Jeremy by Pearl Jam - Songfacts (2022)

  • This song is about a boy who kills himself at school to get revenge on the students who tormented him. It is based on the true story of Jeremy Delle, a 15-year-old sophomore who killed himself in front of his English class at Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas, on January 8, 1991. Eddie Vedder found out about Jeremy when he read an article about the incident in the Dallas Morning News, which read: "Because he had missed class, the teacher in his second-period English class told Jeremy to get an admittance slip from the school office. Instead, he returned with the gun, police said. He walked directly to the front of the classroom. 'Miss, I got what I really went for,' he said, then placed the barrel in his mouth and fired."

    The article, which incorrectly states Jeremy's age as 16, adds that three Richardson students committed suicide in 1988.

  • Vedder could relate to the Jeremy Delle story because there was kid in his seventh grade class with similar leanings. Speaking with Karen Bliss in 1991, he explained that this kid "kind of freaked out and brought a gun into class one day" and shot a fish tank at the school. A year earlier Vedder had gotten in a fight with this kid.

  • The line in the chorus is "Jeremy spoke in class today." It is hard to understand if you don't speak Vedder.

  • "Jeremy" was the third US single released from Pearl Jam's debut album, Ten, following "Alive" and "Even Flow." A fourth single, "Oceans," was also released, but it got very little radio play and didn't do very well. "Oceans" was the only single from Ten that was released in the UK.

  • The band scenes in the video were shot at a warehouse in a seedy section of London. The clip was directed by Mark Pellington, who also did the Alice in Chains video for "Rooster" and later directed the film Arlington Road and several episodes of the TV series Cold Case.

    In a Songfacts interview with Pellington, he said: "I got sent the track and actually passed on it in the beginning. It didn't grab me immediately. Then, my producer was like, 'Listen to it a little bit more.' I did, and I talked to Eddie, and he explained to me the story of the kid in Dallas, which is a true story. I just dove in and put myself into it - put a lot of my own childhood junk into it.

    I wrote this extremely long, very passionate, elaborate treatment... which I lost on my computer. But I had all my notes. So, in re-writing it, it became even more freeform, and then it became a little more impressionistic, but they went for it. I still have all my original note cards and stuff for that.

    And then the shooting of it, they very much left me alone. We shot the band in England - shot three takes of Eddie singing, which was extremely intense. I still remember shooting it, and I remember his electrifying, intense, almost possessed passion in performing it. The band was like, 'We don't want to be in it,' so I shot a little bit of multiple exposures of them - walking around and their faces being in it a little bit."

    (Video) The Story Behind The Song: Pearl Jam | Jeremy
  • In 1993, the "Jeremy" video won four MTV Video Music Awards: Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Best Metal/Hard Rock Video, and Best Director. In accepting the Video of the Year trophy, Eddie Vedder said: "If it weren't for music, I think I would have shot myself in the front of the classroom. It really is what kept me alive, so this is kind of full circle. So to the power of music, thanks."

  • At the end of the video, we see Jeremy walk, shirtless, into his classroom, throw an apple to the teacher, and make a gesture as if pulling something from his pocket. We later see his classmates shocked and sprayed with blood, implying that Jeremy has shot himself. Originally, this section showed the gun, but MTV ordered it removed, citing a policy against showing firearms. This didn't sit well with director Mark Pellington. He told Songfacts: "MTV made us edit out the gun going in the mouth. That created the great confusion, which made it appear like he brought the gun and shot his classmates, which was a huge misinterpretation and years later connected "Jeremy" to school shootings, which was not it at all. Yet, people like to make the connection.

    (Video) Jeremy: The tragedy behind the Pearl Jam song

    I've never seen a video that still gets written about so much. Maybe it was the underbelly of disenfranchised youth. The timelessness of that, if you think about it - from James Dean and Montgomery Clift and those kind of icons. It predated the whole shooter mentality of 'angry young white kids.' So in that time, a kid taking a gun into a classroom was way ahead of its time. Pre-Columbine. And when there is a school shooting, it often gets mentioned."

  • The star of the video is Trevor Wilson, who was 12 years old when it was filmed. He got the gig over about 200 other child actors with a VHS audition tape that was shot when he was sick, so he looked dissociated without being the cliché angsty young man. It was his first acting job, and he nailed it, capturing the moody torment director Mark Pellington was looking for.

