Pearl Jam Songs
Pearl Jam covers have become a staple of the band’s setlist over the years. The Eddie Vedder-fronted rock group has never shied away from paying homage to its heroes during live shows, performing songs by everyone from The Beatles to Elvis to Patti Smith and beyond.
Plenty of acts have paid the favor back, putting their own spins on influential Pearl Jam songs in concert. From giant hits like “Better Man” to deeper cuts like “Indifference,” dozens of Pearl Jam covers have made it on the setlist of greats like Bruce Springsteen, Tori Amos, and Dierks Bentley, to name only a few.
Here are some of the best live Pearl Jam covers that other great artists have performed in recent years.
O.A.R. covers “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”
One of the top jam bands active today, O.A.R. has slipped Pearl Jam covers into its setlist many times over the years. One of the group’s most recent takes tackles the Vedder-penned “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town,” off 1993’s “Vs.”
Dierks Bentley covers “Just Breathe”
Eddie Vedder has long showcased country and folk leanings in his music, so it’s no wonder that country greats like Dierks Bently would show an interest in his songs. Bentley has performed covers of Pearl Jam’s 2009 song “Just Breathe” a number of times, including at least one Record Store Day show with Pearl Jam’s own Mike McCready.
The Gaslight Anthem covers “State of Love and Trust”
New Jersey-based alt-rock outfit The Gaslight Anthem played a live set at SiriusXM in 2012, and part of the appearance was a high-energy cover of “State of Love and Trust.” The song, which Pearl Jam originally wrote for the film “Singles,” is a perfect fit for The Gaslight Anthem’s punk-influenced sound.
Ben Harper covers “Indifference”
Ben Harper has covered “Indifference” many times over the course of his live career, but this specific performance with Vedder on stage brings a new depth to the song. Harper and Vedder’s vocals are perfectly complemented in this live duet.
Jake Owen covers “Alive”
Another country star to take on Pearl Jam’s legacy, Jake Owen took on the hit “Alive” at a show in Pearl Jam’s native Washington. The distinct cover goes to show the far-reaching influence of this legendary rock outfit.
Chris Cornell covers “Better Man”
Fellow Pacific Northwesterner Chris Cornell has paid homage to his Seattle contemporaries in Pearl Jam many times in concert. His most notable covers of Pearl Jam songs have been staged at his solo shows, including this fresh acoustic take on “Better Man.”
Glen Hansard covers “Present Tense”
Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard first made his name famous as half of The Swell Season, but his equally successful solo career has thrived thanks to introspective, acoustic guitar-driven songs. In his emotional live take on “Present Tense,” Hansard speaks of his esteem for Vedder, who is indisputably one of rock’s great songwriters.
Willie Nelson covers “Just Breathe”
Another country act to take on Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe,” Willie Nelson and his son Lukas tackled the low-key ballad during Farm Aid 2013.The toned-down track is a perfect fit for the Nelsons’ traditional sensibilities.
Jack Johnson covers “Soon Forget”
Jack Johnson is best-known for his beach-ready surf rock, and that sound translates perfectly to a cover of Pearl Jam’s “Soon Forget.” His performance gives another example of how diverse and eclectic Vedder’s songwriting has been over the years.
Hole covers “Jeremy”
Fronting the rock group Hole, Courtney Love gained fame during the grunge movement that Pearl Jam helped steer into the mainstream. At a more recent Hole concert, Love returned to those grunge roots with her own take on “Jeremy,” one of Pearl Jam’s first big songs.
Tori Amos covers “Black”
Tori Amos' cover of “Black” is one of the more unexpected covers on this list. Her unique piano-centered take on the single off Pearl Jam’s 1991 debut brings a new layer to the heartbreaking track.
Bruce Springsteen covers “Better Man” with Eddie Vedder
At a 2004 Bruce Springsteen concert, Bruce Springsteen invited Vedder on stage to perform the Pearl Jam classic “Better Man” live. This epic meeting of two great American rock icons is probably one of the best Pearl Jam covers you’ll see.