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Alive
Song

Alive

Pearl Jam
Album:
Ten

Song Meaning and Background to Alive by Pearl Jam


Alive, is the debut single by American rock band Pearl Jam and released in 1991, 51 days before the release of the band's debut album, Ten.


Written by guitarist Stone Gossard, the song originated as an instrumental titled "Dollar Short" and was included on a demo tape circulated in hopes of finding a singer for the group.


Vocalist Eddie Vedder obtained a copy of the tape and wrote lyrics that describe a somewhat fictionalized account of the time when he was told that the man he thought was his father was not actually his biological parent.


Alive" tells the story of a young man discovering that the man he thought was his father is actually his stepfather, while his mother's grief leads to an incestuous relationship with the son, who strongly resembles the biological father.


Alive" has been revealed by Vedder to be part autobiographical and part fiction.


When Vedder was a teenager, his mother revealed to him that the man he thought was his father was actually his stepfather, and that his biological father was dead.


The first and last verses detail those actual events, but the second verse is storytelling on Vedder's part.

The lyrics of the second verse read, "Oh, she walks slowly, across a young man's room/She said I'm ready...for you/I can't remember anything to this very day/'Cept the look, the look.../Oh, you know where, now I can't see, I just stare...," and Vedder revealed that "she" was the mother, and "the look" referred to was not the look on her face, but "the look is between her legs. Where do you go with that? That's where you came from."


"Alive" charted at number 16 in the United Kingdom and number nine in Australia.


The single was available only through import in the United States, so it was not able to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.


Lyrics and Guitar Chords for Alive by Peral Jam


[Verse]

 

A   G

  Son, she said

A              G

  have I got a little story for you

A   G                         A     G

    What you thought was your daddy   was nothin' but a...

A   G                      A             G

    While you were sittin' home alone at age thirteen

A   G                   A    G

    Your real daddy was dyin'

                   F      G C

  sorry you didn't see him

          F             G C

  but I'm glad we talked...

 

 

[Chorus]

 

   E    G      D          A

Oh I... ooooh, I'm still alive

     E  G      D          A

Hey, I, ooooh, I'm still alive

    E  G      D          A

Hey I, ooooh, I'm still alive

      E   G  A

Hey...oh...

 

 

[Verse]

 

A  G                   A

   Oh, she walks slowly,

A   G

   across a young man's room

A  G            A     G

   She said I'm ready...for you

A  G                A         G

   I can't remember anything to this very day

A  G              A  G

   'Cept the look,   the look...

    F             G C      F          G C

Oh, you know where,    now I can't see, 

         E

I just stare...

 

 

[Chorus]

 

   E    G      D          A

Oh I... ooooh, I'm still alive

     E  G      D          A

Hey, I, ooooh, I'm still alive

    E  G      D          A

Hey I, ooooh, I'm still alive

      E   G  A

Hey...oh...

 

 

[Instrumental]

 

E G A

E G A

E G A

E G A

 

 

[Bridge]

 

A  Esus  Asus                    A  Esus  A

             Is something wrong, she said

                    A  Esus  Asus

            Well of course there is

                    A  Esus  Asus

You're still alive, she said

                        B  Badd9  C/G

Oh, and do I deserve to be

                  B  Badd9  B

Is that the question

         B  Badd9  B

And if so...if so.....who answers...who answers...

 

 

[Chorus]

 

   E    G      D          A

Oh I... ooooh, I'm still alive

     E  G      D          A

Hey, I, ooooh, I'm still alive

    E  G      D          A

Hey I, ooooh, I'm still alive

      E   G  A

Hey...oh...

 

yea yea yea yea yea yea...





Release Date

1991

Songwriter/s

Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard

Producer/s

Rick Parashar, Pearl Jam

Label/s

Epic

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