Nearly every piece I've read about Pearl Jam's 1991 release Ten turning 20 has been some variation on the "this makes me feel old riff." And it makes sense. I didn't buy Ten when it first came out, but I wound up with a copy of it a few years after (courtesy of my mother, believe it or not). The record's anniversary does make me feel old.
While I don't think the record holds a candle to subsequent works like VS., No Code, Vitology, and Yield (a remarkably solid four-album streak through the '90s), 10 remains a touchstone for the Alternative Nation, and a mile-marker on the road that lead to underground sounds take over mainstream rock radio. Turn on the radio now -- Pearl Jam is probably playing on some station, be it a classic rock or "modern" rock one.
With American Masters: Pearl Jam Twenty, filmmaker (and longtime rock writer) Cameron Crowe's traces back to the roots of the group, when a bunch of Seattle rocker dudes (check out Green River, man) hooked up with an awkward surfer from San Diego named Eddie Vedder. Crowe has been a longtime fan of the band, and the film features never-before-seen interview and performance footage.
On Friday, October 21, the film will be screened at the Channel Eight/Cronkite School studios, presented by PBS and X103.9 FM.
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Flannel coats (or any other warm clothing) will be collected for Central Arizona Shelter Services, and the screening will feature food, drink, and giveaways. Admission is free, but you have to sign up here, and seating is limited.
Other records turning the big two-oh this year? Metallica's Black Album; Massive Attack's Blue Lines; and The Smashing Pumpkins' Gish. Make you think, right?