December 2, 2006

Pearl Jam Christmas Singles (it’s not the world that’s heavy, it’s just the things that you save)

There’s over a decade of collecting behind this post.

The plan was to hold off for a few more weeks to make this more of a Christmas present but, well, I failed to contain my joy. Today as we decorated our full and lovely Christmas tree that makes the whole house smell fabulous, I pulled out my entire complete collection of vinyl Pearl Jam Christmas singles from the inaugural year (1991) until the 2005 edition to listen to on the old record player. I am expecting the 15th vinyl single for 2006 to grace my mailbox — well, sometime between now and Valentine’s Day. Maybe Easter. Punctuality has never been on the list of reasons to appreciate this divine collection.

But turning these fine specimens over in my hands and reading the labels, looking at the album art, slowly lowering the needle and spinning the black circle gives me a deep happiness every time. The fact that Pearl Jam sends one of these (almost) every year to their fanclub is just awesome. From the earliest one, which started with Beatles-like Christmas greetings and some ramblings, through various live gems and little studio recordings just for the fan club, there is always a fantastic variety from year to year, a small and welcome surprise in the mailbox.

Every once in a while they’ll toss in an actual Christmas song (1991, 2002, 2004), and there are some wonderful covers (1992, 1998, and 2000 are favorites). If I had to pick just one song from this bunch for the rest of my life, it would probably be “Angel,” which is stunning in its wavering purity, and inspired by a poem called The Eloping Angels: A Caprice. I love it fiercely and thoroughly.

I was going to try and walk you through the rest of my favorites, but as I looked over each record, I realized there is no way I could. I’ve written this paragraph 4 times and keep deleting it because it’s getting too long. So just listen to them all — I know not of a better way to spread Christmas cheer (than singing these loud, for all to hear).


Let Me Sleep
Ramblings I

Sonic Reducer (Dead Boys cover)
Ramblings II

Ramblings III (live in Indio, CA 11/5/93)

History Never Repeats (Split Enz cover, live in Auckland with Neil & Tim Finn)
Sonic Reducer (Dead Boys cover, live in New Orleans with Joey Ramone)
Swallow My Pride (Green River cover, live in Las Vegas)
My Way (Elvis cover with Elvis’ cousin Terry, live @ The Aladdin in Vegas)

Olympic Platinum (Nick Didia)
Smile (live in Barcelona, 11/21/96)

1997 (joint effort with R.E.M.)
Happy When I’m Crying (written by Jack Irons)
Live For Today – R.E.M.

Soldier of Love (originally recorded by Arthur Alexander, 1962)
Last Kiss (originally recorded by J. Frank Wilson, Ed found a 45 copy at the Fremont Antique Mall)

Strangest Tribe (written by Stone Gossard)

Crown of Thorns
(Mother Love Bone cover, live 8/22/00 in Vegas)
Can’t Help Falling In Love (written by Elvis Presley, live 8/22/00 in Vegas)

Last Soldier
(live @ Bridge School 10/21/2001)
Indifference (with Ben Harper, live @ Bridge School 10/21/2001)
Gimme Some Truth (Lennon cover, live @ Groundwork Benefit, Seattle 10/22/2001)
I Just Want To Have Something To Do (Ramones cover)

Don’t Believe In Christmas
(Sonics cover, soundcheck Seattle Showbox 12/6/02)
Sleepless Nights (Everly Brothers cover, live @ Wiltern Theatre 2/26/02 with Beck)

Reach Down
(with Chris Cornell, 10/28/2003 in Santa Barbara)
I Believe In Miracles (Ramones cover, 10/28/2003 in Santa Barbara)

Someday At Christmas
(Jackson 5ive cover)
Betterman (with the Walmer High School choir from South Africa)

Little Sister
(with Robert Plant, 10/5/05 House of Blues Chicago)
Gone (demo, recorded 9/30/05, Room #1152, Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City)


UPDATE: 2006 and 2007

And yes, I actually do own a Pearl Jam stickman Christmas ornament, an internet purchase circa 1995. Rock on.

Tagged with , , .


  • the 2007 christmas single :
    enjoy! and spread the jam
    wd from ghent, belgium

    Anonymous — December 22, 2007 @ 10:14 am

  • Un Tres Grand Merci De France!!!!
    Excellent Cadeau pour mon Noël!!!!
    Que du Bon!!!

    Thanxxxxxxxxxxxx again!!!!!!!

    kril1 — December 25, 2007 @ 12:55 pm

  • Hello fellows and fellettes, I have collected all the Xmas singles from 1995 to 2004 and am now ready to let them go to a collector of Pearl Jam memorabilia. (I don’t have a record player anymore either!) They’re in wonderful shape and some have never been played at all. I also have Place/Date (photo book), 2 souvenir laminates from the May 2000 private CFOX show in Vancouver, the red box from Vitalogy Health Club, SVT vid, Touring Band 2000 vid, Live at the Gardens DVD, Russian PJ hat with Evil Little Goat on it, some ticket stubs, eg. Benaroya, Bridge School. If you know anyone who would like info on this stuff please email me at Thanks & Peace.

