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(Credit: Ana Viotti)


The first track Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder remembers hearing


Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder is a figurehead in the grunge scene, but his introduction to music couldn’t have been further away from the genre he’s called home for the last 30 years.

For the early part of Vedder’s life, he grew up in the bustling city of San Diego, and during these formative years, his household was bursting at the seams with his parents fostering several children. However, they later divorced, and Vedder had no option but to spend a lot of time in his own head with nobody else around for company.

Music was a saving grace for the future Pearl Jam frontman and provided the singer with a source of connection when he needed it most. In his later teenage years, it became increasingly important, and in his early life, it was merely background noise. “When I was around 15 or 16… I was all alone—except for music,” he once quipped.

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Around that same time, Vedder fell in love with rock bands such as The Who, a moment that would change his life forever. From this moment on, he began to form a deep relationship with records. Before the English group stormed into his life, it was The Jackson 5 who Vedder felt passionate about, and their music remains precious to him today.

“The stuff that got put in my blender, it started maybe, like, Jackson 5 when I was a kid and then [The] Beatles… growing up, and then The Who took over big time,” Vedder explained to Bruce Springsteen.

He then began gaining an interest in acts such as Split Ends, Fugazi, Talking Heads and Sonic Youth. “And I guess after you put all that in [the blender], then you just hit, hit pulse,” Vedder explained.

Despite everything else that has marauded its way into his life over the years, Vedder still holds extremely fond feelings towards The Jackson 5, particularly their appropriately titled Third Album. “This is the first real memory I have of any music that stayed with me,” he once told Discogs. “I was living on the wrong side of the tracks in Evanston, Illinois, in a home for boys. We had these Jackson 5 records. I really related to their voices – they were about my age, but they were doing it. It was like, ‘Get up girl, sit down. I’ll show you what I can do!’ And you would do it. Whatever you say, Michael.”

Listen below to the album that kickstarted Eddie Vedder’s obsession with music.