Chad Kroeger feat. Josey Scott – “Hero” – (2002)

“Hero” was the theme song for the constantly-being-rebooted Spiderman back in 2002. The song was the result of Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and Saliva’s Josey Scott. Theory of a Deadman frontman Tyler Connolly also co-wrote the song with the other two and performed as part of the group. Mike Kroeger (also of Nickelback) is on bass and the drummer is Matt Cameron (of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden fame). The song was very popular in the aftermath of 9/11 and received a lot of airplay, peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 and in the top five of four other American Billboard charts – and it charted all over the world too. I grew tired of it quickly but I wouldn’t say I loathe it.

Pearl Jam – “Black” – (1991)

Pearl Jam was one of the most important bands of the 1990s and one of the biggest in the grunge scene – even if Nirvana gets so much of the credit. “Black” was the fifth track on Ten – one of the best/most-important albums of the decade. This reached #3 on the Mainstream Rock chart and if you want an example of classic grunge music – it doesn’t come much better than this. It remains one of their best-known and most well-received songs despite the fact that it was never released as a single.

#7 – Pearl Jam – “Jeremy” – (1991)

Pearl Jam’s Ten is one of the seminal albums of the 1990s. And this is one of Pearl Jam’s signature songs. It was a top five hit on the Mainstream and Modern Rock charts and – because of the content, caused a bit of controversy when it came out. The song was written after Eddie Vedder saw a story about a 15-year-old boy who killed himself in front of his class in Texas. The video takes places in a school and the ending had to be edited and it becomes vague as to what happens – whether he (“King Jeremy the Wicked”) shoots his classmates or himself. After the 1999 Columbine school shooting, MTV more or less hid this video away. But it’s still a great song and a brilliant example as to why Pearl Jam is rock royalty.

#48 – Temple of the Dog – “Hunger Strike” – (1991)

Temple of the Dog was kind of a grunge super-group. It featured Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, Mike McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. And Matt Cameron (of both bands). The group released one album in 1991 and was conceived as a tribute to the late Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Mother Love Bone. Of course, when this album came out, no one really knew who Pearl Jam was yet. And no one really knew who Temple of the Dog was until Pearl Jam broke through in 1992. “Hunger Strike” is the best known and highest charting of the songs from this album (although, not necessarily the best). It’s actually a duet between Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder (which is a pretty awesome thing, as both can really belt out some lyrics).

#75 – Pearl Jam – “Betterman” – (1994)

What I love about this song is how it starts off slow, almost ballad-like. Then there is this turning point where the song suddenly becomes an awesome rock song. Vitalogy was otherwise devoid of lasting hits but I’ll go ahead and mention “Yellow Ledbetter” which was an outtake from Ten but was released as the b-side to the “Jeremy” single. “Yellow Ledbetter” is famous not because of massive airplay (it got some, and still does) – but because it’s nearly impossible to understand what in the hell Eddie Vedder is going on about.

#175 – Pearl Jam – “Last Kiss” – (1999)

If you missed the grunge scene but listened to the radio at all in the late 90s, then you might think that this is Pearl Jam’s crowning achievement (it isn’t: Ten was). But this cover of the 1964 version by J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers (which itself was a cover of an obscure song by Wayne Cochran & the C.C. Riders) was released as a single in 1999 – to big success.

#189 – Pearl Jam – “Daughter” – (1993)

The beginning sounds a little like a Sheryl Crow song, but then Eddie Vedder starts singing and you know it’s definitely not Sheryl Crow. This song, from Vs., is more mainstream-radio friendly than any of the big hits from Ten – and that’s probably why I remember it better than the also-excellent “Jeremy” or “Even Flow.”