Pearl Jam Vs. Turns 25 Today!

Pearl Jam's Vs. turns 25 today. The second album from the Seattle band was another huge success when it was released on October 19th, 1993, and set the path for many aspects of their career that still stand true a quarter of a century later. 

Here's some facts to know if you celebrate the anniversary today.

Vs. was the first Pearl Jam album to be produced by Brendan O'Brien, who's gone on to produce six of their albums. It was also the band's first album with drummer Dave Abbruzzese. He had joined after the recording of Ten.

Vs. debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 album chart and stayed there for five weeks, which is the longest a Pearl Jam album has stayed at number-one. The 950,378 copies set a Soundscan record for the most copies of an album sold in its first week of release, a record it held for five years before it was broken by country star Garth Brooks. It's gone on to be certified seven-times platinum, and is their biggest seller behind Ten.

There were four commercially released singles from Vs.: "Go, " "Daughter," "Animal" and "Dissident." Most of the B-sides were live tracks, and there were three versions of the "Dissident" single that contained almost an entire show recorded in Atlanta on April 3rd, 1994.

"Daughter" was the band's first song to top the Billboard rock and alternative charts.

Vs. was the start of the band pulling back on press and TV appearances, especially after Time magazine put a picture of Eddie Vedder on its cover with the headline "All the Rage." They decided to not do any music videos, a stance they stayed with until 1998.

They did play a one high-profile event around the album -- they performed on the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards six weeks before the album's release. They did "Animal" and were joined by Neil Young for a version of "Rockin' in the Free World."

Eddie Vedder and Jeff Ament also appeared on the syndicated radio call-in show Rockline the night before the album was released (or, if you were at a midnight sale on the East Coast, when you could finally buy the album). They performed "Bee Girl," inspired by the video for "No Rain" by Blind Melon, which ended up being one of the band's most bootlegged songs until it was officially released on the rarities collection Lost Dogs in 2003. Vedder gave out his home number at the very end of the broadcast, saying fans could call him if they hadn't gotten through that night.

The album was almost called Five Against One from the lyrics of "Animal." The band changed the title very late in the process, which meant that first pressings of the CD didn't have the title anywhere on the artwork, only on a sticker on the plastic covering the disc case. The vinyl release has never had the title and some early cassettes still had Five Against One on the tape casing.

The band has kept three songs from Vs. in its sets consistently over the years -- "Daughter," "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" and "Animal." On April 16th, 2016 they played the entire album in its entirety for the first and so far only time.

"Daughter" is the song Pearl Jam has played most often from Vs., and over the years the band has tagged the end of it with a wide range of covers, including "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" by Pink Floyd, "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" by Neil Young, "It's Okay" by Dead Moon, "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones and "With My Own Two Hands" by Ben Harper.

Mike Bell

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