Pearl Jam lead singer and lyricist Eddie Vedder (1964-) celebrates his birthday today. Born Edward Louis Seversen III in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
"My birthday was on December 23rd, and the one time I used it to my advantage was to beg and plead to put the two presents together to afford the $100 guitar. And it worked," said Eddie about getting his first guitar, a "Les Paul copy guitar." The enigmatic Vedder joined Seattle's popular group in 1990.
A Chicago Bulls fan who does card tricks, the reclusive Vedder constantly struggles with the demands of fame. "You can't save someone from drowning if you're treading water yourself," he explained, treasuring his privacy. Often, he thumbs his nose at the press: "I don't care if my photo ever gets taken again."
His distinctive, powerful voice and good looks helped Pearl Jam (According to Rolling Stone, named for Vedder's great grandmother Pearl's famous homemade jam) explode to fame with the 1991 release of the album Ten, which featured Jeremy, a passionate anthem about youth and yearning.
"Eddie's like a coiled spring," described singer Neil Finn. "He's got a lot of energy, that man."
In 1993, the group took their ear-splitting music to Europe, opening for Neil Young and U2. The charismatic Vedder filled in for Jim Morrison at the Doors reunion at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies.
Pearl Jam's popularity continued to grow as Vedder appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Choosing to not let the bottom line control their evolution, the group battled Ticketmaster about surcharges and pricing, then the group refused to make videos and market themselves on TV.
Politics aside, the music endures like a big, big wave. MTV has described Pearl Jam's output as "an uneasy energy, combining the moodiness of Black Sabbath with loose proto-punk abandon."
With live shows that are as unpredictable as Phish or Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam was praised by rock journalist Dave Marsh as being "exciting, affirmative, joyous in particularly physical ways."
Make big, big waves.