So you might find it hard to believe that the album wasn't an immediate success, and took nearly a year to reach the Top Ten of the Billboard charts. And thanks to the great musical talent (*gag*) of Billy Ray Cyrus, the album peaked at #2, unable to unseat Cyrus' Some Gave All from the top of the charts.
Prior to the eventual chart success of the Ten album, the band toured hard and quickly began to build a reputation as a must-see band in the live setting.
Pearl Jam played a couple of notable early Cleveland shows, including a 1991 show opening for Smashing Pumpkins and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in November at Music Hall. Earlier that same day, the band played a charity basketball game vs. local radio personalities that is still frequently part of conversation when local Pearl Jam fans talk about their favorite Pearl Jam memories.
Allegedly, the game was carried on local public television, which I don't remember hearing, but that would be a cool tape to see if someone has a copy!
I've talked to many that supposedly were in attendance for the Peabody's show, and then several others that produced their actual ticket stub proving their attendance.
My friend Matt had the coolest Pearl Jam mementos of all, hand written letters and an autographed setlist, all obtained from Eddie Vedder via postal correspondence in those early days.
As for me, I missed both shows - much like my recent Woodstock '94 tale, I can't give you a good reason why I missed them.
All of Pearl Jam's hard work finally paid off with the album's success, and Ten continued to sell so well, that it outsold its followup Vs. in 1993, notching sales that made Ten the eighth best selling album of 1993.
Ten got a lot of really good reviews, and also got at least one lukewarm review courtesy of Entertainment Weekly:
Like many of its Seattle cohorts, Pearl Jam also flail about in search of a groove and a song. Occasionally, as in the single ''Alive,'' they find both. More often, they lose themselves in a sound that only goes to show that just about anything can be harnessed and packaged.
My favorite Pearl Jam albums/tunes?
I will tell you that my buddy Matt (mentioned previously above,) helped me to see the light on No Code, which at the original time of release I was not a fan of.
Walking past his office on a daily basis, I would frequently hear him playing something that sounded really good. One particular morning, I stopped to ask him what that album was, and he informed me that it was in fact that No Code album that I disliked (and had made a point of telling him how much I didn't like it.)
These days, No Code is one of my favorite Pearl Jam albums. Some of my favorite tunes are on No Code, including "Smile," "Present Tense," and "Off He Goes."
Yeah, I like the moody stuff from Vedder.....but I also like the rockers too - "Once," "Animal," "Porch," and "Not For You" are high on my list.
Album-wise, I'm generally okay with most of the PJ catalog - Ten still ranks high on my list, but I probably listen to No Code the most, followed by the two most recent albums, Riot Act and Pearl Jam.
What about you?
Since we're talking about Ten, how about a really cool Ten-era live show recorded on March 4th, 1992 in Holland?
According to Vedder's comments from the stage, it's also the first Pearl Jam show that he played with a tattoo. There's a random historical fact for you all, I guess.
Ticket stub courtesy of Five Horizons
March 4, 1992
Tivoli: Utrecht, Holland
Pearl Jam's official site
Purchase Pearl Jam's Ten from Amazon - CD
Purchase Pearl Jam's rearviewmirror (greatest hits) - CD or MP3