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Pearl Jam ( Encode Feature)

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Though they was responsible for popularizing the Seattle sound and style known as "grunge," Pearl Jam proved to be more than a flash-in-the-pan by expanding on their initial solid, guitar-heavy Led Zeppelin-influenced songs and by making good use of charismatic Eddie Vedder's impassioned vocals. Leaping from obscurity to superstardom, the band sold more than 15 million copies of its first two albums. After a couple of years during which they got mired in high-profile controversies, Pearl Jam recovered and firmly established themselves as a durable band working in a classic-rock mode.

Pearl Jam's roots in the Seattle scene go deep: In the mid-'80s, Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard were members of the seminal Seattle band Green River, which split in 1987. Half the band formed Mudhoney, while Gossard and Ament joined singer Andrew Wood in Mother Love Bone. One of the earliest Seattle bands to sign with a major label, Mother Love Bone seemed on the verge of breaking big when Wood died of a heroin overdose in 1990. Mercury Records wanted Gossard and Ament (with Bruce Fairweather on guitar and drummer Greg Gilmore) to record with a new singer, but the band declined. (Gossard, Ament, McCready and Vedder, along with Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron, recorded Temple of the Dog [Number Five, 1992], a memorial to Wood, in 1990.)

Gossard and Ament, along with Seattle veteran Mike McCready, started work on a demo tape in late 1990. They asked former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons to join, giving him a copy of the tape. Irons was involved with his own band but passed the demo on to a singer he knew in San Diego, Eddie Vedder. Vedder immediately wrote lyrics to the songs and mailed back a tape that included his vocals; he was invited up to Seattle.

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