Edward Louis Severson III was born in Evanston, a northern suburb of Chicago, on 23 December 1966. The eldest of four stepbrothers, it was years before he discovered his real name.
His mother, Karen Lee Vedder had separated from his biological father, a lounge musician named Edward Louis Severson Jnr when Eddie was still a baby, and so he had grown up as Eddie Mueller – the surname of his new stepfather, attorney Peter Mueller.
Eddie was five when his mum and stepdad began running a group home for parentless children.
Pearl Jam sprouted up largely intact, assembled from the hard rock remnants of pivotal local acts such as Green River and Mother Love Bone. On their debut album, Ten (1991), the band recalled the soaring melodic majesty and fierce integrity of original masters like Neil Young and The Doors, while at the same time sounding a battle cry for a powerful new moment in rock & roll.
Nirvana‘s Smells Like Teen Spirit and their album Nevermind brought the Pacific Northwest music scene into the spotlight, but it was Pearl Jam’s Ten (1992) and its attendant singles that assured the spotlight would stay there and focus on a hotbed of talent that also included Alice In Chains and Soundgarden.
Ten‘s punishing power chords, augmented by Mike McCready’s searing, bluesy licks, were immediately swallowed up by millions of American teenagers starving for a new party.
Vs (1993) entered the Billboard charts at #1, as did the follow-up, Vitalogy (1994).