Pearl Jam fans voracious for a sign of life from the band have had quite the December so far, with news that the band is in the studio as well as the announcement of a 2020 European tour – their first live outings in almost two years. But the band has begun rolling out a holiday music series as a streaming compilation for the season, giving fans a rallying point over winter break.
The “12 Days of Pearl Jam” campaign is a flex of the band’s Ten Club fan club. The band has been revealing (and will continue to) a previously-released Christmas song of theirs each day for a 12 day run. Will the 12th day bring a new Pearl Jam holiday song? Given the lack of new material in recent years and the flurry of updates lately regarding a new album and tour, it’s entirely possible.
Pearl Jam started the tradition of releasing holiday songs as singles back in 1991 when they dropped “Let Me Sleep (Christmas Time)” as a vinyl single to fan club members. They would carry on this tradition every year with hugely celebrated holiday releases, including a cover of “Don’t Believe in Christmas” by the Sonics, “I Believe in Miracles” by the Ramones, “Sonic Reducer” by the Dead Boys and some incredible originals, including the achingly beautiful “Angel” from 1993.
As of 2017, however, Pearl Jam has stopped offering an annual holiday single to fan club members, ending a run of the last 26 holiday seasons — though the series took a break in 1994. Though the timing of its shipping had become more erratic in recent years, the holiday single was long coveted by fans as a Sign That The Band Really Cared. Interestingly, the price of membership hasn’t changed to reflect the discontinuation. This leaves many fans debating whether the $40 annual fee for a scratchy t-shirt, a bootleg download, a filler-packed magazine and ticket buying priority for highly infrequent tours is worthwhile in the end. Nevertheless, the vast majority have remained loyal members, because when the gears do start turning, there’s no better place to be.
The discontinuation news has caused significant debate in the PJ fan community, especially given that the last two years’ worth of promised holiday singles have yet to be delivered to eager fans. However, what better a time to make good on the promise than the tail-end of a 12 Days of Pearl Jam holiday collection rollout?
Pearl Jam is at work on a new studio album, with an expected 2020 release.