Pearl Jam

Yellow Ledbetter

Composed by Eddie Vedder / Jeff Ament / Mike McCready

Song Review by

For anyone who missed Pearl Jam's roots in classic rock, "Yellow Ledbetter" spelled them out loud and clear. A gentle, Jimi Hendrix-esque ballad with an intro heavily indebted to "Little Wing," "Yellow Ledbetter" was actually never released on a Pearl Jam album, instead appearing as one of two B-sides on the "Jeremy" single. Pearl Jam had a knack for coming up with strong B-sides during their early years, and it's easy to see how "Yellow Ledbetter" could have made the cut for inclusion on Ten with just a bit of tightening up. As it was, the song achieved a surprising amount of college radio play for a B-side upon its release in 1992, and grew to become a fan favorite and concert staple. Lead guitarist Mike McCready receives a rare co-writing credit, and it's easy to see why, since his airy Hendrix imitations provide the essential meat of the song; his solo even ends in a trill lifted verbatim from Hendrix's solo on "May This Be Love." Eddie Vedder's vocal is alternately intense and achingly wistful, with the latter particularly suiting the song's mood. Overall, though, "Yellow Ledbetter" is something a little more than that -- it's the sound of a band overflowing with prime material.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Jeremy [UK] 1992 Epic
Daughter 1994 Epic 5:13
No Image 1995 Red Phantom 6:14
No Image 1999 6:20
Live: 29-5-00 Wembley Arena - London, England 2000 Epic / Sony Music Distribution 6:17
Live: 9-1-00 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 2001 E2K 8:16
Live: 11-6-00 - Seattle Washington 2001 Sony Music Distribution 7:11
Live: 03-03-03 - Tokyo, Japan 2003 Epic 5:30
Live from Japan 2003 Epic 5:30
Live: 05-03-03 - State College, Pennsylvania 2003 Epic 5:51
Live: 07-11-03 Mansfield, MA 2003 Columbia
Lost Dogs: Rarities and B Sides 2003 Epic 5:00
Live: 10-22-03 Benaroya Hall 2004 Ten Club / RCA 6:01
Rearviewmirror: Greatest Hits 1991-2003 2004 Epic
Live at the Gorge 05/06 2007 Monkeywrench / Rhino 5:18
Live on Ten Legs 2011 Def Jam / Island / Island/Def Jam / Universal 5:20
The  Essential Pearl Jam 2013 Epic / Legacy 5:03
Chicago, 1995 2015 Chrome Dreams / Smokin' 5:39
blue highlight denotes editor's pick