When Pearl Jam first began performing as Mookie Blaylock (the name of a basketball player for the New Jersey Nets) in 1990, it was not a foregone conclusion that more than a quarter century later they'd still be selling out venues as large as Madison Square Garden, Fenway Park, and Wrigley Field—on multiple nights, no less. But something clicked when a San Diego surfer named Eddie Vedder added his lyrics to Seattle musicians Stone Goddard's and Jeff Ament's music, with accompanying lead-guitar pyrotechnics by Mike McCready. Within a year, the band had cut its debut album, "Ten," named after Blaylock's jersey number, which charted in the United States at No. 2 in 1992 and eventually sold more than 13-million copies there.

The band's rise was fast—in 1992, Pearl Jam opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Keith Richards, and headlined Lollapalooza, and in 1993, the band opened several shows for U2, while Vedder was selected to channel Jim Morrison when The Doors were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Its 1993 followup to "Ten," a 12-track collection called "Vs.", immediately charted at No.1, setting a record that stood for five years for most albums sold in a week. But all this success made the band's members uneasy—the name "Vs." itself was a commentary on the practice by the press to pit Pearl Jam's success against that of other Seattle bands, particularly grunge kings Nirvana. By 1994, Pearl Jam found itself in an actual fight with Ticketmaster, which was adding service charges to tickets for Pearl Jam shows at a time when the band was trying to keep the price of its tickets down.

By 1995, the band had started commissioning show posters from a company called Ames Bros., who are Coby Schultz and Barry Ament, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament's brother. Although the Ames Bros. designed enough Pearl Jam posters to fill a book, the band has worked with lots of other artists, too, including Brad Klausen, Emek, Ward Sutton, Tom Tomorrow, Munk One, and Chuck Sperry. The limited-edition screen-printed rock posters these artists produce routinely sell out at Pearl Jam concerts.

In addition to promoting the art of rock posters, Pearl Jam has also been a champion of vinyl records. Some albums, such as the live recording of the band's acoustic performance at Seattle's Benaroya Hall in 2004, have been released on colored vinyl as limited editions. In that case, only 2,000 copies of the boxed, two-lp set were produced, but some Pearl Jam records are rarer still—only 1,000 copies of the white-vinyl edition of 2009's "Backspacer" were pressed.


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