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 The Five Horizons Foundation
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9/11/11

Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter

Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia.com in regards to the lyrics of this song.

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The song title "Yellow Ledbetter" is derived from the actual name of an old friend of Vedder from Chicago, named Tim Ledbetter.[2] The lyrics of "Yellow Ledbetter" have proven indecipherable when heard live and even on the recorded version, as Vedder mumbles through much of the song with only certain parts being heard prominently, such as the famous line at the end of each verse "I said, I don’t know whether I was the boxer or the bag," with these parts of the song heard on almost every live rendition of the song. There are many unofficial lyrics on various websites.


Although many fans have made their own interpretations of the song, a common theory has been that the song is about someone receiving a letter and finding his or her brother had died overseas in war,[6] cited from the lyrics in the Live at the Garden version "I don't know whether my brother will be coming home in a box or a bag".[7] On the official bootleg release of 5/3/03 - State College, Pennsylvania, Vedder sings "I'd like to wish this war away, and I tried but it just, just don't happen, don't happen that way/And my brother...they sent him off to fight for the flag, I just, I don't hope he comes home in a box or a bag", and "And I know that he's just following his path, as long, as long as it's not a box or a bag."[8] On the official bootleg release of 7/11/03 - Mansfield, Massachusetts, Vedder sings in the first verse "I think of him when I go to bed, and he's coming home in a box or a bag."[9]


Regarding the song, Vedder said in an online chat that it was written around the time of the Gulf War, and added that "it's an anti-patriotic song, actually."[10] On August 7, 2008, at a solo performance in Newark, New Jersey at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Vedder took a question from the audience requesting that he explain the meaning of "Yellow Ledbetter". At first, Vedder joked, saying, "Wait...you mean there's lyrics?" He went on to talk about how the song took as its subject a friend of his from Seattle whose brother served in the first Gulf War. His friend received a "yellow letter" in the mail informing him that his brother had died in the war. Vedder and his friend then went for a walk. On this walk, the friend, whom Vedder described as "alternative-looking," happened by a house with an American flag flying, and people on the porch. He stopped and gestured to the flag, as if to salute it, however the people on the porch glared at him disapprovingly due to his appearance.[11]

Source

   
Lyrics:


Unsealed, On the porch a letter sat,
And she said, I wanna leave here again.
Once I saw her, on a beach of weathered sand,
And on the sand, I wanna leave here again.
And they called, and I said that I know what I said,
And I called out again.
And the reason, ought to leave her calm, I know,
I said, I dont know whether I'm the boxer or the bag.

Ah yeah, Can you see them? Out on their porch?
Yeah, But they don't wave.
I see them, round the front way, And I know and I know,
I dont wanna stay.
Make me cry.

I see.. Oh I dont know why there's something else.
Wanna drum it all away.
I said, I dont, i dont know whether I'm the boxer or the bag.

Ah hey, can you see them? Out on their porch?
Yeah, but they don't wave.
I see them, round the front way,
And i know and I know, I dont wanna stay, oh no..
I don't wanna stay.
I don't wanna stay.
I don't wanna stay, I don't.
Yeah.
Oh..


Watch Mike McCready tear up a solo at the end.



2 comments:

  1. Yes what a great clip....very spiritual! i so wish i was on the UK tour....:(

    ReplyDelete
  2. There's something about the intro that has always reminded me of Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Little Wing."

    ReplyDelete