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This was written from the perspective of a girl with a learning disability called dyslexia and her mother who doesn't understand the condition. Eddie Vedder explained in Pearl Jam - The Illustrated Story:
The child in that song obviously has a learning difficulty. And it's only in the last few years that they've actually been able to diagnose these learning disabilities that before were looked at as misbehavior, as just outright rebelliousness. But no one knew what it was. And these kids, because they seemed unable or reluctant to learn, they'd end up getting the s--t beaten outta them. The song ends, you know, with this idea of the shades going down so that the neighbors can't see what happens next. What hurts about s--t like that is that it ends up defining people's lives. They have to live with that abuse for the rest of their lives. Good, creative people are just f--king destroyed." (thanks, Snorkyller - Quebec City, QC)
The album was originally titled "Five Against One." The band changed their mind and decided to call it "Pearl Jam," then decided on "Vs." Some copies were already printed as "Pearl Jam" before they renamed it.
Bass player Jeff Ament took the photo that appears on the album cover. It shows a sheep gnawing through a wire fence, and represented trying to get out from a cage.
During the short instrumental break, Pearl Jam often extends the song by adding a short song or poem in live shows. (thanks, Elliot - St. Louis, MO)
This all-female group of country rockers were on their way to stardom in the '00s, with a Starbucks deal and major label backing.
Don breaks down "Hotel California" and other songs he wrote as a member of the Eagles. Now we know where the "warm smell of colitas" came from.
Steven Tyler of Aerosmith
Tyler talks about his true love: songwriting. How he identifies the beauty in a melody and turns sorrow into art.