Go (Pearl Jam song)

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Pearl Jam - Go single cover.jpg
Single by Pearl Jam
from the album Vs.
B-side "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" (acoustic) / "Alone"
Released October 25, 1993
Format CD single, Cassette, vinyl
Recorded March 1993 at The Site, Nicasio, California
Genre Grunge
Length 3:12
Label Epic
Writer(s) Eddie Vedder, Dave Abbruzzese
Producer(s) Brendan O'Brien, Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam singles chronology
Vs. track listing
(Track 1)
(Track 2)

"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).

Origin and recording[edit]

"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]


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]

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 Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Thailand, 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]

"Go" was first performed live at the band's May 13, 1993 concert in San Francisco, California at Slim's Café.[8] On April 3, 1994 in Atlanta, Georgia at the Fox Theatre, Vedder dedicated a live version of the song to Kurt Cobain, days after the Nirvana frontman had escaped from rehab. Cobain's body would be found five days later, on April 8; he 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 the Live 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.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Dave Abbruzzese, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike 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]

Chart (1993–94) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[9] 22
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[10] 35
Germany (Official German Charts)[11] 96
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[12] 23
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[13] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[14] 5
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[15] 190
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[16] 8
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[17] 3


  1. ^ Crowe, Cameron (1993-10-28). "Five Against the World". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-06-23. 
  2. ^ a b c d Garbarini, Vic. "Spit Fire". Guitar World. February 1995.
  3. ^ Peiken, Matt (December 1993). "Dave Abbruzzese of Pearl Jam". Modern Drummer. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  4. ^ Aledort, Andy. "Aural Exam" Archived February 10, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.. Guitar World. July 2000.
  5. ^ Neely, Kim. Five Against One. Diane Publishing Company, 1999. ISBN 0-7567-7409-8
  6. ^ "37th Grammy Awards". Rockonthenet. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  7. ^ True, Chris. "Go > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved on May 16, 2008.
  8. ^ "Pearl Jam Songs: "Go"". pearljam.com.
  9. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Pearl Jam – Go". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  10. ^ "Ultratop.be – Pearl Jam – Go" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ "Musicline.de – Pearl Jam Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  12. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Pearl Jam search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  13. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Pearl Jam – Go". Top 40 Singles.
  14. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Pearl Jam – Go". VG-lista.
  15. ^ "Chart Log: 1994-2006". Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  16. ^ "Pearl Jam – Chart history" Billboard Alternative Songs for Pearl Jam. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  17. ^ "Pearl Jam – Chart history" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for Pearl Jam. Retrieved March 11, 2017.

External links[edit]