- Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Name = Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Album = Vs.
Background = lightsteelblue
Released = October 19, 1993
track_no = Track 10
Recorded = March 1993 – May 1993 at The Site, Nicasio,
Length = 3:15
Label = Epic
Producer = Brendan O'Brien, Pearl Jam
Dave Abbruzzese, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Eddie Vedder
Chart position =
prev = "Rats"
prev_no = Track 9
next = "Leash"
next_no = Track 11"Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" is a song by the American rock band
Pearl Jam. The song is the tenth track on the band's second studio album, "Vs." (1993). The length of the song's title was a reaction by the band to the fact that most of its songs featured one-word titles. [Vedder, Eddie. [http://www.fivehorizons.com/archive/articles/rockline.shtml "Rockline Interview"] . KISW-FM, Seattle, Washington. October 18, 1993.] The song is often referred to simply as "Small Town" by the band and its fans. The song was not released as a single, however it still managed to reach number 17 on the "Billboard" Modern Rock Tracks chart. An acoustic version of the song can be found on the "Go" single. The song was included on Pearl Jam's greatest hits album, "".
Origin and recording
When discussing how he initially came up with the song, frontman
Eddie Vedderstated that "it was so quick." He elaborated further:
We were recording the second record, and we stayed in this house in San Francisco, and I was outside the house in my own world and the little outhouse had a small room. I'm talking the size of a bathroom. I was able to fit a Shure Vocal Master, which is a 1960's PA, and two big towers of PA and a little amp and a 4 track. I slept in there too. I remember waking up one morning and playing pretty normal chords that sounded good, and I put on the vocal master to hear myself and it came out right quick. I don't even think I scribbled the lyrics down. It took 20 minutes. Stone was sitting outside reading the paper, and he was like "I really like that." So we recorded it that day. [Scaggs, Austin. [http://www.rollingstone.com/news/qa/story/9961927/eddie_vedder_addicted_to_rock "Eddie Vedder: Addicted to Rock"] . "
Rolling Stone". April 21, 2006.]
Vedder about "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town":
It's kind of about a lady, and she's getting on in years, and she's stuck in this small town. Small towns fascinate me: You either struggle like hell to get out, to some people want to stay 'cause then they're the big fish in the small pond, and then others just kind of get stuck there. So here she is working in this little place, and then an old flame comes in, and he's probably driving a nice car and looking kind of sharp - not a fancy car, but he's moved on. And then she sees him, and at first she doesn't even remember who he is, and then she realizes who it is. She's just too embarrassed to say 'hello.' [Wall, Mick. " [http://www.korat.co.il/pearljam/Ibook/Vs/elderlywoman.html Pearl Jam] ". Music Book Services Corporation, 1996. ISBN 1886894337.]
Without being released as a single, the song peaked at number 23 on the "Billboard" Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 17 on the "Billboard" Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1994. David Browne of "
Entertainment Weekly" said the song has "an unexpected melodic delicacy." [Browne, David. [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,308481,00.html "The Courtship of Eddie"] . " Entertainment Weekly". October 22, 1993.] The acoustic guitar-driven "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" is still played on popular rock radio.
The lyric page for the song in the album's liner notes featured a picture of an "elderly woman," but at some point after the first pressings another picture was used in place of the original. Allegedly, the original woman never gave permission for her picture to be used, so Pearl Jam changed the picture to another woman. [Vedder, Eddie. (Speaker). (2003). "2/9/03, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia" [Audio Recording] . Epic.] The difference is easy to spot, as "the new and improved woman behind the counter" is printed below the picture. [(2003) Album notes for "Vs." by Pearl Jam, [CD booklet] . New York: Sony Music.]
The song was premiered live at the band's June 16, 1993 concert in Missoula,
Montana. [ [http://pearljam.com/songs/song.php?song=ElderlyWomanBehindTheCounterInASmallTown "Pearl Jam Songs: "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town""] . pearljam.com.] A live version of "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" was included on the live album " Live on Two Legs". This version managed to reach number 21 on the "Billboard" Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 26 on the "Billboard" Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1998. In Canada, this version reached the top 30 on the Canadian Singles Chart. Live performances of the song can also be found on the "Dissident"/"Live in Atlanta" box set and on the live album " Live at the Gorge 05/06". A performance of the song is also included on the DVD " Live at the Showbox".
A version of the song by
Charlotte Martincan be found on the 2007 album " Reproductions".
"Live on Two Legs" version
* [http://pearljam.com/songs/song.php?song=ElderlyWomanBehindTheCounterInASmallTown Lyrics]
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