    The video drew lots of attention to Wilson, who recoiled from the adulation and gave up acting. His last public appearance was at the Video Music Awards, where he joined the band on stage when they accepted Video of the Year. He went on to work for the United Nations and fill journals with his writing. In 2016, he drowned in Puerto Rico at age 36.

    According to Wilson's mother, the band stayed in touch with Trevor and got him tickets to their shows anytime he requested them.

  • The B-side of the single was "Yellow Ledbetter," a popular song not available on any of their albums.

  • Pearl Jam did not release another video for six years. They decided that videos detracted from the music, and wanted their fans to come to their shows rather than watch them on TV. They also hated the process of making the videos, which they got around by not appearing in their next one, a cartoon video for their 1998 song "Do The Evolution" that was drawn by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane.

    (Video) Jeremy Wade Delle | The Tragic Real Life Story Behind Pearl Jam’s Song Jeremy

  • Radio stations often play an edited version, which cleans up the line "seemed a harmless little f--k."

  • The intro to the song is played on Jeff Ament's special 12-string bass followed by soft harmonic notes on the guitar. The bass line continues quietly until the second chorus. They return in a fade out towards near the end. >>

    Suggestion credit:
    Elliot - St. Louis, MO

  • The Ten album sold over 10 million copies in America, which is known as Diamond status.

  • If you watch the music video closely around the 3:30 mark, you can spot a quick switch during the shot of the kids standing with their hands over their hearts for the pledge of allegiance, to what appears to be the kids giving a Nazi salute for less than a second before going back to the original shot. Presumably this is a commentary on the US school system, and not some kind of subliminal message in favor of Nazism. >>

    (Video) Pearl Jam - Jeremy (Official 4K Video)

    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Melrose, MA

  • In 1996, Barry Loukaitis, a 14-year-old junior-high student in Washington State, shot and killed two students and a teacher when he went to school. His lawyer claimed Loukaitis was copying the video for this song, which was shown at the trial. He was convicted on three counts of murder.

  • Vedder said that this song and another Ten track, "Why Go," have a similar theme: lack of parental attention.

  • In 2018, Jeremy's mom, Wanda Crane, finally opened up to tell her side of the story. While Jeremy did shoot himself in front of his class, he was not the silent, non-social kid portrayed in the song. "That day that he died did not define his life,"she told WFAA News in Dallas. "He was a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, a grandson. He was a friend. He was talented."

    A classmate who was in the room when Jeremy pulled the trigger also weighed in. "I was angry at them for writing that song," Brittany King said. "I thought, you don't know. You weren't there. That story isn't accurate." >>

    Suggestion credit:
    Jackie - Virginia Beach

    (Video) Jeremy | Pearl Jam #songfact

  • FAQs

    What is the message of Jeremy by Pearl Jam? ›

    This song is about a boy who kills himself at school to get revenge on the students who tormented him. It is based on the true story of Jeremy Delle, a 15-year-old sophomore who killed himself in front of his English class at Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas, on January 8, 1991.

    Why is Jeremy by Pearl Jam controversial? ›

    In 1996, 14-year-old Barry Loukaitis took the lives of three people at his middle school when he opened fire in class. Loukaitis pleaded insanity. Part of his attorney's defense case claimed that the “Jeremy” music video incited the mayhem.

    What was the song Jeremy written about? ›

    The song takes its main inspiration from a newspaper article about a 15-year-old boy named Jeremy Wade Delle from Richardson, Texas, who shot himself in front of his teacher and his second-period English class of 30 students on the morning of January 8, 1991.

    What is the meaning behind daughter by Pearl Jam? ›

    Eddie Vedder said about the song "Daughter": "The child in that song obviously has a learning difficulty, and it's only in the last few years that they've actually been able to diagnose these learning disabilities, that before were looked at as misbehavior; as just outright rebelliousness, but no one knew what it was.

    What is the meaning behind Jeremy? ›

    The name Jeremy is primarily a male name of Hebrew origin that means God Will Uplift. From the name Jeremiah.

    What does the saying Even Flow mean? ›

    Oh, he don't know, so he chases them away" even flow means hes always happy and just goes with the flow, thoughts arive like butterflys means he has thoughts but chases them away which kind of hints hes retarted.

    What happened to the kid from the Jeremy video? ›

    Swimming at the beach, Wilson fell prey to the current and drowned; despite the best efforts of a bystander who attempted to save him, the EMTs who arrived at the scene were unable to revive him. Wilson was only 36 at the time of his passing.

