performs on stage at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival to end extreme poverty by 2030 in Central Park on September 26, 2015 in New York City.

Today (December 23) is Eddie Vedder’s birthday, and in honor of the Pearl Jam frontman, we’d like to explore one of the band’s most misunderstood songs, “Yellow Ledbetter.”

Let’s be honest: You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t have to Google the lyrics to this song. (And even a Google search yields multiple versions of the lyrics.) “Yellow Ledbetter” is so famously misheard that it’s spawned this ridiculous video.


Clearly, this song isn’t about a Bennigans.  So, what is it about? In actuality, “Yellow Ledbetter” is about someone who receives a letter notifying them a family member died in a war.

What also gets overlooked about “Yellow Ledbetter” is the fact that it was never officially released on a Pearl Jam studio LP; it was actually the B-side to “Jeremy.”

What doesn’t get overlooked, however, is that Vedder’s vocal style, which has aided the lore of “Yellow Ledbetter,” is also what makes him one of the most memorable frontmen ever. How memorable is he? When you’re spoofed on Saturday Night Live is a good sign.


Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice.