On January 8th, 1991, 15-year-old Jeremy Wade Delle shot himself in the head in front of his English class. Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder read about the incident, and it reminded him of a troubled kid in his own school who fired off a gun in class. Both incidents inspired Vedder to write "Jeremy," and he hired photographer Chris Cuffaro to direct the video. Epic didn't like the results and (much to the chagrin of Vedder) brought in Mark Pellington to remake it.
The video presents Vedder as the narrator of the horrific story, and it culminates with a student coming into class, throwing an apple on his teacher's desk and shooting himself. MTV was uncomfortable with the shot of the kid putting the gun into his mouth, so they edited that out. The next shot was his classmates covered in blood, frozen still. This led many to wrongly conclude that Jeremy shot up his class. The video went into heavy rotation on MTV, helped break the band and won a ton of MTV Video Music Awards, but when it came time for their next album, the band instituted a strict "no videos" policy. They had little interest in going through all that hassle again, and MTV showed it so many times they felt extremely overexposed.