Saturday, November 12, 2011

Brief Diversion: the true story behind Pearl Jam's "Jeremy"

above: Pearl Jam's video - Jeremy

 Pearl Jam recently had their 20th anniversary. I have been a big fan of Pearl Jam since their first album. They were becoming popular when I started listening to rock music and I have a soft spot in my heart for Pearl Jam. 

above: the cover for the Jeremy single.


The lyrics for Jeremy:
At home, drawing pictures of mountain tops
With him on top
Lemon yellow sun, arms raised in a V
And the dead lay in pools of maroon below

Daddy didn't give attention
Oh, to the fact that mommy didn't care
King Jeremy the wicked
Oh, ruled his world

Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today

Clearly I remember pickin' on the boy
Seemed a harmless little f***
Ooo, but we unleashed a lion
Gnashed his teeth and bit the recess lady's breast

How could I forget?
And he hit me with a surprise left
My jaw left hurtin', ooo, dropped wide open
Just like the day, oh, like the day I heard

Daddy didn't give affection, no
And the boy was something that mommy wouldn't wear
King Jeremy the wicked
Oh, ruled his world

Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today

Try to forget this
Try to erase this, from the blackboard
Jeremy spoke in class today
Jeremy spoke in class today

Jeremy spoke in, spoke in
Jeremy spoke in, spoke in
Jeremy spoke in class today
 

One of Pearl Jam's first singles was the song Jeremy. Jeremy is based on two stories. The main part of Jeremy is based on a 16 year old boy named Jeremy Wade Delle, from Richardson, Texas. Delle went in front of his English class on January 8, 1991 and shot himself. He was late for class and was sent for an admittance slip. He returned with a .357 Magnum and said "Miss, I got what I really went for."

The other story is related to a student Eddie Vedder (the singer of Pearl Jam) knew in school. 
From a December 1991 interview with David Sadoff :
"I actually knew somebody in junior high school, in San Diego, California, that did the same thing, just about, didn't take his life but ended up shooting up an oceanography room. I remember being in the halls and hearing it and I had actually had altercations with this kid in the past. I was kind of a rebellious fifth-grader and I think we got in fights and stuff. So it's a bit about this kid named Jeremy and it's also a bit about a kid named Brian that I knew and I don't know...the song, I think it says a lot. I think it goes somewhere...and a lot of people interpret it different ways and it's just been recently that I've been talking about the true meaning behind it and I hope no one's offended and believe me, I think of Jeremy when I sing it."

above: Pearl Jam Jeremy live Sept. 12, 2011
 
I write about this because I find it heartbreaking, tragic and moving all at once. The song carries so much more weight when you fully understand the back story. To think of any young person taking their own life makes my heart ache. If you know of anyone who might need help, please do what you can to help them. The answer may be as simple as listening.

LINKS:


 
 

8 comments:

  1. If bullies are not held accountable, what happens is, they grow up and continue to bully others in their adult life. Very sad but true. I think what needs to happen, is there should be manditory jail time for this.

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  3. I used to think that laws were made to keep the people who are already law abiding in shackles because I truly believed that offenders don't care about the laws. I had developed an unhealthy level of animosity and discontent to what I felt was a broken system.

    Fortunately, my verbal lashing on the subject to many people I came in contact with did not have any affect on the continued onslaught of those who kept on fighting. I am happy to say that things are much different than when I grew up, and even in situations where I would have sat idly by while some overbearing overconfident thug decided to belittle and humiliate others and myself, I chose several times to speak out and there have been favorable results.

    We don't need to resort to violence to deal with violence. Sometimes knowledge helps. It had helped me. Those inconsiderate pr*cks who thought they were untouchable just needed to be informed of situations in our organization which resulted in those all the way up to the organization director being let go due to the bullying going on and the immediate supervisor being full aware of it as well as those in between.

    When they laughed at my comment I told them confidently, "I thought the same thing, but then I found it happened right here in our own company. You don't believe me? I heard it straight from our EEO office. I think if you like your job you might want to consider the consequences of your actions."

    I was given a formal apology from my supervisor who assured me it wouldn't happen again. It didn't.

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    1. Bullying is unnecessary and it is UNACCEPTABLE for teachers, supervisors and people in any position of authority to stand by and just let it happen. Bullying isn't a right of passage...it's usually a strange cry for help.

      I think it comes from a cycle of behavior. Children mistreated by parents grow up as bullies as an outlet for the abuse that they suffer. They grow up to abuse their children and the sick cycle continues ad infinitum.

      It's important to just treat people how you wish to be treated. It's not difficult. It's what I teach my young daughter. I hope this can be passed on more efficiently then the cycle of abuse.

      Sorry to hear about your troubles. I hope that everything works out for you.

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    2. Please disregard my atrocious grammar. I am very tired...

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  4. isn't strange how more and more kids are doing this. where r the parents? i had two older brothers and both parents worked but they still knew what was going on with us. parents are not being parents how else would kids be able to get hold of guns and crap like that to do these things.

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  5. isn't strange how more and more kids are doing this. where r the parents? i had two older brothers and both parents worked but they still knew what was going on with us. parents are not being parents how else would kids be able to get hold of guns and crap like that to do these things.

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