Pete Yorn

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Pete Yorn
Pete Yorn in Austin, Texas.jpg
Yorn in 2006
Background information
Birth namePeter Joseph Yorn
Born (1974-07-27) July 27, 1974 (age 48)
Pompton Plains, New Jersey, U.S.
GenresAlternative rock, indie rock, indie folk
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, harmonica, drums, bass, piano, analog synthesizer
Years active1990–present
LabelsShelly Music, Capitol, Columbia, Rhino, Vagrant, Warner Brothers (France), Trampoline

Peter Joseph Yorn (born July 27, 1974) is an American singer, songwriter, and musician. He first gained international recognition after his debut record, Musicforthemorningafter, was released to critical and commercial acclaim in 2001. He is known for playing the bulk of the instruments on his records. Spin magazine, in a career retrospective article dated March 26, 2021, recognized Yorn as one of his generation's best songwriters.[1] Yorn’s 10th full length album, Hawaii, was released on June 17, 2022.

Early life[edit]

Yorn was born in Pompton Plains, New Jersey,[2] and raised Jewish[3] in Montville, New Jersey, the son of Joan, a former school teacher and real estate agent, and Lawrence K. Yorn, a retired dentist and former Captain in the United States Army.[4] Yorn attended Montville Township High School.[5][6] Yorn graduated from Syracuse University in 1996.[7] His brother Rick is a major talent manager in Hollywood, and was responsible for teaching nine-year-old Pete to play the drums.[8] His eldest brother Kevin Yorn is an entertainment lawyer.

Yorn mentions the Nova Scotia band Sloan as one with great influence on him, even admitting after seeing them live in 1999, he was so blown away by their talent that he wondered whether it would be worth continuing to even pursue his debut album. Sloan would later tour with Yorn in the US.



Yorn released his debut LP, entitled musicforthemorningafter, on March 27, 2001. It went gold on the strength of the album's lead single, "Life on a Chain." Rolling Stone Magazine named Yorn one of "Ten [artists] to Watch in 2001" and gave the album a favorable four-star rating. Yorn and his band "Dirty Bird" toured for 18 months straight in support of his debut record.

Yorn went on to release the 2003 album Day I Forgot which had sold over 275,000 copies in the United States as of 2005 [9] and scored a third radio hit with the song "Come Back Home." Q Magazine, in its 4 star review, described the record as simply "wonderful". The record also featured "Crystal Village", and "Turn of The Century". The latter was featured in the 2004 film The Girl Next Door. On the heels of the extensive 'Day I Forgot' tour, Yorn released a double live album, "LIVE From New Jersey", which was recorded at the Community Theater in Morristown, New Jersey.

In 2006, Yorn released his third album, Nightcrawler and toured extensively in support of it. He preceded every show with an instore acoustic appearance at an indie record shop in the town he was passing through. All of these instore performances were recorded, thus creating an extensive series of Live EP's. (complete list of instore EP's below). Nightcrawler was named one of the top 20 records of 2006 by Paste magazine.

The Trilogy[edit]

Pete Yorn's third studio release, Nightcrawler, completes a conceptual trilogy of sorts,[10] which spans his first three albums (EPs not included); beginning in the morning with the musicforthemorningafter LP, continuing through the day with the Day I Forgot LP, and arriving at nightfall with the Nightcrawler LP.

In September 2006, in an interview with, Yorn elaborated on his true intentions behind the trilogy, remarking that it was at least partially a conscious trilogy but wasn't meant to be taken too seriously: "I didn't mean like a Star Wars trilogy where it's one story at all." Yorn expressed that the "trilogy" was more of a diary of sorts; a person gaining new life experiences and simply commenting on them in linear order. "So it's a sort of continuing analysis of those topics, and the Nightcrawler LP would represent a later phase," Yorn said.[10]

Subsequent releases[edit]

Yorn in 2006

In 2008, Pete Yorn recorded with Frank Black and released a new song, entitled "American Blues Vol. 1." A music video was shot for the single, and the song itself was released for free on Yorn's official website for a short period of time. Concerning the song, Yorn has said "I wrote American Blues Vol. 1. on the 4th of July after reading the morning paper. It's unlike any song I've ever written. I was moved by how much negativity I was reading about and how even groups were boycotting Independence Day because they were so disgusted with the state of our Nation. I was hoping things would improve...they obviously haven't yet...but I know they will in time."[11]

Yorn appears on Canadian artist Matthew Good's 2009 album Vancouver performing backing vocals.

"Can't Hear Anyone," a song that Yorn wrote during the Nightcrawler sessions, was used for a Mercedes-Benz commercial[12] and was released as a digital single on March 31, 2009.

