Pearl Jam’s debut album, “Ten” (1991), undoubtedly made history in Rock music.
Except for a lot of money and fame for the band, obviously!
Almost every song on the album hides a story behind it…
Each of them was crowded for a long time and almost ready to be met by a talkative audience.
Although the mere mention of some of them brings to mind their melody, they did not all start with the same title.
“E Ballad” or more correctly… Black!
Among them is “Black”…
The song started the journey initially as a melody written by the band guitarist Stone Gossard.
The first name in its original form, written in 1990, was “E Ballad”.
Its first recording was for “Stone Gossard Demos ’91” when the guitarist was still looking for a singer and drummer for the band.
Somehow the tape reached the hands of Eddie Vedder, who was then working at a gas station in San Diego.
He recorded the vocals for 3 demo songs, “Alive”, “Once” and “Footsteps” and sent them to his future collaborator.
As soon as they heard the tape, the other members of Pearl Jam invited Vedder to come to Seattle.
The lyrics are also written by the singer on the street and the name is changed to “Black”.
Vedder himself admitted that the lyrics, as well as the way he interprets it, are a clear copy of the American Music Club.
A band he has been a fan of for years.
When he presented the song to the others, he was surprised that no one took it for granted that it was a copy of his favorite band.
His surprise grew even greater when he realized that none of them even knew them.
The lyrics of “Western Sky”, of the American Music Club, maybe close to those of Vedder, but you can hardly say it is plagiarism.
The lyrical part is an, almost theatrical, monologue of a man about his first relationship and how it broke his heart.
Although “Black” is not their most commercial song, it is the most recognizable.
Rolling Stone magazine ranks it No. 9 on the list of the best ballads of all time.