Saturday, December 3, 1994

Pearl Jam “Better Man” charted

Better Man

Pearl Jam

Writer(s): Eddie Vedder (see lyrics here)

Released: December 6, 1994 (album cut)

First Charted: December 3, 1994

Peak: 13 BA, 24 RR, 18 AR, 2 MR, 9 CN, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 36.6 video, 159.90 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Eddie Vedder, the frontman for Pearl Jam, wrote “Better Man” when he was a teenager. Her performed the song with Bad Radio, a funk group in the vein of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. PF The earliest version was based on the fast tempo “Save It for Later” by the English Beat. FO It changed significantly between then and the time it surfaced as a Pearl Jam ballad.

Pearl Jam didn’t take a stab at recording it until sessions for sophomore album Vs.. Producer Brendan O’Brien declared the song a hit. Vedder wasn’t enthusiastic about that prospect because it was such a personal song and he wanted to give the song away. The plan was for Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders to sing the song for a Greenpeace charity record. His bandmates were relieved when she didn’t show up for a recording session because they thought it should be a Pearl Jam song. SF They took another shot at recording it during sessions for their third album, Vitalogy. FO

Lyrically, the song tells a story about an abusive relationship. She waits for him to get home, practicing how she’ll break up with him. However, she loses the courage when it comes time to confront him in person. She convinces herself she’s really in love with him and can’t find anyone better. During a performance on April 3, 1994, he said, “it’s dedicated to the bastard that married my momma.” It was a reference to Peter Mueller, his stepfather who he’d been led to believe was his biological father. WK

While the song wasn’t released as a single and the band weren’t making videos at the time, “Better Man” still triumphed at radio, landing at #1 for eight weeks at album rock and reaching the top 20 of the Billboard pop airplay chart. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) named it one of the most-performed songs of 1995. WK


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First posted 12/15/2023.

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