Columbia Records released his Mike Mogis-produced album, entitled Back and Fourth on June 23, 2009.[13]

Yorn toured with Coldplay as an opening act through summer 2009 and collaborated with actress/musician Scarlett Johansson to record a project entitled Break Up. The album was released on September 15, 2009, and its first single—"Relator"—was released digitally on May 26, 2009. The record has since gone platinum in France.[14]

Yorn released a self-titled album on September 28, 2010. This record was released by Vagrant Records, and produced by Frank Black of The Pixies. It received a favorable 8/10 stars in Spin magazine and 4/5 stars in Mojo. He toured North America and Europe in support of this record February 14 − June 12, 2011.

In November 2012, Santa Monica-based radio station KCRW began spinning songs from a new record by a band called The Olms. DJ Jason Bentley has reported that Yorn is indeed a founding member of this group. On January 8, 2013, NPR's flagship station KCRW released a track by The Olms titled, "Wanna Feel It."[15] The Olms' self-titled debut album was released on June 4, 2013 by the newly relaunched Harvest Records.[16] On September 15, 2013, Yorn and The Olms performed along with Vampire Weekend at the iTunes Festival in London. An EP was released of the performance in conjunction with a documentary centered around their first tour which premiered on November 12, 2013.[17] in its 4 star review of The Olms had this to say: " excellent album by two guys who have discovered the transformative power that can be derived from collaboration".

On November 6, 2015 in a statement to fans, Yorn announced that he had signed to Capitol Records[18] and would be releasing his sixth studio album, ArrangingTime in early 2016.

In 2018, Yorn once again collaborated with Johansson on a new EP, Apart, their first such project since working together on 2009's Break Up. In an interview with Forbes, Yorn remarked on how much the album, contrasted with the previous collaboration, provides perspective on how his life changed in the past decade, while Johansson teased a third album presumably to be released in the late 2020s.[19]

On August 9, 2019 Yorn released his seventh solo full-length album Caretakers via his new label Shelly Music. It was produced by Pete Yorn and Jackson Phillips of Day Wave. Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave Caretakers four stars in his All Music Guide review, calling it " appealing blend that sets it apart from most other albums in 2019".[citation needed] The first single from Caretakers, "Calm Down", reached #2 on the Mediabase AAA radio chart, almost 19 years after his debut single "Life on a Chain" went all the way to #1 and stayed there for 6 weeks back in 2001.

Pete Yorn Live at the Troubadour[edit]

Pete Yorn Live at the Troubadour was released digitally and on CD via Bandcamp on May 14, 2020.

Pete Yorn: Live at the Fonda[edit]

Released on August 29, 2020 Pete Yorn: Live at the Fonda is a digital and CD double live release on Bandcamp. The package comes with a concert film shot by director and longtime collaborator Jim Wright (at the same show as the album on August 28, 2009). Covers during the set include Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart" and New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle".

Pete Yorn Sings the Classics[edit]

On January 15, 2021, Shelly Records released Pete Yorn Sings the Classics, a full-length record of cover songs. It starts with his version of the Pixies "Here Comes Your Man" and ends with the classic "Moon River" (originally recorded in 1961). Liz Phair, Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters, Wallflowers) and Tim Walker (Minibar) are some of the guest musicians on the 10 song studio album. Yorn made the record with longtime friend and fellow musician/producer Marc "Doc" Dauer. The record was initially released on CD and digital formats through Pete's Bandcamp store. Vinyl release is expected for Record Store Day in the Spring of 2021. Writer Jim Beviglia at American Songwriter called it an "outstanding new covers album" and added "The affection and care that Yorn holds for the chosen material show up early and often in Pete Yorn Sings the Classics." On January 19, 2021 Pete performed the song "They Don't Know" which was written by Kirsty MacColl on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.


Guitarist Peter Buck of the band R.E.M. has made appearances on several Pete Yorn recordings, including instrumentation on the single version of "Strange Condition" and a number of songs from the Day I Forgot LP. Yorn has worked with producers R. Walt Vincent, Brad Wood, and Ken Andrews of Failure and Year of the Rabbit, in addition to several other producers including Scott Litt, Butch Walker and Sonic Youth producer Don Fleming.

Yorn has shared bills with the Dave Matthews Band, R.E.M., Crowded House, Foo Fighters, Weezer, Coldplay, The Dixie Chicks, Semisonic, and Sunny Day Real Estate, among others.

Yorn has played at Carnegie Hall on two occasions as part of tributes to Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. Yorn gave the 2011 commencement address to the Visual and Performing Arts class at his alma mater, Syracuse University.

Yorn can be heard on Guided by Voices' 2007 Live From Austin Texas album, singing back up and sporadic leads on "Cut Out Witch." Robert Pollard says after the song that he hopes it "doesn't ruin [Yorn's] career."

Yorn's song, "Lose You" can be heard just before the ending credits of the episode "Simple Explanation" during Kutner's funeral on the Fox show House, MD.

