Today (December 23rd) is Eddie Vedder’s birthday, and in honor of the Pearl Jam frontman, we’d like to explore one of the band’s most misunderstood songs, “Yellow Ledbetter.”
Let’s be honest: You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t have to Google the lyrics to this song. (And even a Google search yields multiple versions of the lyrics.) “Yellow Ledbetter” is so famously misheard that it’s spawned this ridiculous video.
Clearly, this song isn't about a Bennigans. So, what is it about? In actuality, “Yellow Ledbetter” is about someone who receives a letter notifying them a family member died in a war.
What also gets overlooked about “Yellow Ledbetter” is the fact that it was never officially released on a Pearl Jam studio LP; it was actually the B-side to “Jeremy.”
What doesn’t get overlooked, however, is that Vedder’s vocal style, which has aided the lore of “Yellow Ledbetter,” is also what makes him one of the most memorable frontmen ever. How memorable is he? When you’re spoofed on Saturday Night Live is a good sign.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock reporter who never leaves home without her iPod, because to her, there’s something very comforting about carrying around every piece of music she’s ever owned in her life.