    Bean99 — December 27, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

  • tanks!

    louie — March 12, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  • Thank-you, I’m glad I finally had the chance to hear them all. I have the ’91′ Let Me Sleep 45, if you happen to know if anyone is into buying it.

    juicywhip — April 6, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

  • Heather, thank you so much for posting these. My only copy of “Angel” was on a 15-year-old cassette tape. Haven’t heard it in years, and it’s still beautiful.

    Kris — April 6, 2008 @ 10:14 pm

  • Heather – from two BIG PJ fans over in NZ, thanks so much for posting these. Looking forward to adding them to the collection. Now, if only we could get them to come back to NZ for a gig…

    Anonymous — April 8, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

  • Hey
    anyone know if the early christmas singles were sealed in plastic? I only have the later ones that came unsealed in cardboard. A friend came across a copy of Angel that’s “sealed” and he’s trying to determine if it really is new.

    Billy B — May 8, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

  • Hello Heather,

    Thanks for your posting, beause of you my pj collection are complete now.

    It’s hard to find record, I can’t find it on my local cassete/cd shop in my country (indonesia), just only the album that distributed here.

    I wonder if is ok if I share / re-post some of your collection on my Multiply Page’s ?

    Thank you

    Yudo — May 14, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

  • Good stuff! I was able to grab the few that I missed before I was a member of the Ten Club. You Rock!

    Anonymous — June 10, 2008 @ 12:23 am

  • I am greatful for this! Thanks for posting it! I have been looking everywhere for Sonic Reducer covered by Pearl Jam without having to buy my Ten Club friends. Thank you!

    Anonymous — June 12, 2008 @ 8:30 pm

  • Heather,

    you’re the ambassador of cool. I have almost all of those xmas singles but have never heard a lot of them as I dont possess a turntable. They sound great and warm up these wintry Australian nights. Its like Christmas in the northern hemisphere, listening to the world’s greatest band’s gift to their fans.

    Thank you for this gift Heather.

    Aussie Dave — June 17, 2008 @ 4:12 pm

  • Heather,
    Thank you! You are amazing…and not just cuz you put up all the PJ Christmas singles. You have a freakin stickman ornament! Totally badass!
    <3 from NY

    Danny — June 19, 2008 @ 9:14 pm


    Anonymous — July 22, 2008 @ 2:21 pm

  • This website is one of the coolest things anywhere. I really appreciate the downloads. Thanks so much.

    jim — July 23, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

  • you are the best.
    thanks for posting the singles. i have most of them but haven’t bought a turntable-mp3 player yet. this is the coolest thing ever.

    chris - nashville — August 1, 2008 @ 1:30 pm

  • From one Pearl Jam lover to another, all I can say is thanks.

    Brian — August 28, 2008 @ 1:15 pm

  • Thank you so much. “You used the wrong version of the track Can’t Help Falling In Love (you have the fast version from Memphis).” Can you post the original Christmas version? *

    Anonymous — September 19, 2008 @ 10:27 am

  • Heather, I am speachless. I know this post is years old, but I just came accross your blog, and I am amazed at how fiercely you love music. Thank you for putting your passion into words. If there is a perfect gift, you have given it…

    Kim &amp; Danny — October 29, 2008 @ 10:35 am

  • Thank you so much, this is incredibly cool. I just joined the 10C and been listening to PJ for 6 years, but definetely missed the chance to get all the christmas singles yet. I hope I can still collect them via eBay or so… does anybody know if they can still be bought somewhere by 10C members?

    Dennis — December 21, 2008 @ 5:36 am

  • dennis, check with the Ten Club. any they have left in stock they’ll sell ya, cheap. so i hear.

    heather — December 21, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

  • For a person lover of Pearl Jam seemingly far, lost in the distance, this is one it incredible reach, something that jamas it imagined habria, because of it and from the bottom of my heart I still have to him very grateful, happy holidays…

    Regards from La Paz BOLIVIA


    José Luis — December 23, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

  • I just found this site as I was looking for holiday music. I’m a PJ fan, but this was a very special find. I’m listening to the Someday at Christmas cover as I write this. Thank you so very much for this posting. Merry Christmas to you.

    Steven — December 24, 2008 @ 5:40 am

  • Heather, Many thanks for keeping this post active…I have sent many friends to your site because of it!

    Merry Christmas, 2008.


    Anonymous — December 25, 2008 @ 12:20 pm

  • merry christmas everyone! i love that so many folks have loved this collection like i do! :)

    heather — December 25, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

  • Heather

    Just bumped into this post. I’m just an avid xmas single collector as you are. Listening to Santa Cruz right now, two days before PJ’s show in the Netherlands. Thanks for sharing your love and passion with us.

    Frank — August 11, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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