Pearl Jam was formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1990 by bassist Jeff Ament, guitarist Stone Gossard, and guitarist Mike McCready, who then recruited vocalist Eddie Vedder and drummer Dave Krusen. The band signed to Epic Records in 1991.
A few months after the completion of the band's debut studio album, “Ten,” drummer Dave Abbruzzese joined the band. “Ten” broke Pearl Jam into the mainstream, and became one of the best-selling alternative albums of the 1990s. “Ten” was not an immediate success, but by late 1992 it had reached #2 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The album produced three hit singles, "Alive,” "Even Flow” and "Jeremy.” The album has been certified diamond by the RIAA in the United States, and remains Pearl Jam's most successful album.
Following an intense touring schedule, the band went into the studio to record what would become its second studio album, “Vs.” Upon its release, “Vs.” set the record for most copies of an album sold in a week, and spent five weeks at the top of the Billboard 200. The album has been certified seven times platinum by the RIAA in the United States. “Vs.” included the hit singles "Go,” "Daughter,” "Animal,” and "Dissident.” All four singles placed on the Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock charts. "Daughter" was the most successful song from “Vs” on the rock charts, reaching the #1 spot on both the Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock charts, spending a total of eight weeks at #1 on the former. Album tracks "Glorified G" and "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" also charted. At the 1995 Grammy Awards, "Daughter" received a nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and "Go" received a nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance. “Vs.” received a nomination for Best Rock Album.
In 1994, the band released its third studio album, “Vitalogy,” which became the band's third straight album to reach multi-platinum status. Three singles were released from “Vitalogy.” The lead single "Spin the Black Circle" was the band's first to enter the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, reaching #18. At the 1996 Grammy Awards, "Spin the Black Circle" won the band its first Grammy Award, receiving the award for Best Hard Rock Performance. Album tracks "Better Man" and "Corduroy" also charted. "Better Man" was the most successful song from “Vitalogy” on the rock charts, spending a total of eight weeks at #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart and reaching #2 on the Modern Rock chart. At the 1996 Grammy Awards, “Vitalogy” received nominations for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album
Following the firing of Abbruzzese in 1994, drummer Jack Irons joined the band. Pearl Jam subsequently released “No Code” in 1996 and although “No Code” debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, it quickly fell down the charts. The album became the first Pearl Jam album to not reach multi-platinum status but it has been certified platinum by the RIAA in the United States. Three singles were released from “No Code.” The lead single "Who You Are" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #31, and reached #1 on the Modern Rock chart and #5 on the Mainstream Rock chart. Neither of the album's other singles, "Hail, Hail" and "Off He Goes,” charted on the Hot 100, but both placed on the Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock charts.
“Yield,” released in 1998, debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, but like “No Code,” soon began dropping down the charts. The album has been certified platinum by the RIAA in the United States. The lead single "Given to Fly" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #21, reached #3 on the Modern Rock chart, and spent a total of six weeks at #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
The band once again changed drummers in 1998, with Irons being replaced by former Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, who had previously worked with the members of Pearl Jam in the Temple of the Dog project. Cameron has remained as Pearl Jam's drummer ever since.
In 1998, Pearl Jam released "Last Kiss" on the band's fan club Christmas single, however, by popular demand the cover was released to the public as a single in 1999. "Last Kiss" became the band's highest-charting single, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2000, Pearl Jam released its sixth studio album, “Binaural,” and initiated a series of "official bootlegs" of live albums. The band released seventy-two such live albums in 2000 and 2001, and set a record for most albums to debut on the Billboard 200 at the same time. “Binaural” debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200. The album became the first Pearl Jam studio album to fail to reach platinum status.
The band released its seventh studio album, “Riot Act,” in 2002, which debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200. The album has been certified gold by the RIAA in the United States. The music on the record featured a diverse sound, including songs influenced by folk, art rock, and experimental music.
Four years later, the band’s eighth studio album, the eponymous “Pearl Jam,” was released in 2006. “Pearl Jam” debuted at #2 on the Billboard chart. The album was well-received critically and eventually outsold “Riot Act.” The album has been certified gold by the RIAA in the United States. The single, "World Wide Suicide" reached #1 on the Modern Rock chart and #41 on the Hot 100.
The band released its ninth studio album, “Backspacer,” in 2009. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and was the only independent release to top the Billboard 200 that year. It is the first Pearl Jam album to reach #1 in the United States since “No Code” debuted at #1 in 1996. “Backspacer” logged its 32nd week on the chart, making the album Pearl Jam's longest-charting album since 1998's “Yield.” The music on the album—the shortest of the band's career—features a sound influenced by pop and New Wave. "The Fixer" reached the Top 10 of the Alternative, Mainstream Rock and Rock charts.
Since its inception, Pearl Jam has sold over thirty million records in the U.S. and an estimated sixty million worldwide.