Flashback: Pre-Fame Eddie Vedder Sings ‘Better Man’ in 1989

Watch Vedder do the future Pearl Jam standard with his short-lived san Diego band poor Radio

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Two years before joining Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder fronted the mountain Diego absent band negative Radio. The group had a decent local following, however they never recorded anything as well as a handful of demos and also after a pair of year Vedder grew frustrated through their absence of progress. “We’d victory ‘battle that the bands’ on strongness alone, but it was coming native me,” he later said. “I couldn’t acquire anybody rather to offer up your fucking bullshit. As far as songs and stuff, castle weren’t reading, castle weren’t living. Lock knew how big Tommy Lee’s new drum kit was, but, girlfriend know, fuck that.”

The tape did have at least one track in their arsenal that might have to be a large hit under the best circumstances: “Better Man.” Vedder wrote the song in high school and also fiddled around with it for years, likely influenced by his desire to view his mother leave his stepfather because that someone he deemed a better match. Negative Radio never ever recorded the track in the studio, but you can watch them play it in ~ a 1989 gig best here. It’s nowhere close to as powerful as the rendition that Pearl Jam ultimately released, but the main point of the tune is certainly there.

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Vedder would be in Pearl Jam for 4 years before he ultimately relented and let them release the song. After ~ seeing at an early stage tracks prefer “Jeremy,” “Even Flow” and also “Alive” punch up absent radio and also MTV, that was an extremely reluctant to put out one more song with such evident mass appeal. A rendition was reduced for Vs in 1993 the producer Brendan O’Brien to be anxious to incorporate on the album, yet it wouldn’t happen until they reduced Vitalogy the following year. Also then though the group didn’t officially release it together a single, it still climbed come #1 ~ above the Mainstream rock Chart.

Pearl Jam has played the tune in concert over 500 times, and it was one of 4 tunes lock played throughout their Rock and Roll room of fame induction ceremony collection earlier this year. Clearly, Vedder no much longer feels reservations about the song. He’d probably simply rather nobody clock him play that with negative Radio back in 1989, however in the era the YouTube that simply isn’t possible.