Reading is Fundamental: “Pearl Jam Twenty” Book Released Today

by John Reynolds on September 13, 2011

Pearl Jam Twenty Book

Pearl Jam writes music. Pearl Jam does not write books. Jonathan Cohen writes books and books music. We’ll give you a minute to digest that.

Today, September 13, 2011, marks the release date of “Pearl Jam Twenty”, the band’s book written by Jonathan Cohen with Mark Wilkerson.  As with the “big three” releases this month for PJ20 – the book, the movie (Sept. 20) and the soundtrack (Sept. 20) – it fulfills the monumental task of encapsulating twenty years of Pearl Jam into a single digestible unit. And you better be hungry, because it’s filled with 384-pages of great writing, foreword by Cameron Crowe, awesome pictures, terrific interviews from the band, those around the band, and plenty of artists.

Jonathan Cohen also meets impassioned fans’ strict qualifications: he’s a former editor and writer, a Ten Club member, a PJ concert traveller, and currently the music booker for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. You won’t get some outsider’s viewpoint; you’ll get the perspective crucial to presenting Pearl Jam the right way.

We need to digest this behemoth ourselves, so we’re not going to review it just yet! In the meantime, here are the links you need to preview, purchase and absorb yourself in this great work:


  • Simon & Schuster, September 2011
  • Hardcover, 384 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1439169217
  • ISBN-13: 9781439169216

Published in celebration of Pearl Jam’s twentieth anniversary and in conjunction with Cameron Crowe’s definitive documentary film and soundtrack of the same name, PEARL JAM TWENTY is an aesthetically stunning and definitive chronicle of their two decades as a band—by the band itself.

In 1991, Pearl Jam’s debut album, Ten catapulted the little-known Seattle-based band into superstardom. Then, at the height of their popularity, the band shunned the spotlight, refusing to shoot videos or do interviews. Even as Pearl Jam’s studio albums continued to be critically acclaimed and commercially successful, selling over 60 million albums worldwide, the inner workings of the band—their day-to-day routines, influences, and motivations—remained unknown even to their diehard fans.

Twenty years later, this is their story. PEARL JAM TWENTY is a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes anecdotes, rare archival memorabilia, and the band’s personal photos, tour notes, and drawings. Told with wit and insight in the band members’ own words, and assembled by veteran music writer Jonathan Cohen with Mark Wilkerson—and including a foreword by Cameron Crowe along with original interviews with legends and contemporaries like Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Dave Grohl—this intimate work provides an in-depth look at a group of musicians who through defying convention established themselves as “the greatest American rock band ever” (USA Today Readers’ Poll 2005).

John Reynolds ( Twitter: @jjjrrr )
A New Jersey based programmer, John handles TFT’s programming and technical aspects. He also conceives and writes his share of TFT’s articles and sections. John’s first Pearl Jam show was at Lollapalooza on August 12, 1992.

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