Yorn has collaborated twice with actress/singer Scarlett Johansson: first in 2009's Break Up and again with 2018's Apart.[20] The pair have suggested a third album can be expected after another 10 years.



Year Album Peak chart positions Sales Certifications

2001 musicforthemorningafter 111
2003 Day I Forgot 18
2006 Nightcrawler 50 17
2009 Back and Fourth[29][30] 32 14
2009 Break Up (with Scarlett Johansson)[32] 41 14 18 89 58
2010 Pete Yorn 66 22
2016 ArrangingTime 63 7
2019 Caretakers
2021 Pete Yorn Sings the Classics
2022 Hawaii

Live albums[edit]


  • Sunset (2000)
  • Westerns (2006)
  • You & Me Acoustic: Live from... (2006)
  • Live from SoHo (iTunes-exclusive) (2007)
  • The Demos: Garage Sessions Vol. 1 (2009)
  • Paradise Cove (2009)[35][36]
  • Apart (with Scarlett Johansson) (2018)


Title Year Peak chart positions Album
Germany[25] US

Adult Pop


"Life on a Chain" 2001 35 1 musicforthemorningafter
"For Nancy ('Cos It Already Is)" 28
"Strange Condition" 2002 36 34 1
"Come Back Home" 2003 32 4 Day I Forgot
"Crystal Village" 28 2
"For Us" 2006 38 5 Nightcrawler
"Alive" 2007
"Don't Wanna Cry" 2009 9 Back and Fourth
(with Scarlett Johansson)
91 Break Up
"Precious Stone" 2010 Pete Yorn
"Summer Was a Day" 2015 ArrangingTime
"Lost Weekend" 2016 16
"Bad Dreams"
(with Scarlett Johansson)
2018 Apart EP
"Calm Down" 2019 6 Caretakers
"I Wanna Be the One" 2020 25
"Elizabeth Taylor" 2021 31 Hawaii
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Non-album tracks[edit]


  • "June" (2001), directed by Steven Orrit
  • "For Nancy ('Cos It Already Is)," directed by Malik Sayeed
  • "Life on a Chain" (2001), directed by Samuel Bayer
  • "Strange Condition" (2002), directed by Marcos Siega
  • "Come Back Home" (2004), directed by AV Club
  • "Crystal Village" (2004), directed by AV Club
  • "For Us" (2006), directed by Robert Hales
  • "American Blues Vol. 1 (2009)
  • "Sans Fear" (2010), directed by Eric Ernest Johnson
  • "Lost Weekend" (2016)

Backing band[edit]

Yorn's most recent touring band was composed of members of the indie dream-pop band Day Wave. *Jackson Phillips (synth and guitar) & Henry Moser (bass) + previous bandmates, Joe Kennedy (guitar and keyboards) and Malcolm Cross (drums Previous bands have included…

Yorn's Back & Fourth touring band was:

Pete Yorn's Nightcrawler era touring band was Minibar, hailing from Britain and including the following members:

  • Malcolm Cross – drums
  • Sid Jordan – bass guitar and backing vocals
  • Joe Kennedy – piano, guitar, and backing vocals (not part of Minibar)
  • Simon Petty – backing vocals and guitar
  • Tim Walker – guitars

Pete Yorn's former backing band went by the name Dirty Bird and includes the following members:

  • Luke Adams – drums
  • Terry Borden – bass guitar and backing vocals
  • Jason Johnson – guitar
  • Joe Kennedy – piano, guitar, backing vocals
  • R. Walt Vincent – bass guitar
  • Scot Coogan – drums

Pete Yorn's "eternal bandmates":

  • Joe Kennedy – piano, guitar, and backing vocals
  • WAZ – bass guitar, guitar, and back vocals
  • Rick Yorn – drums


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  2. ^ Kausch, Katie. "12 Celebs With Morris County Ties From game show hosts to Tony winners, these 12 celebrities all have ties to Morris County-- including some you might not have known.", Long Valley, NJ, Patch, October 16, 2017. Accessed November 21, 2020. "Another Montville native, Pete Yorn was born in Pompton Plains and attended Montville High School."
  3. ^ John Newlin (2009-04-17). "Interview: Exclusive with Pete Yorn – Pete Yorn". Retrieved 2016-03-01.
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  5. ^ Hicks, Robert. "Montville's Pete Korn [sic] travels at his own pace", Daily Record (Morristown), August 11, 2006. Accessed February 23, 2011.
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  11. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-08-14.
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  16. ^ "The Olms – The Olms | Release Info". AllMusic. 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2016-03-01.
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  19. ^ Baltin, Steve. "Scarlett Johansson And Pete Yorn Talk Friendship, Collaborating, Parenting And More". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
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  32. ^ "PY&SJ Break Up". Retrieved 2011-08-14.
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External links[edit]