Not all classic songs should be written the same. For more experienced songwriters, it normally takes a while to get the song where it needs to be, as you keep tweaking until you find something that will stand the test of time. Then again, sometimes it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time to do something special.
For almost all of these bands, these songs were never meant to be written in the first place, being just skits they had fun with or just demos that were never meant to see the light of day. Once they reached the rest of the group, they began to take on their classic form, adding the various bells and whistles that would become synonymous with the version we know today. Even though it may have been done by accident, that doesn’t mean they didn’t put their heart and soul into it either.
Part of the appeal of these songs comes from the fact that they put their blood, sweat and tears into their creation, fleshing out this little joke with an idea until it was ready for the hours of great listening. In the words of the great Bob Ross, there is still a lot of potential that can come out of the happiest little accidents.
After the colossal success of their debut album Ten, Pearl Jam had the momentum of a freight train. Even though Eddie Vedder had his reservations about stardom, the band were already hard at work trying to do something that was even heavier than the record they had just made. There was no time to waste, and Eddie found a song just by dusting off cobwebs.
During one of the breaks between live and recording, Eddie picked up an acoustic guitar he was dragging around and started playing along with a few chords to get his bearings. With Stone Gossard in the next room, Eddie started vocalizing different melodies until he came across something much louder than what they were working on. Apart from a few chords, the concept of Elderly Woman is much closer to a mostly folk tune, telling the story of two friends who reunite after a long time, one who has moved on in her life and the other never being able to escape. the small town they tried to flee from in their youth.
It’s more like a sore thumb on Vs. however, with this and Daughter being the only two weak spots on the record alongside some of the more abrasive cuts like Blood and Go. It was a tense time for Pearl Jam’s future, but it’s songs like these that have kept them above ground most of the time.