This is the closing track from Halycon Digest, the fourth studio album by American indie rock band Deerhunter. Vocalist Bradford Cox stated, "The album's title is a reference to a collection of fond memories and even invented ones, like my friendship with Ricky Wilson or the fact that I live in an abandoned Victorian autoharp factory. The way that we write and rewrite and edit our memories to be a digest version of what we want to remember, and how that's kind of sad."
Cox recorded this song separately at Notown Sound in Marietta, Georgia. It is a tribute to his late friend, the American garage rock musician Jay Reatard.
Eddie Vedder often changes the words when he sings "Yellow Ledbetter." The basic story is about a guy whose brother dies in the first Gulf War. Apparently, bad news in the army is given in yellow envelopes.
The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."