This post was originally published August 27, 2016. Dates have been updated to represent the year 2018. 

Over the past 27 years, Pearl Jam has released 10 studio albums, eight live albums and countless official bootlegs. Their music has solidified them as one of the world’s most successful rock bands through their lyrics and groundbreaking sound. As Ten turns 27, celebrate with ten little known facts about the band’s debut record.

  1. They were originally called Mookie Baylock. Each member is a fan of basketball, so they named themselves after their favourite player. Unfortunately they were forced to change the name, but chose the album name Ten after Mookie’s jersey number.
  2. Eddie Vedder was the last member to join Pearl Jam. Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard were the first band members. They had played together in bands prior to Pearl Jam, including the iconic Mother Love Bone, and had created a couple of instrumental demos. Vedder got a copy of the demos from former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons, wrote and recorded his lyrics and sent it back to the group, followed by an invitation to join.
  3. “Alive”‘s original guitar solo was much shorter. While recording, producer Tim Palmer urged Mike McCready to play a longer solo to exaggerate the ending of the song. Palmer also used a pepper shaker and fire extinguisher as percussion in “Oceans”.
  4. “Alive” is semi-autobiographical. It tells the story of a son who learns that his father is actually his stepfather after he passes away. The mother’s grief turns to her sexually embracing her son, who strongly resembles his father. Vedder revealed he wrote the song years after discovering at age 17 that his father was actually his stepfather, and that his biological father had passed away without ever getting the chance to meet him.
  5. The album includes a “mini-opera”. “Alive”, “Once” and a later B-side “Footsteps” tell the story of a young man whose father dies (“Alive”), then goes on a killing spree (“Oceans”) which later results in his capture and execution (“Footsteps”). The piece is called Momma-Son. It was later released on cassette.
  6. There’s a hidden track – found in two parts. The first part begins the album, before “Once” starts, and the second part closes the album, playing after “Release”. Both are instrumental, aside from Vedder’s random mumblings in the second half. Together the tracks count as one on the CD.
  7. “Even Flow” was recorded nearly 70 times – and still isn’t perfect. McCready says “We did ‘Even Flow’ about 50, 70 times. I swear to God it was a nightmare. We played that thing over and over until we hated each other. I still don’t think Stone is satisfied with how it came out.”
  8. The album was an excuse to tour. The guys just wanted a reason to get out and perform, so they recorded the album in a month. Following its release, they opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers on their Blood Sugar Sex Magik tour.
  9. “Yellow Ledbetter” was written for Ten. In total, ten additional songs were written for the album but didn’t make the cut. All are featured on the band’s rarities album, Lost Dogs.
  10. The instrumental break during “Porch” is lengthened in live performances. When the band first began playing “Porch”, they dragged it out so that Vedder could climb stage scaffolding. One of the most iconic Pearl Jam performances was at the 1992 Pinkpop Festival when Vedder jumped from a TV-camera-mast right into the crowd during the instrumental break.