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Pearl Jam Booked for Conan O'Brien's "Tonight Show" Debut

May 18, 2009 6:29 PM ET

Conan O'Brien has recruited Pearl Jam for his first-ever episode as host of The Tonight Show on June 1st, the band revealed on their official Website. According to the post, Eddie Vedder and company will perform songs — plural theirs, not ours — from their upcoming studio album on O'Brien's inaugural episode, which airs exactly two weeks from today. To quote the first comment on the story over at the Pearl Jam Webpage, "Holy shitballs! This is gonna be awesome!" Agreed. Added bonus: Will Ferrell, who led a star-studded sing-along of Billy Joel's "Goodnight Saigon" on SNL, will also be on the episode.

The performance will be Pearl Jam's first of what appears to be an increasingly busy summer for the Seattle quintet, with headlining dates already set for the Outside Lands and Austin City Limits festivals, as well as a pair of concerts scheduled in August for Chicago and Toronto with more dates on the way. Plus, the band is currently in an Atlanta studio — where bassist Jeff Ament was mugged — working on the follow-up to their 2006 self-titled album.

Conan O'Brien wrapped up his stint as host of Late Night in New York with a special performance by the White Stripes. O'Brien also spoke to Rolling Stone about his special relationship with Jack and Meg and his love of rock.

Related Stories:

Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament Injured in Robbery Outside Atlanta Studio
Eddie Vedder Recalls Birth of Pearl Jam in Grunge Oral History
White Stripes Help Conan O'Brien Say Goodbye to "Late Night," New York City

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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