Last Kiss (1999) – Pearl Jam

I always enjoyed listening to this cover version of Last Kiss by Pearl Jam. The Last Kiss was originally recorded by Wayne Cochran in 1961 on the Gala label. It failed to do well on the charts. It was later revived by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers in 1964. The song was one of several teen tragedy songs from that period. Soon after I arrived in Colombia I heard the widely popular 1989 Latin version El Ultimo Beso sung by Argentine Leo Dan.

Eddie Vedder found an old record of the song at the Fremont Antique Mall in Seattle, Washington. They recorded it exclusively for their fan club, but radio stations got ahold of it and began airing it. Eventually the song went all the way to #2 in the summer of 1999 in the US. It remains their biggest pop-crossover success. The proceeds from sales of the single went to to benefit refugees in Kosovo.

Oh where, oh where can my baby be?
The Lord took her away from me
She’s gone to heaven, so I got to be good
So I can see my baby when I leave this world

[Verse 1]
We were out on a date in my daddy’s car
We hadn’t driven very far
There in the road, straight ahead
A car was stalled, the engine was dead
I couldn’t stop, so I swerved to the right
I’ll never forget the sound that night
The screaming tires, the busting glass
The painful scream that I heard last

Last Kiss would later appear on the group’s 2003 rarities album Lost Dogs. This version was successful, especially in Australia, where it topped the ARIA Singles Chart for seven weeks. It also reached number one in Iceland for six weeks and as aforementioned peaked at number two in the United States and Canada, making it the band’s highest-charting single in either country.

The band spent only a few thousand dollars mixing the song. Bassist Jeff Ament said, “It was the most minimalist recording we’ve ever done.” Christopher John Farley of Time said, “It’s a spare, morose song with Vedder’s voice warbling lovelorn over a straight-ahead drum beat. Going back to basics has put Pearl Jam back on top.” Guitarist Stone Gossard said, “You can try album after album to write a hit and spend months getting drum sounds and rewriting lyrics, or you can go to a used record store and pick out a single and fall in love with it.

1. Last Kiss – Wikipedia
2. About – Last Kiss – Genius

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music
15 comments on “Last Kiss (1999) – Pearl Jam
  1. Badfinger (Max) says:

    This could be my favorite song by them…they did a great job of making it sound modern but keeping the old feel also.

    • It is my favourite cover by them. Not my favourite song by them, but in my top 20.
      Speaking of covers, Vedder did a great job with Dylan’s Masters of War at his Anniversary Concert.

      I heard Presley’s version of ‘Last Kiss’ and the original and also the Latin version, but none of them close to my ears to Jam’s version.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        Vedder also did a great job of lead singing for the Doors… in fact I thought his vocals were great with them…better than his own songs….but that is just me. I do like them though.
        I’ll check out the Masters of War version

      • Yeh, I remember conversing with you about that in the post ‘Black’. I’m not a fan of the Doors, but i imagine he did a good job.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        I’m not a huge fan either but Matt…he channeled Morrison really well. That is when I started listening to him more.

      • He could have and that’s great and I’m glad you listened to Vedder more because of that.
        Awesome. But to me…Black, Jeremy, Alive, Nothing Man, Better Man..the list goes on – wipes anything off the wall I have heard from the Doors. But that’s just me. Horses for courses.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        I do like the song Jeremy a lot. I forgot about that one.
        Matt let me ask you a question… How do you think people would respond if I posted my songs?

      • I have no idea buddy. I recently posted an image of my face (and Nose) getting face planted on my Holidays.

        Almost no one reads my articles. I don’t have a blog profile to think about. As you know I wanted to hear something from you in private or public.

        I think our music preferences differ a lot, but do what you want Max..

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        I’ll send you something…my email is max.gower@
        Just put that together and email me and I’ll send you a link to hear some.

      • Super man, would be awesome. I’ll be hanging out as well as the tribe here. Haha

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        Ok cool man…I don’t expect you to like it a lot but…just listen to them through headphones…I am NOT a good mixer…I played about everything myself…except drums and I programmed them.

      • I have headphones and will put those suckers in when listening. All good. Can’t wait to hear it.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        They are on their way….

      • Thanks Max! I feel privileged. A good soul.

      • Badfinger (Max) says:

        I don’t know if privileged is the right word LOL…

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