I Got Id

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"I Got Id"
Song by Pearl Jam featuring Neil Young from the album Merkin Ball (EP)
Released December 5, 1995
Recorded February 7–10, 1995 at Bad Animals Studio, Seattle, Washington
Genre Alternative rock, grunge
Length 4:53
Label Epic
Writer(s) Eddie Vedder
Producer(s) Brett Eliason
Merkin Ball (EP) track listing
"I Got Id"
(Track 1)
"Long Road"
(Track 2)

"I Got Id", alternative title "Merkinball", is a song by the American rock band Pearl Jam featuring Neil Young. Written by vocalist Eddie Vedder, "I Got Id" appears as the A-side to the 1995 Merkin Ball EP. The song reached number two on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, number three on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, and peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was included on Pearl Jam's 2004 greatest hits album, rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991–2003).

The song's name is "I Got Id"[1] (as in the Freudian concept of id) and not "I Got ID" (as in a form of identification), a frequent mistake in labeling the album's songs. "I Got Id" is also known as "I Got Shit" by the band and its fans, due to the actual lyrics of the song, "I got memories, I got shit..." It is rumored that when Vedder proposed the idea of a single to Epic, the label made him change the title of the song.[2]

Origin and recording[edit]

"I Got Id" was written by vocalist Eddie Vedder. The song was recorded during the sessions for the Neil Young/Pearl Jam collaboration Mirror Ball. Only two members of Pearl Jam appear on the track, Vedder and drummer Jack Irons. Neil Young plays lead guitar on the track and Mirror Ball producer Brendan O'Brien plays bass.

Upon introducing the song at Pearl Jam's September 19, 1998 concert in Washington, D.C. at Constitution Hall, Vedder stated that "[Neil Young] gave me a song writing lesson at a half-price rate; this is what I came up with...on my final, he gave me a B+ I think."[3] At Pearl Jam's May 10, 2006 concert in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the Air Canada Centre, Vedder revealed that the song's chorus melody was inspired by the verse melody in Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" from the 1969 album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.[4]


The lyrics for "I Got Id" carry the theme of unrequited love. The lyrics describe an anxiety-ridden narrator and his or her goal of returning to a less controlled state.


As the A-side of the Merkin Ball single, "I Got Id" peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. On the rock charts, the song peaked at number two on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number three on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. It appeared on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 Airplay chart, reaching the top 40.

In Canada, the song reached the top 80 on the Canadian Singles Chart, and later it charted on the Canadian Alternative Top 30 chart where it reached number two. "I Got Id" also reached number 48 on the Canadian Year End Alternative Top 50. "I Got Id" reached the top 30 in the UK and peaked at number two on the Australian Singles Chart. "I Got Id" reached the top 40 in the Netherlands, the top 30 in Ireland, and was a top ten success in Finland and Norway. It was a moderate top 20 success in New Zealand and Sweden.

Jonathan Cohen of AllMusic called "I Got Id" "an even mix of Vitalogy's raw rock and No Code's major-key majesty."[2] David Browne of Entertainment Weekly called "I Got Id" a "standard PJ chest thumper."[5]

Live performances[edit]

"I Got Id" was first performed live at the band's February 21, 1995 concert in Osaka, Japan at Kosei Nenkin Kaikan.[6] Live performances of "I Got Id" can be found on various official bootlegs. A performance of the song is also included on the DVD Touring Band 2000.

Chart positions[edit]

The song goes by the alternative title "Merkinball" as well.


  1. ^ (1995) Album notes for Merkin Ball by Pearl Jam, [CD booklet]. New York: Sony Music.
  2. ^ a b Cohen, Jonathan. "allmusic ((( Merkin Ball > Review )))". Allmusic. Retrieved March 21, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Pearl Jam: 1998 Concert Chronology: Part 3". fivehorizons.com.
  4. ^ "Pearl Jam Concert Chronology: 2006". TwoFeetThick.com.
  5. ^ Browne, David. "Merkin Ball". Entertainment Weekly. December 22, 1995.
  6. ^ "Pearl Jam Songs: "I Got Id"". pearljam.com.
  7. ^ "PEARL JAM - MERKINBALL (EP) (SINGLE) (98732)". Australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  8. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  9. ^ "PEARL JAM - MERKINBALL (EP) (SONG)". New Zealand-charts.com. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  10. ^ "Norwegian Single/Album Chart / Pearl Jam / Longplay". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  11. ^ "Swedish Single/Album Chart / Pearl Jam / Longplay". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  12. ^ "EveryHit.com". Retrieved 2007-02-16. 
  13. ^ a b c "Pearl Jam Artist Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  14. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 62, No. 24, January 29, 1996". RPM. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  15. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 62, No. 23, January 22, 1996". RPM. Retrieved 2007-03-07. 
  16. ^ "Dutch Single/Album Chart / Pearl Jam / Longplay". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  17. ^ "Finnish Single/Album Chart / Pearl Jam / Longplay". finnishcharts.com. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  18. ^ "Polish Singles Chart |". 
  19. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 64, No. 18, December 16, 1996". RPM. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  20. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1996". Retrieved 2010-08-27.