NEW YORK (Billboard) - Pearl Jam has unearthed a host of unreleased tracks and special surprises from its vaults for a reissue of its 1991 debut album, “Ten.”
Four different editions will be available March 24 from its former Epic Records label; pre-orders begin Wednesday at PearlJam.com.
Each version includes a digitally remastered version of the original album as well as a new remix of the set by longtime producer Brendan O’Brien, who did not work on “Ten” but produced Pearl Jam’s subsequent four albums. Bassist Jeff Ament and designer Andy Fischer teamed to revamp the artwork.
The O’Brien disc also includes six previously unreleased songs from the era: early versions of “Breath” and “State of Love and Trust,” “Brother” (with vocals, not the instrumental version from the 2003 rarities collection “Lost Dogs”), “Just a Girl,” “Evil Little Goat” and “2,000 Mile Blues,” a Stevie Ray Vaughan-inspired jam with improvised vocals from frontman Eddie Vedder.
Band members have been asking O’Brien to take a crack at a complete remix for years, and he gave the idea a trial run when he remixed the “Ten” tracks “Once,” “Black” and “Alive” for Pearl Jam’s 2004 greatest hits album “Rearviewmirror.”
“The original ‘Ten’ sound is what millions of people bought, dug and loved, so I was initially hesitant to mess around with that,” O’Brien said of the album, which has sold 9.6 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and vaulted Pearl Jam to global superstardom. According to the Recording Industry Assn. of America, more than 12 million copies have been shipped to U.S. retailers.
“After years of persistent nudging from the band, I was able to wrap my head around the idea of offering it as a companion piece to the original — giving a fresh take on it, a more direct sound,” he said.
The “Legacy” edition of “Ten” adds a DVD of Pearl Jam’s previously unreleased 1992 performance on “MTV Unplugged,” including a never-aired version of “Oceans.” The audio has been remixed in 5.1 surround sound. Fans can also opt for a double-vinyl version featuring the original “Ten” on one LP and O’Brien’s remix on the other.
But the package sure to send hardcore fans into a tizzy is the “Super Deluxe Edition,” which features two CDs, a DVD and four vinyl records. It is housed in a linen-covered, slip-cased clamshell box with a replica of an item second to none in Pearl Jam lore.
In 1990, when Ament and guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready were getting the nascent Pearl Jam going in Seattle, they recorded three instrumentals to send to the then-unknown Vedder, who’d been recommended by Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Jack Irons.
Vedder, then living in San Diego, overdubbed vocals onto the tape, in the process creating the songs “Alive,” “Once” and “Footsteps” (he was invited to join the band within weeks). Poor quality bootlegs of the demo, dubbed “Momma-Son,” have circulated for years, but the “Super Deluxe Edition” will include a crystal-clear dub of the tape on a replica cassette.
In addition, fans will receive Pearl Jam’s previously unreleased September 20, 1992, concert at Seattle’s Magnuson Park (dubbed Drop in the Park) on two vinyl LPs and a replica of Vedder’s composition notebook packed with notes, photos and memorabilia from the “Ten” era.
The “Ten” reissue is the first piece of a two-year campaign culminating with the band’s 20th anniversary in 2011. Additional details have yet to be announced.
Meanwhile, Pearl Jam is recording its ninth studio album (its first with O’Brien producing since 1998’s “Yield”), which is expected for release next year.