This first pressing cost me an arm and a leg … high five!
As Ten unbelievably hits the quarter century mark today, I think it’s important to remember that when Pearl Jam’s debut arrived in stores the grunge movement that would so dominate popular culture in the next few years years, had yet to materialize. Seattle was just Seattle – not the center of the musical universe.
Here’s where the other members of grunge’s “Big Four” were on August 27, 1991: Alice in Chains had debuted with Facelift one year earlier but were still seen as a metal band; Nirvana were essentially nobodies, still one month away from changing the world with Nevermind; and Soundgarden’s breakthrough third LP, Badmotorfinger, wouldn’t see the light of day until October.
So Ten was met, not with instant euphoric acclaim, but merely positive reviews that slowly gained momentum as “Alive” and “Even Flow” became hit singles, setting the stage for third single “Jeremy” to take over radio and MTV in September of 1992, and really capture the alternative rock zeitgeist.
Had the grunge marketing phenomenon never happened, critics and fans wouldn’t have fitted out flannel shirts for the riffing hard rock of “Once” and “Why Go,” nor the deliberate, almost religious majesty of “Black,” “Oceans” and “Release,” never mind the abundant psychedelics heard on “Deep” and many other songs here.
And that’s why I think it was patently unfair when certain critics and even fellow artists of the time dared to accuse Pearl Jam for “jumping the grunge bandwagon,” when the reality is grunge “jumped” on Pearl Jam!
None of that matters now, just the songs.
And I was astonished at how great these sounded (having not really listened to them in years), to say nothing of the vivid memories of youth and exciting musical times which they brought flooding back.
I have no idea why it took me so long to get the self-titled album from Blue Murder in my collection, but it was worth getting the imported Rock Candy version which includes extensive liner notes about the album and the CD is remastered.
If you didn’t know already, Blue Murder is a supergroup featuring guitarist John Sykes (also sings), Carmine Appice on drums, and Tony Franklin on bass. Originally, the plan was to have Ray Gillen (of Badlands fame) handle the vocals, but Geffen Records thought Sykes sounded great singing on the demos and Gillen left to form Badlands.
Sykes left Whitesnake (or was fired?) after the amazing 1987 album and the Blue Murder album is a natural progression of 1987. Fans of Whitesnake will likely love this disc and it’s a shame this band didn’t take off like they should have.