• Long Road

  • Pearl Jam and the Soundtrack of a Generation
  • By: Steven Hyden
  • Narrated by: Ron Hippe
  • Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (59 ratings)

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Long Road

By: Steven Hyden
Narrated by: Ron Hippe
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Publisher's Summary

A leading music journalist’s riveting chronicle of how beloved band Pearl Jam shaped the times, and how their legacy and longevity have transcended generations.

Ever since Pearl Jam first blasted onto the Seattle grunge scene three decades ago with their debut album, Ten, they have sold 85M+ albums, performed for hundreds of thousands of fans around the world, and have even been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In Long Road: Pearl Jam and the Soundtrack Of A Generation, music critic and journalist Steven Hyden celebrates the life, career, and music of this legendary group, widely considered to be one of the greatest American rock bands of all time. Long Road is structured like a mix tape, using 18 different Pearl Jam classics as starting points for telling a mix of personal and universal stories. Each chapter tells the tale of this great band—how they got to where they are, what drove them to greatness, and why it matters now.

Much like the generation it emerged from, Pearl Jam is a mass of contradictions. They were an enormously successful mainstream rock band who felt deeply uncomfortable with the pursuit of capitalistic spoils. They were progressive activists who spoke in favor of abortion rights and against the Ticketmaster monopoly, and yet they epitomized the sound of traditional, male-dominated rock ‘n’ roll. They were looked at as spokesmen for their generation, even though they ultimately projected profound confusion and alienation. They triumphed, and failed, in equal doses—the quintessential Gen-X tale.

Impressive as their stats, accolades, and longevity may be, Hyden also argues that Pearl Jam’s most definitive accomplishment lies in the impact their music had on Generation X as a whole. Pearl Jam’s music helped an entire generation of listeners connect with the glory of bygone rock mythology, and made it relevant during a period in which tremendous American economic prosperity belied a darkness at the heart of American youth. More than just a chronicle of the band’s career, this book is also a story about Gen- X itself, who like Pearl Jam came from angsty, outspoken roots and then evolved into an establishment institution, without ever fully shaking off their uncertain, outsider past. For so many Gen-Xers growing up at the time, Pearl Jam’s music was a beacon that offered both solace and guidance. They taught an entire generation how to grow up without losing the purest and most essential parts of themselves.

Written with his celebrated blend of personal memoir, criticism, and journalism, Hyden explores Pearl Jam’s path from Ten to now. It's a chance for new fans and old fans alike to geek out over Pearl Jam minutia—the B-sides, the beloved deep cuts, the concert bootlegs—and explore the multitude of reasons why Pearl Jam’s music resonated with so many people. As Hyden explains, “Most songs pass through our lives and are swiftly forgotten. But Pearl Jam is forever.” 

©2022 Steven Hyden (P)2022 Hachette Books

What listeners say about Long Road

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The long wait

I’ve been waiting for this book months. Finally it’s here, and I can’t wait to get going!!!

1 person found this helpful

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Not feeling it

just feels like a over worded love letter. There is some decent stuff in there, but it's buried under all the fanfare. I love them too, but it was just a bit much for me

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Excellent book on PJ from inception to 2022

Excellent book on PJ from a fan and serious music critic. Hyden does a very good job of talking about the band’s evolution overtime, and its cultural significance, both in the 1990s and afterwards. Having grown up in the 90s, I could recall many of the events he discussed and could identify with many of his points. It’s also a could survey of the history of the band.

A fun gimmick of the book is that each chapter is named for at least one song, many of which are from specific live performances. I was able to locate and listen to all of these, which served as an entertaining accompaniment for each chapter.

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The legacy of Pearl Jam

The book isn't so much a biography of the band as it is an examination of how the band shaped their time and why the continue to endure. Pearl Jam fans will appreciate it.

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Lifelong PJ fan

This is awesome. Want to fact check some things. But overall a revelation and already planning on listening through again bc there are so many interesting stories and facts. Only part I could possibly said negative is that I wish there was more detail on events/stories etc from 2000 to present. This could partly bc from 80’s to 2000 it’s so detailed. Must read/listen for any music fan… especially alt rock children of the 90’s

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  • SB
  • 09-30-22

Excellent read!

I loved this book from start to finish. Steven Hyden's writing is second to none. The story has an excellent flow to it and the 'mix tape' presentation is unique. Every Pearl Jam fan past and present should read this book.

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on Chapter 5 and love this

i purchased a credit for this n so happy i did ….. great read/ listen…( so far - ) PLUS between this book release and the 2022 bootlegs?!?! it’s just …… an all encompassing trip. ;D)))) thank you !