Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Last Kiss (Pearl Jam, covering a bunch of folks)

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I was reminded of this song tonight when I was watching an episode of the Sundance Channel's "Iconoclasts" series, (sponsored by Grey Goose Vodka - yum), which pairs two famous people to kind of riff off each other. This episode was about Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) and the surfer Laird Hamilton.
It's pretty cool, if a little self-serving for the subjects.

Pearl Jam did this song a few years ago. It has a lot of history. It was written, and originally recorded, in the year I was born - 1962. It wasn't very popular. From a totally personal standpoint it takes me back to my 11th year - 1973/74. A Canadian band called Wednesday covered it, and while Wikipedia says it only hit #34 on the Billboard charts in the US, my memory is that it was playing constantly on the radio in my hometown area in the South Bay Area. It was a great sing along song, and so sad. How could you not imagine the "screaming tires?" The "busting glass?"

As a girl in 6th grade at St. Clare's Catholic School in Santa Clara, the notion that the singer would "see my baby when I leave this world" was the ultimate in tragedy. Many tears ensued.

Eleven years old and already grieving.

Imagine my surprise when, exactly 30 years later, Pearl Jam covers the song and gets a hit out of it. Probably sold more records or downloads than Wednesday every dreamed of.

Regardless of which version, it's a song that elicits sadness, life taken away too early and youthful grief. And then we grow up.


alison m said...

For me, that angsty-emo reality-ridden song is probably Live's "Lightning Crashes". While completely showing my age on that one, it's the perfect blend of melodrama and throaty lead singing, complemented by a zen guitar riff and memorable chorus.

Yours is probably more poetic. Don't judge.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your article except the end. You almost phrase it as if Wednesday wrote the song, and pearl jam sadly sold more records. Although the fact is, a dozen bands have covered that song, and Wednesday is just one of them

Donna said...

Dear Anonymous (why be anonymous, I'm certainly not going to take a comment like that personally):

First, Thanks for commenting. Nascent bloggers like me love any comment.

Second, I didn't intend to imply that Wednesday wrote the fact i thought it was pretty clear from what i wrote that nobody from Wednesday wrote it. I am writing about my personal experiences, and the Wednesday version was the one that I knew growing up. I would actually bet that, second to Pearl Jam, it is the most listened-to version...

If you have any data on that, I'd love to see it. :) Thanks again.