Music Monday: November 25, 1994

Posted on Updated on

Pearl Jam Image One
Photo Credit: vinylthriftchaser.wordpress.com

Twenty-five years ago, this week (November 19/25, 1994), the song Spin the Black Circle by Pearl Jam debuted on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart (Page 79/ called Album Rock Tracks in 1994), entering at #16 (also its peak). Released November 8, it was the first single from their third album Vitalogy. Produced by Brendan O’ Brien, it was written by Eddie Vedder and Stone Gossard.

Mike McCready had difficulty with the leads and Jeff Ament didn’t like the punk sound at the time. Per Vedder, the lyrics reflect a love of vinyl records but, there could be interpretations of similarities with drug addiction.

From Jon Pareles with The New York Times (December 4, 1994):

The most [Vedder] will do is proselytize against the extinction of the LP, as he does in “Spin the Black Circle,” one of the few songs from Seattle in which a needle has nothing to do with heroin.

From Al Weisel with Rolling Stone (December 15, 1994):

Vitalogy has a number of gripping songs that match the soaring anthems of Ten. The first three tracks are a promising start: “Last Exit,” “Not for You” and especially “Spin the Black Circle,” a revvedup thrash tribute to vinyl, rock harder than anything Pearl Jam have ever done.

Pearl Jam Image Two
Image Credit: pinterest.com

From David Browne with Entertainment Weekly (December 9, 1994):

Pearl Jam still hasn’t developed an individual style to match that of its profoundly uptight singer, Eddie Vedder. Guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready continue to play sloppy, characterless riffs. [T]heir punk song, ”Spin the Black Circle,” is a little flabby, like dinosaur rockers trying to prove they’re into Green Day.

The song peaked at #18 November 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the first Pearl Jam single to enter this chart. It also peaked at #11 on the Billboard Alternative chart (called Modern Rock Tracks in 1994). It peaked in the top five in Australia, New Zealand and Norway.

The single won Best Hard Rock Performance at the 38th annual Grammy Awards. Vedder famously remarked:

I don’t know what this means. I don’t think it means anything.


 
Lyrics (From LyricFind)
See this needle
Oh see my hand
Drop, drop, dropping it down
oh so gently
here it comes
touch the flame
Turn me up
won’t turn you away

Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
spin the black, spin the black
Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
whoa

Pull it out
a paper sleeve
Oh my joy
only you deserve conceit
Oh I’m so big
and my whole world
I’d rather you
rather you, than her

Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
spin the black, spin the black
Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
whoa

Oh you’re so warm
oh, the ritual
as I lay down your crooked arm

Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
spin the black, spin the black
Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin

[Repeat: x5]
Spin the black

circle

Spin the black circle
Spin the black circle

11 thoughts on “Music Monday: November 25, 1994

    Angel at Watchyourlifeinpictures said:
    November 26, 2019 at 5:20 AM

    I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly heard any song at all by Pearl Jam.

    Like

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      November 26, 2019 at 2:25 PM

      When they stormed the music scene with Ten, they were awesome. Their Vs. album was so-so (to me). By the time Vitalogy came out, I wasn’t all that interested. I loved Yellow Ledbetter (non-album track) and the whole world got into discussions about WTH Vedder was saying.

      They were path cutters for their time.

      Like

    BlackSheep said:
    November 26, 2019 at 1:16 PM

    Nice review. I always thought this song was about intravenous drugs. I guess I never paid full attention to the lyrics.

    Like

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      November 26, 2019 at 2:32 PM

      Blackie! The prodigal blogger reappears! Hope all is well.

      Thanks. If I can find music industry hack quotes, I will grab them. I rarely post my own views as I feel it is irrelevant. Just the facts, ma’am…

      I will, however, spew in a comment my likes or distastes. 😉😄😎

      That being said, I am NOT fond of this song. I’d rather hear Vedder slur in Ledbetter. ❤

      Like

        BlackSheep said:
        November 26, 2019 at 4:07 PM

        Hi! All is well. I’ve changed everything.

        Hope life finds you well as well..

        The old music industry quotes are hilarious.

        Like

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          November 27, 2019 at 12:19 AM

          I’m still upright and breathing, so…that is always good.

          Don’t be a stranger, sweetie…even if you don’t blog, anymore.

          Like

            BlackSheep said:
            November 27, 2019 at 8:01 AM

            That’s very good to hear.

            Even though I’m not blogging I’m occasionally peeking in on things.

            Like Motley Crue, I’ll be back for another tour one day. Hey, you should do an article in those guys!

            Like

    badfinger20 said:
    November 27, 2019 at 1:05 AM

    “one of the few songs from Seattle in which a needle has nothing to do with heroin” I can’t say how funny/sad that quote is! It does have a punk sound…very heavy punk sound.

    Like

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      November 27, 2019 at 2:34 AM

      Yeah. Doesn’t speak all that highly of Seattle.

      I like 80s punk. This one was a “we’re grunge and we want to do something different” punk. Then, Vedder headed off into 1950s angst music. SMDH.

      Liked by 1 person

        badfinger20 said:
        November 27, 2019 at 9:33 AM

        Back then Seattle was like that…I’m not sure about now though.
        I always thought his voice sounded better when he covered other songs. He played with the Doors before and sounded great. He does have a good voice…it took me a while to warrm up to it.

        Like

Leave A Note ~ Share A Thought

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.