Pearl Jam’s ‘Not So Legal’ Influence From John Paul Jones Explained By The Producer

In a recent chat with Rick Beato, Pearl Jam’s producer Brendan O’Brien explained how Pearl Jam’s ‘Better Man’ was influenced by John Paul Jones.

The producer made a positive comment about the song but the band wasn’t initially thrilled because it sounded too mainstream. They didn’t want to seem like they were chasing a hit. Inspired by Jones, they added a pump organ that helped the band warm up to the song. O’Brien stated:

“That’s so John Paul Jones. I’m sure I ripped this sound off from him because he would do stuff, especially on their first album, where he would double-track the organ. Like on the beginning of ‘Your Time Is Gonna to Come.’ That’s double-tracked organ.”

Despite Eddie Vedder’s uncertainty about recording ‘Better Man,’ the producer believed in the song’s quality and knew it would eventually shine. Pearl Jam started performing it live before making an official studio version.

Vedder realized the song’s potential after hearing live recordings. So, they decided to record it for their album. However, the song underwent further changes before its release. The track found its place on the band’s third album, ‘Vitalogy.’

Pearl Jam Likes Led Zeppelin

Pearl Jam members never denied that Led Zeppelin was a big influence on them. Jeff Ament mentioned in a 2020 interview that guitarist Stone Gossard is a huge Zeppelin fan:

“Stone was always writing from kind of a Zeppelin angle, so seeing if the fretless could work in that realm was exciting. Even on ‘Gigaton,’ there’s fretless on a couple of songs, and with the writing that I’ve been doing in the past three months, I’m trying to use it more because I think it’s a very under-utilized instrument.”

Previously, Robert Plant also noticed similarities between Pearl Jam’s ‘Given To Fly2 and Led Zeppelin’s ‘Going to California’ when he talked with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready. He joked about originality and mentioned the song during a Sirius XM interview.