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The powerful advice Neil Young gave to Eddie Vedder

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Neil Young is a fountain of knowledge and is more than willing to share what he’s discovered with those in his profession. Young has been in the music business since the 1960s, seen its beauty along with its darkness, and once offered a stark warning to Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.

Young took Vedder under his wing after they shared the bill at various benefit concerts during the 1990s and, as a result, stoked up a friendship. Presumably, the ‘Godfather of Grunge’ saw himself within the young upstart, and Vedder was willing to hang on to every last word of the Canadian.

He liked what he saw from the Seattle group and didn’t want them to accidentally slip down the wrong path. Young had seen groups in a similar position squander everything, which he desperately wanted Pearl Jam to avoid. “He took our whole band under his wing, I guess it was right around that second record,” Vedder once explained to Howard Stern.

Adding: “Then we ended up getting closer and closer over the years. It started by playing Bridge School, the first time, I think, was ’92.”

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He continued: “And then he really tapped into the energy of our group, so much so that after we did a certain benefit. I think he went into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. I think he played with Crazy Horse on that. And then we did a DC benefit together.”

Following the benefit shows, the two musicians stayed in contact, and Vedder was even invited to Young’s ranch. It was here that he had a quiet word with Vedder about his career decisions and, in no uncertain terms, advised the singer from making a solo record.

“I do remember one time we were at the ranch, at his place, and we took a walk,” Vedder said. “It’s kind of that famous fence line. Smoking a joint, we sat down near this little pond. This was right before the second [album, Vs.], somewhere in that time.”

He continued: “He said, ‘Hey, just so you know, there might be some people that’ll try to pull you away from this group but you guys, the sum is greater than the parts. Remember that. I’m sure that’s probably already happened to you. I thought no, I’m good with these guys. Actually, no, no one’s singled me out yet.”

Vedder eventually went solo in 2007, but it has always been a side project, and Pearl Jam has remained his main focus. Although the singer had no plans to leave the group when Young spoke to him at the ranch, if he had gone solo in the early ’90s, it could have had disastrous repercussions, and, likely, Pearl Jam wouldn’t be where they are today.

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