    Why did Pearl Jam stop making music videos? ›

    Pearl Jam refused to make a music video for 'Black' because Vedder thought "the concept of music videos robbed the listener from creating their own interpretation of the song"

    Who was Jeremy based on? ›

    The song takes its main inspiration from a newspaper article about a 16-year-old boy named Jeremy Wade Delle, born February 10, 1975, from Richardson, Texas who shot himself in front of his English class at Richardson High School on the morning of January 8, 1991 at about 9:45 am.

    Is Jeremy Based on a true story? ›

    To date, “Jeremy” remains one of Pearl Jam's most chilling and affecting songs. Based on the real-life suicide of high school student Jeremy Wade Delle, who shot himself in front of his classmates in January 1991, the band's hit single has since haunted radio waves, concert halls, and living rooms.

    What is the meaning of Black by Pearl Jam? ›

    In the 2011 book Pearl Jam Twenty, Vedder said about the meaning of the song: It's about first relationships. The song is about letting go. It's very rare for a relationship to withstand the Earth's gravitational pull and where it's going to take people and how they're going to grow.

    Is Pearl Jam alive a true story? ›

    Alive song is a semi-autobiographical account which reflects Eddie Vedder's own childhood experience about being told the truth about his real father.

    What is a good song to dedicate to your daughter? ›

    "My Little Girl" by Tim McGraw

    This heart-wrenching song is perfect for a father/daughter dance. In it, Tim McGraw tells his daughter to remember that no matter what, she is his "little girl."

    What's the story behind Yellow Ledbetter? ›

    Its about a man who just learns that his brother died at war and he wishes his brother never went to war and he was dead instead. During most live shows he mentions his brother being gone or left.

    What is the country song about a daughter? ›

    "My Little Girl," Tim McGraw.

    What is the gender of Jeremy name? ›

    Jeremy (given name)
    GenderMale
    Language(s)English
    Other names
    Variant form(s)Jer; Jem; Jaz
    Related namesJeremiah, Jérémie, Jérémy
    1 more row

    Who was Jeremy in the Bible? ›

    Jeremiah, a Judaean prophet whose activity spanned four of the most tumultuous decades in his country's history, appears to have received his call to be a prophet in the 13th year of the reign of King Josiah (627/626 bc) and continued his ministry until after the siege and capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 ...

    Is Jeremy a good name? ›

    Nonetheless, Jeremy still holds a Top 100 place in New York and New Jersey (as well as Delaware, Mississippi and Alabama). It's an updated, more modern and less-Biblical sounding version of Jeremiah. It's a simple, unpretentious and all-around cute name for a little boy.

    What is Even Flow real name? ›

    David O'Doherty - Wikipedia.

    What key is Even Flow in? ›

    "Even Flow" was written in the key of D major, with Gossard performing his parts in open D tuning and McCready complementing it with a similar rhythm pattern in standard tuning.

    How rich is Eddie Vedder? ›

    Eddie Vedder is an American rock singer and musician who has a net worth of $100 million. Eddie Vedder is best known as the lead singer for the rock band Pearl Jam.

    When was Yellow Ledbetter released? ›

    What did Jeremy Wade Delle do? ›

    Jeremy Wade Delle, 16, who had transferred from a Dallas school, died instantly after firing a . 357-caliber Magnum into his mouth about 9:45 a.m. police said. Because he had missed class, the teacher in his second-period English class told Jeremy to get an admittance slip from the school office.

    Who played Jeremy in Pearl Jam? ›

    In the original, edited 1992 video, the suicide is insinuated, but in the uncensored (and newly remastered) version that Pearl Jam uploaded Friday, Jeremy — played by actor Trevor Wilson — is shown placing the gun in his mouth.

    What is Pearl Jam's biggest hit? ›

    The 20 greatest Pearl Jam songs – ranked
    • 8Even Flow (Ten, 1991)
    • 7Rearviewmirror (Vs., 1993)
    • 6Better Man (Vitalogy, 1994)
    • 5State Of Love And Trust (Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 1992)
    • 4Jeremy (Ten, 1991)
    • 3Yellow Ledbetter (Jeremy B-Side, 1991 / Lost Dogs, 2003)
    • 2Alive (Ten, 1991)
    • 1Black (Ten, 1991)
    19 Jan 2021

    What does the name Pearl Jam mean? ›

    In an early promotional interview, Vedder said that the name "Pearl Jam" was a reference to his great-grandmother Pearl, who was married to a Native American and had a special recipe for peyote-laced jam.

