"Go" is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam, released in 1993 as the first single from the band's second studio album, Vs. (1993). Although credited to all members of Pearl Jam, it features lyrics written by vocalist Eddie Vedder and music primarily written by drummer Dave Abbruzzese. The song peaked at number three on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song was included on Pearl Jam's 2004 greatest hits album, rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991–2003).

Contents[edit | edit source]

 [hide*1 Origin and recording

Origin and recording[edit][edit | edit source]

"Go" was one of the songs the band produced during the first week of recording for Vs.[1] The main guitar riff for "Go" was written by drummer Dave Abbruzzese.[2] He initially wrote the music for the song using an acoustic guitar. Abbruzzese said, "With "Go", I just happened to pick up the guitar at the right moment. Stone asked what I was playing and started playing it, then Jeff started playing it, and Eddie started singing with it, and it turned into a song."[3]

Guitarist Stone Gossard added the siren-like guitar part.[2] Gossard on the song:

That song went through a cool evolution that goes back to what we've been saying about creative input. Dave played us the two main parts, that BAM-BAM-BAM groovy chordal riff bit and then the main ascending riff in more of an acoustic vein. Then, when he got behind the drums, everyone turned up real loud and it evolved into something else, a little more hard core.[2]

Guitarist Mike McCready played a yellow Telecaster on the song. McCready threw the guitar on the ground at the end of the take, which can be heard on the recorded version.[4] McCready on the song:

That solo on "Go" was probably the second of three or four takes. And I do have a problem recreating it live, because I wasn't thinking about it at all when we did it in the studio. So on stage, I get into this mode where I'll start to think while I'm playing, "Okay, this sounds like the album, and I want to emulate that." But to really capture that feel of being in the moment, I have to be in contact with the emotion that's running through me RIGHT NOW.[2]

Lyrics[edit][edit | edit source]

In Kim Neely's book Five Against One: The Pearl Jam Story, Abbruzzese quips that vocalist Eddie Vedder told him he wrote the lyrics for "Go" about his pickup truck.[5]This may be a clever joke on the chorus of the song "Please don't go on me," but the full lyrics of the song suggest it is of a much more serious nature.

Release and reception[edit][edit | edit source]

While the "Go" single was released commercially to international markets in 1993, the commercial single was not released in the United States until June 27, 1995 and was only available as a more expensive import version beforehand. "Go" was released as a single in 1993 with a previously unreleased B-side titled "Alone", of which an alternate version can also be found on the compilation album, Lost Dogs (2003). The song peaked at number three on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number eight on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. At the 1995 Grammy Awards, "Go" received a nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance.[6]

Outside the United States, the single was released commercially in AustraliaCanadaIndonesiaThailand, and the United Kingdom. The UK release of this single included a bonus cassette featuring a live version of the Vs. track "Animal", which was distributed free with all the vinyl "Go" singles. This made the song ineligible for the UK top 40 chart. It is unknown how many sales the single generated, but as this was the case Pearl Jam essentially missed out on breaking into the UK's top ten single sales with this release ("Spin the Black Circle" eventually reached number 10 in November 1994, the band's only UK top 10 single). "Go" peaked at number 33 on the Australian Singles Chart, reached the top 30 in the Netherlands, and was a top ten success in New Zealand and Norway.

Chris True of Allmusic said that "Go" "can at times feel like a jam, but a jam that has stripped all the useless meanderings and solos in favor of sheer pace." He added, "For them to open up their second album, Vs. with this rather aggressive song...was an obvious statement by Pearl Jam that they were no longer the band of "Jeremy" fame. This was a band intent on writing its own rule book, taking over their way."[7]

Live performances[edit][edit | edit source]

"Go" was first performed live at the band's May 13, 1993 concert in San FranciscoCalifornia at Slim's Café.[8] On April 3, 1994 in AtlantaGeorgia at the Fox Theatre, Vedder dedicated a live version of the song to Kurt Cobain shortly after the former Nirvana frontman had nearly died as a result of overdosing on alcohol and Rohypnol while on tour in Rome in March 1994. (Cobain's body was not found following his successful suicide attempt until five days later, on April 8. Cobain is believed to have died on April 5). Live performances of "Go" can be found on the "Dissident"/Live in Atlanta box set, the live album Live on Two Legs, various official bootlegs, and theLive at the Gorge 05/06 box set. A performance of the song is also included on the DVD Touring Band 2000. When played live, the percussive intro at the beginning of the song is omitted, with the band launching straight into the main chord progression. This can be heard on Live on Two Legs especially.

Track listing[edit][edit | edit source]

All songs written by Dave AbbruzzeseJeff AmentStone GossardMike McCready, and Eddie Vedder.

CD (US, Australia, Austria, Canada, and Europe) and Cassette (Australia, Indonesia, and Thailand)
  1. "Go" – 3:13
  2. "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" (acoustic) – 3:18
  3. "Alone" – 3:35
CD (Austria and The Netherlands)
  1. "Go" – 3:13
  2. "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" (acoustic) – 3:18
CD (UK) and 12" Vinyl (UK)
  1. "Go" – 3:13
  2. "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" (acoustic) – 3:18
  3. "Alone" – 3:35

Chart positions[edit][edit | edit source]

Chart (1993) Position
New Zealand Singles Chart[9] 2
US Mainstream Rock Tracks[10] 3
Norwegian Singles Chart[11] 5
US Modern Rock Tracks[10] 8
Dutch Singles Chart[12] 21
Australian Singles Chart[13] 22
German Singles Chart[14] 96
Chart (1994) Position
UK Singles Chart[15] 190
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