Readers Poll: The Best Pearl Jam Songs of All Time

Selections include 'Alive,' 'Given To Fly' and 'Better Man'

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2. 'Alive'

Before Eddie Vedder met any of the guys in Pearl Jam, they sent him a cassette of some songs they had worked up. One was an instrumental version of "Alive," which Eddie finished by writing the story of his own childhood. When he was 17, his mother told him that the man he thought was his father was actually his stepfather, and that his real father had died a few years earlier. One verse ("Oh, she walks slowly past a young man's room") seems to refer to incest, though. "There was no incest in my situation," Vedder told Rolling Stone's Brian Hiatt in 2006. "But people who knew my dad — women — would come over and stare at me when I was a teenager like you wouldn't believe. They were looking at me because I have his face and he'd been dead for 10 years at least. So they can't take their eyes off me. And I probably caught my mom — you know, she'd just stare at me."

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