Go (Pearl Jam song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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"
ReleasedOctober 25, 1993
FormatCD single, Cassette, vinyl
RecordedMarch 1993 at The Site, Nicasio, California
GenreGrunge, alternative metal
Songwriter(s)Eddie Vedder, Dave Abbruzzese
Producer(s)Brendan O'Brien, Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam singles chronology
Audio sample

"Go" is a song by 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 Album Rock Tracks chart and number two in New Zealand (their highest-charting song there alongside "Spin the Black Circle"), and it received a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 1995 Grammy Awards. 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 to reach the UK top 40, and it stalled at number 190. 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-ten single). "Go" peaked at number 22 on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart, number 21 in the Netherlands, and number five in Norway. In New Zealand, the single reached number two to become Pearl Jam's highest-charting song in that country. "Spin the Black Circle" matched this peak in 1994.

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 (1993–1994) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[9] 22
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[10] 35
Germany (Official German Charts)[11] 96
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[12] 23
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[13] 21
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[14] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[15] 5
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[16] 190
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[17] 8
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[18] 3


  1. ^ Crowe, Cameron (October 28, 1993). "Five Against the World". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 23, 2007.
  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. Archived from the original on June 29, 2012. Retrieved July 1, 2007.
  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 September 5, 2007.
  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. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Pearl Jam – Go". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  12. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 45, 1993" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  13. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Pearl Jam – Go" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  14. ^ "Charts.nz – Pearl Jam – Go". Top 40 Singles.
  15. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Pearl Jam – Go". VG-lista.
  16. ^ "Chart Log: 1994-2006". Retrieved June 11, 2007.
  17. ^ "Pearl Jam Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  18. ^ "Pearl Jam Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved March 11, 2017.

External links[edit]