Pearl Jam and their illustrious frontman Eddie Vedder have covered a ton of songs over the years, including Beatles songs — remember how well Vedder did with “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away“? But they’ve never done “Help!” until this past weekend in Prague.
Pearl Jam were in the middle of their set at O2 Arena when Vedder initiated a solo run through the first minute of the Fab Four’s soundtrack smash, a tune that hit #1 in America in 1965. (My colleague Tom Breihan will soon revisit it in his The Number Ones column, which is nearing the end of 1964 right now.) This in turn led to a full-band version of Pearl Jam’s own “Help Help” from 2002’s Riot Act.
Vedder’s solo turn was some stirring, spine-tingling shit, his falsetto outbursts amplified by an arena full of backing vocalists. As evidenced by this and that “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” cover, his voice lends itself to the Beatles catalog, its depth and power putting a pleasing new spin on tracks that were originally sung by singers of a more cheery, chirpy tenor. Pearl Jam ought to make this “Help!” into “Help Help” thing a recurring ritual. Check it out below.