, Ten is widely considered as one of the more influential albums of the Seattle grunge scene. However, unlike Nirvana's Nevermind, which hit big quickly, Pearl Jam's debut LP was a late bloomer for Eddie Vedder & Co., reaching No. 2 on the Billboard 200 more than a year after its release.
The album's gradual crescendo rode the wave of three hit singles — "Alive," "Even Flow" and "Jeremy" — with their accompanying videos garnered increased rotation on MTV. A fourth single, "Oceans," was released in December 1992.
As for Pearl Jam's sonic characteristics, the intense ensemble playing of drummer Dave Krusen, bassist Jeff Ament, and guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready perfectly meshed with Vedder's distinct baritone and impassioned lyrics, which tackled hard topics such as depression, homelessness and abuse.
This combustible mixture proved evident in songs such as "Jeremy," a jarring song written about a high school student who shot himself in front of his classmates, as well as deep tracks such as "Black," "Once" and the epic album closer, "Release."
The group would score one of the first accolades in the form of their first GRAMMY nomination for "Jeremy" for Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal at the 35th GRAMMY Awards.
Today, more than 25 years later, Pearl Jam's Ten sits north of 13 million copies in sales according to the RIAA, and it's standing in history as one of the most significant grunge albums of all time is "still alive."