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Pearl Jam Yellow Ledbetter Lyrics

Last updated: 08/26/2014 06:20:28 PM

Unsealed, On the porch a letter sat,
And she said, I wanna leave here again.
Once I saw her, on a beach of weathered sand,
And on the sand, I wanna leave here again.
And they called, and I said that I know what I said,
And I called out again.
And the reason, ought to leave her calm, I know,
I said, I dont know whether I'm the boxer or the bag.

Ah yeah, Can you see them? Out on their porch?
Yeah, But they don't wave.
I see them, round the front way, And I know and I know,
I dont wanna stay.
Make me cry.

I see.. Oh I dont know why there's something else.
Wanna drum it all away.
I said, I dont, i dont know whether I'm the boxer or the bag.

Ah hey, can you see them? Out on their porch?
Yeah, but they don't wave.
I see them, round the front way,
And i know and I know, I dont wanna stay, oh no..
I don't wanna stay.
I don't wanna stay.
I don't wanna stay, I don't.

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My words to Yellow Ledbetter | Reviewer: Craig | 8/26/14

I love all versions of the song. Hearing live sounds the best to me anyways. Before I knew what the song was really about, my ex girlfriend and I use to play it all the time with each other Thinking it was a love song. Long story short, the girl and I split. After a year of not talking she called me out of the blue with Yellow Ledbetter playing in the back ground on the radio. She then hung up on me and until this day we have not spoken. She was defiantly the one I let get away. I'll stop with my sob story. I added my own lyrics to the song in relation to our relationship. It goes with the live version. Please forgive me if you think I ruined it.

ledbetter deeper meaning | Reviewer: james ledbetter | 7/16/14

How unusual is the name ledbetter so there is where you must start His name is Eddie which I find interesting. There was an Eddy Ledbetter she livied around 1645 in Virigina she was married to the very first ledbetter in this country in 1636 I'm sure a lot of wives have seen a lot of death and their husbands and sons not coming home but I'm not sure that's what he is trying to say I think he's trying to tell somebody something. and what's so sad is that all boys and husbands are dying for the one % way of life.

huh? | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/1/12

I thought it was in another language. I love this song but until today I thought it was dutch or something. Ever notice it sounds alot like She Talks to Angels but in another langauge. Or the other way around.

Perspective | Reviewer: Jenna | 3/28/11

Ohhh man this is one of my favorite songs ever. I think most of the reviews hit the nail on the head and it's definitely about a brother or a son dying in war but I think Eddie is singing from the perspective of the deceased.. How he sees them on the porch but they don't wave.. and he doesn't want to stay. And in a lot of performances it sounds like he says... "and I don't know whether I was in the box or in the bag". No matter whose perspective he's singing from.. it's chilling and grips me every time.

Classic Tune | Reviewer: TboneDj1962 | 2/25/11

I'm not sure of each & every word, I only know that each time this tune plays it touches my soul. Thanks to the band for the song - Respect to all those who never come home and the ones they leave behind

finally | Reviewer: sherry | 10/16/10

Tonight is my lucky night. I have been searching for this song for months. Heard just the last guitar riff the first time I heard it and was overcome. Hunted, hunted, hunted. Second time - heard almost from the last riff. Tonight I heard it again - looked up the play list for the radio station I heard it on and was delivered! I'm in LOVE!

To be fair... | Reviewer: Justin | 9/12/10

To be fair... And in Terry's defense. Eddie Vedder himself has said countless times that the point of any form of art isn't necessarily to artists meaning, but the meaning each individual derives from what they see or hear. So, if Terry's vision is that it is a Brother and Sister with certain issues, then that is what the song means to him. It's not fair of any of you to tell him he's wrong, just because of what Eddie Vedder's intentions with the lyrics were. Especially when the writer of this particular song is so firm on people coming to their own conclusions.

Terry isn't idiotic. | Reviewer: Strazmoid | 11/4/09

That is kind of harsh, seeing as all terry did was voice his opinion.
Maybe on some level Terry was right any way.
Not everything has to have a single meaning you know, and as you said yourself, Eddie Vedder changes the lyrics every time.
As you said, this song isn't about the lyrics, it is about the tone, and the tone fits what terry said.
Don't flame.

terry's idiotic | Reviewer: AJ | 6/15/09

Terry has no idea what he's talking about. Eddie Vedder himself has announced that it's about receiving a letter from the government saying that a family member has died overseas serving the military. He has also stated that he does, in fact, change the lyrics every time he sings it. There are no official lyrics to the song. But the power of the tune is undeniable. His voiceis spectacular, and conveys emotions without lyrics. He could essentially hum the song and it would have the same affect. And this guitar riff is my personal favorite of all time, i've spenthours sitting in my room, listening to this song and just thinking. By the way Terry, it's not all that difficult to use a little thing called "spell check"

Yellow Letter | Reviewer: ThunderHeads | 1/14/09

This song was written in '91, the same time as the first Gulf War. Apparently, Vedder went for a walk with his friend who received a "yellow letter" telling him that his brother had died overseas, and would therefore be returning "in a box or in a bag." On this walk, his friend gestured to salute a flag on a house, but the people on the porch glared disapprovingly because of this young man's 'alternative' appearance. "Ledbetter" is the name of one of Vedder's friends from Chicago, Tim's possible that it was Tim's brother who died

Box or a bag | Reviewer: Corn | 1/2/09

I believe it's, "I don't know whether he'll come home in a box or a bag." Obviously coming from the perspective of a sibling with a brother in the war. Most likely in Vietnam. The main problem with putting any meaning to this song, is just knowing the actual lyrics to it. It's very hard, in every rendition and performance of it, to know what Eddie is singing, because he mumbles throughout the majority of it. I believe it is clearly about a sibling with a brother at war. Perhaps this sibling had gotten a letter saying his or her brother had died, or perhaps it's just about a sibling worrying. Either way, this is a very difficult song to put a meaning to, seeing as Vedder has sang it differently in nearly every performance of it, and the lyrics, if you can manage to understand them, are usually not the same.

not little wing | Reviewer: terry | 6/20/08

the playing and vocals and arrangment go perfect together. I think the song is more about a brother and sister, one having health problems, the other mental problems. neither one wanting ther family to see there last few monthes on earth. soo they reqwest no visitors. and the brother that cant see them, is in mentle torcher,because he knows and he knows he dont want to see it at all

Li'l wing | Reviewer: Rodrigo | 1/18/08

I heard somewhere that the main riff for this song was inspired on Hendrix's ”Little Wing”, And there is a very pronounced similarity, check it out. Quite interesting... anyway the track is simply overwhelming. I luv it.

one of the best | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/28/07

yes i wanted to know the lyrics to such awesome playing, it's one of those songs that can just grab your soul even without the words. I thought this kind of playing was gone long ago, glad I was wrong!!

it makes me chill... | Reviewer: fernando | 12/12/07

There is something great about this song, and it's that it encloses a whole concept to it. In fact, english is not my main language, and i must say that the way eddie vedder sings is not the easyer to understand, so when I first heard this song, It gave me the chills, just like dennis said...that's the power of the melody, and the power of eddie's voice (and expression)...I Find it amazing how voices can express fellings in such an universal way. Also this shows how a simple melody, well tought can touch you in such a way.