How Eddie Vedder Almost Gave Away One of Pearl Jam’s Biggest Songs

When Pearl Jam was working on demos for their Vs album, producer Brendan O’Brien was especially enthusiastic about a song called “Better Man.”  He thought it was a surefire hit.  But the band didn’t see it that way. 

In fact, Eddie Vedder—he wrote the song—didn’t want to record it at all.  Instead, he wanted to give it to Greenpeace so they could use it on an upcoming charity album.  He already had the idea that the Pretenders were going to do it with Chrissie Hynde singing it on her own. 

So O’Brien did was he was told.  He did the session with the Pretenders—but he kinda sabotaged it.  The song didn’t work and the Pretenders decided not to use it. 

“Better Man” went back to Pearl Jam and—well, it kinda worked out well, didn’t it?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “How Eddie Vedder Almost Gave Away One of Pearl Jam’s Biggest Songs

  • January 18, 2012 at 4:20 am

    Fun Fact: Eddie Vedder wrote that song long before Pearl Jam. There is footage on YouTube of Eddie performing "Better Man" with his previous band Bad Radio.


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