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"Immortality" is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam, released on June 6, 1995 as the third single from the band's third studio album, Vitalogy (1994). Although credited to all members of Pearl Jam, it was primarily written by vocalist Eddie Vedder. The song peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song was included on Pearl Jam's 2004 greatest hits album, rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991–2003).


 [hide*1 Lyrics


The lyrical interpretation of "Immortality" can be disputed, as many feel it may be about Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain's death, although vocalist Eddie Vedder has denied this. He stated:

No, that was written when we were on tour in Atlanta. It's not about Kurt. Nothing on the album was written directly about Kurt, and I don't feel like talking about him, because it [might be seen] as exploitation. But I think there might be some things in the lyrics that you could read into and maybe will answer some questions or help you understand the pressures on someone who is on a parallel train...[1]

In a later interview, Vedder talked about how he thought of Cobain and himself as "parallel trains." He said, "You look at it objectively and you think, 'What could be so fucking hard about being in a band?' But if you're coming from a place that's real, it's much harder."[2]

Release and reception[edit][]

"Immortality" peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 31 on the BillboardModern Rock Tracks chart. Outside the United States, the single was released commercially in AustraliaAustria,CanadaGermany, and the Netherlands. In Canada, the song reached number 62 on the Canadian Singles Chart, and later it charted on the Canadian Alternative Top 30 chart where it reached number ten. "Immortality" reached the top 30 in New Zealand.

In Allmusic's review of the "Immortality" single, it was stated that "Immortality" is "the best ballad from the otherwise spotty Vitalogy."[3] Jon Pareles of The New York Times called it a "sullen Neil Young-style march" in which Eddie Vedder "ruminates over suicide as an end to pain."[4] David Browne of Entertainment Weekly said that "the sulking, lashing "Immortality" appears to be a Big Statement song about death, yet you'd never know that from its obtuse lyrics."[5]

Live performances[edit][]

"Immortality" was first performed live at the band's April 12, 1994 concert in BostonMassachusetts at the Orpheum Theater.[6] The lyrics that appeared in the first live version of the song were altered before release. Live performances of "Immortality" can be found on various official bootlegs and the live album Live at Benaroya Hall.

The alternate version played in Boston in 1994 featured first-person lyrics, as opposed to the third person lyrics on the studio take, ending in what could be thought of as a reference to the Neil Young song, Hey Hey My My, where Vedder sang the lyrics "Hey hey, this is my last day... my my, know how hard I try/Hey hey, I wouldn't love to stay, my my, I wish I could get high". For years, this version was only available through bootlegs, but a large portion of the concert, including Immortality, was included on a bonus disc of the Vs/Vitalogy reiussue.

Cover versions[edit][]

A live acoustic version of "Immortality" by the band Seether can be found on the band's 2006 live album, One Cold Night.

Track listing[edit][]

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

  1. "Immortality" – 5:18
  2. "Rearviewmirror" – 5:18

Chart positions[edit][]

Chart (1995) Position
US Mainstream Rock Tracks[7] 10
New Zealand Singles Chart[8] 29
US Modern Rock Tracks[7] 31
Canadian RPMSingles Chart[9] 62
Canadian RPM Alternative 30[10] 10