My family don’t read my blog. Never have, never will. So, if I happen to die, I need you to do me one favour:
Tell them to play Alive by Pearl Jam at my funeral.
Honestly, I don’t have many last wishes. Like Danny Devito’s Frank from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, when I’m gone, you can throw me in the trash for all I care.
Just please, please let me hear the closest thing to musical perfection one last time before I go.
Have I Got a Little Story For You
The first time I heard Pearl Jam, it wasn’t Alive, but Jeremy that got my attention. The song received regular rotation on the UK’s MTV2, the same channel that introduced me to Slayer’s Seasons in the Abyss video.
By a strange coincidence, the first time I saw Pearl Jam live was at the same Leeds Festival 2006 where I first saw Slayer, but more about that later.
Although I enjoyed Jeremy, it wasn’t the sort of song that really grabbed me.
I’ve always said that good music is the kind of music that stops you dead in your tracks. The kind of music that sinks deep into your veins, penetrates your very soul and demands that you experience some emotion -any emotion- fully and without distraction.
Jeremy, as decent as it was, did not that do that for me.
Alive, however, that didn’t just do it for me, it did it for me like no other song had before.
What You Thought Was Your Daddy Was Nothing But A…
I was first introduced to this Pearl Jam staple by the same two friends who introduced me to Alice in Chains.
One of the two had the same obsession with mastering Eddie Veder’s vocal style as I had in perfecting Mike Starr’s bass from AIC’s Would?.
So I got hear not just Alive, but the whole of Pearl Jam’s landmark debut, Ten, many times.
I heard it that much that it became a little obsession of my own, and to this day, Ten is still my favourite album of all time.
While You Were Sittin, Home Alone at Age 13, Your Real Daddy Was Dying
A huge part of the reason for my unwavering love of Pearl Jam’s Ten album is down to Alive.
Like I say, I believe that the best music grabs you, sweeps you up in a cyclone of emotion and changes you.
Alive did that more powerfully than any song I’d ever heard, so much so that there would be times I’d find myself crying as I listened.
One of those times was at Leeds Festival 2006. I was stood there, surrounded by thousands of PJ fans, my then-fiance (now my ex-wife) beside me, just absolutely lost in the moment.
It was such a powerful experience that all those thousands of fans disappeared, my fiance disappeared. It was just me and Pearl Jam, and in the middle of several thousand people, I sobbed.
Hell, I can feel the emotion building up within me just as I reflect on that moment.
I’m Still Alive
Alive is one of those life-changing songs not because it triggered any specific event, but because it taught me about the power of music itself.
Ignoring the verses, when that chorus kicks in, when Eddie Vedder starts singing “I’m Still Alive,” and when that mind-blowing solo enters to take us home, it’s one of the few that times that I ever feel fully present in the moment and, yes, one of the few times that I feel truly, fully, and undoubtedly alive.
Alive by Pearl Jam is the 30th song on my list of 52 songs that changed my life. Other entries in this list are below:
- Michael Jackson – Bad
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- Queen – The Hitman
- R.E.M – Drive
- Pink Floyd – The Wall
- The Eagles – Take it Easy
- Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes is Back
- Coal Chamber – Loco
- Type O Negative – Everything Dies
- Monster Magnet – Space Lord
- Live – The Dolphin’s Cry
- Metallica – The Memory Remains
- The Prodigy – Poison
- Nirvana – Territorial Pissings
- Iron Maiden – The Angel & The Gambler
- Metallica – Creeping Death
- Pantera – Cowboys From Hell
- System of a Down – Sugar
- Guns ‘n’ Roses – Garden of Eden
- Guns ‘n’ Roses – Mr. Brownstone
- Metallica – King Nothing
- The Cranberries – Zombie
- The Offspring – The Meaning of Life
- Muse – New Born
- Biohazard – Resist
- Rage Against The Machine – Testify
- Soil – Halo
- Slayer – Seasons in the Abyss
- Alice in Chains – Would?