Eddie Vedder (Edward Louis Severson III), was born on Dec. 23, 1964 in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. He is best known as the songwriter, lead singer and guitar player of Pearl Jam.
His powerful vocals have earned the #7 spot on the Rolling Stone list of "Best Lead Singers of All Time", and icon status in the world of alternative rock.
After his first solo album, the soundtrack for the 2007 movie Into the Wild, Vedder turned to the ukulele and released a second album entitled Ukulele Songs.
Many headbangers have asked how a hard rocker like Vedder become enthralled by the ukulele?
It all began in the mid 1990s when Eddie Vedder was in Hawaii. While in a convenience store, the ukulele caught his eye and he thought it would make an ideal traveling companion and songwriting tool.
But, that is not where his love love for the strange little instrument began.
The admiration for the ukulele began on a beach some time earlier. While sitting around the campfire, a few of the party-goers began to play their instruments, Vedder included. An elderly fisherman happened to have a ukulele.
Eddie was totally amazed by the way this man's large hands could manipulate the delicate little strings in a beautiful rendition of Elvis Presley's song "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You."
This got his mind rolling about what possibilities the tiny instrument (compared the axe he was accustomed to wielding) had to offer.
Over the years, the ukulele became like a close companion to Vedder. He wrote many songs with the instrument, for his own benefit (which he later included in the album).
He has been quoted as saying that without the ukulele, he would have been all alone. This sentiment is very clear in Ukulele Songs. The entire collection is very personal and comprised mostly of love songs.
Although Vedder claims the songs are totally fiction, the album is dedicated to his wife and daughters, and have a very revealing, honest sound that is much sweeter than the music he wrote with Pearl Jam.
With Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder was the driving force behind what would become the sound of millennial hard rock, which is described as a cross between heavy metal, punk and folksy campfire songs.
Vedder has often used the ukulele as a counterpoint during Pearl Jam
tours, especially during encores, and on his solo tour of 2008. He
stated that the small instrument was great for stimulating sing-alongs. "It's so small," he said. "People feel like they should help it out!"
The inherent modesty of the uke may be what appeals most to Vedder, and other stars like Zooey Deschanel and Taylor Swift, who also find the little thing so attractive.
On the album, Ukulele Songs, Vedder displays such a wide range of emotions that fans can clearly hear the ukulele is not just a fad to him. The songs range from devastating heartache to the joy he feels when looking at his children.
Eddie Vedder and his ukulele, which he considers a lifelong friend, were to set out on another solo tour, but it had to be postponed due to nerve damage causing intense pain in his arm as a result of a recent back injury.
The 13-city solo tour in support of his Ukulele Songs album was
to span about 30 days, starting in Las Vegas and ending in Orlando.
The tour has been rescheduled and now includes several concerts in eight cities and one-night shows in seven others, beginning in Vegas and ending in Clearwater, Florida.