    Why did Pearl Jam first drummer leave? ›

    Although Abbruzzese performed on the band's third studio album, Vitalogy, he was fired in August 1994 due to personality conflicts with the band members, four months before the album was released.

    Who is Pearl Jam Black written about? ›

    It is assumed to be referencing his relationship with musician Beth Liebling, whom Vedder had been dating since 1983, married in 1994 and divorced in 2000. In the 2011 documentary Pearl Jam 20 Vedder explains: “The song is about letting go.

    What year did Jeremy come out? ›

    What is the song Jeremy based on? ›

    The song takes its main inspiration from a newspaper article about a 16-year-old boy named Jeremy Wade Delle, born February 10, 1975, from Richardson, Texas who shot himself in front of his English class at Richardson High School on the morning of January 8, 1991 at about 9:45 am.

    What is the meaning of Black by Pearl Jam? ›

    In the 2011 book Pearl Jam Twenty, Vedder said about the meaning of the song: It's about first relationships. The song is about letting go. It's very rare for a relationship to withstand the Earth's gravitational pull and where it's going to take people and how they're going to grow.

    What happened to the kid from the Jeremy video? ›

    Swimming at the beach, Wilson fell prey to the current and drowned; despite the best efforts of a bystander who attempted to save him, the EMTs who arrived at the scene were unable to revive him. Wilson was only 36 at the time of his passing.

    Is Pearl Jam alive a true story? ›

    Alive song is a semi-autobiographical account which reflects Eddie Vedder's own childhood experience about being told the truth about his real father.

    Who is Pearl Jam Black written about? ›

    It is assumed to be referencing his relationship with musician Beth Liebling, whom Vedder had been dating since 1983, married in 1994 and divorced in 2000. In the 2011 documentary Pearl Jam 20 Vedder explains: “The song is about letting go.

    Why did Pearl Jam stop making music videos? ›

    Pearl Jam refused to make a music video for 'Black' because Vedder thought "the concept of music videos robbed the listener from creating their own interpretation of the song"

    What year did Jeremy come out? ›

    What are the 5 Horizons? ›

    There are five soil horizons: O, A, E, B, and C. (R is used to denote bedrock.) There is no set order for these horizons within a soil. Some soil profiles have an A-C combination, some have an O-E-B, an O-A-B, or just an O.

    How rich is Eddie Vedder? ›

    Eddie Vedder is an American rock singer and musician who has a net worth of $100 million. Eddie Vedder is best known as the lead singer for the rock band Pearl Jam.

    What is the meaning behind Pearl Jam's name? ›

    The band was originally named Mookie Blaylock, after a professional basketball player, but settled on the words pearl and jam separately—the latter reportedly after seeing musician Neil Young in concert and admiring his “jam session” style.

    Is Jeremy Based on a true story? ›

    To date, “Jeremy” remains one of Pearl Jam's most chilling and affecting songs. Based on the real-life suicide of high school student Jeremy Wade Delle, who shot himself in front of his classmates in January 1991, the band's hit single has since haunted radio waves, concert halls, and living rooms.

    When was Yellow Ledbetter released? ›

    What did Jeremy Wade Delle do? ›

    Jeremy Wade Delle, 16, who had transferred from a Dallas school, died instantly after firing a . 357-caliber Magnum into his mouth about 9:45 a.m. police said. Because he had missed class, the teacher in his second-period English class told Jeremy to get an admittance slip from the school office.

    What is Pearl Jam's biggest hit? ›

    The 20 greatest Pearl Jam songs – ranked
    • 8Even Flow (Ten, 1991)
    • 7Rearviewmirror (Vs., 1993)
    • 6Better Man (Vitalogy, 1994)
    • 5State Of Love And Trust (Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 1992)
    • 4Jeremy (Ten, 1991)
    • 3Yellow Ledbetter (Jeremy B-Side, 1991 / Lost Dogs, 2003)
    • 2Alive (Ten, 1991)
    • 1Black (Ten, 1991)
    19 Jan 2021

    What is the Mamasan trilogy? ›

    The Momma-Son trilogy is an almost cult like story about 3 Pearl Jam Songs; Alive, Once and Footsteps.

    Videos

    1. State Of Love and Trust (Live) - MTV Unplugged - Pearl Jam
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    4. Pearl Jam - Soldier of Love
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