This Pearl Jam Song ‘Copied’ the Riff From a Kiss Song

Pearl Jam and Kiss made very different music, however, one of Pearl Jam’s most famous songs has a guitar solo “copied” from a Kiss track. Interestingly, Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready said he was repeatedly bullied for his love of Kiss. Here’s a look at how one song inspired another.

Kiss members in a row
Kiss | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The legacy of a flop Kiss album

It all starts with a song written during Kiss’ heyday. Although the group found some success in the 1980s and 1990s, they released most of their famous songs in the 1970s. In 197, the band released their album Dressed to Kill. The album merely reached No. 32 on the Billboard 200 which is relatively unimpressive considering Kiss released several top 10 albums. Today, Dressed to Kill is probably most known for containing an early version of “Rock and Roll All Nite.” However, a different track on the album would have a significant impact on Pearl Jam.

Why Kiss mattered so much to Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready

Kiss has an incredibly dedicated fan base. However, they’ve also attracted a number of critics and haters over the years. During an interview with Rolling Stone, Pearl Jams’ Mike McCready said he started making music because of Kiss. However, he revealed people were mean to him when he was young for enjoying Kiss’ music.

“She”

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“I got mocked for it a lot,” he recalled. “When you’re really young, dating girls and trying to explain Kiss, they just look at you like you’re kind of crazy. I think they got so big in the Seventies and were such a phenomenon – they did the Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park movie, the solo records – some people only know the merchandising stuff.” Despite this, McCready liked Kiss because of the Beatlesque harmonies in their work, saying Kiss were as important to him as The Beatles were to many others.

The time Mike McCready ‘copied’ a Kiss song

McCready was especially impressed by Kiss’ Ace Frehley. “I really gravitated towards his vibrato. My lead for ‘Alive’ is based on ‘She,”’ and that’s based on ‘Five to One’ by The Doors,” he said. “She” was a track from Dressed to Kill. McCready added “I remember we were in Surrey, England. I thought about it like, ‘I’m going to approach this like Ace did on “She.”’ And I remember the chord pattern that Stone [Gossard] wrote lent it to that kind of a descending pattern. So I kind for went with it. And then I improvised from there.” Rolling Stone reports McCready once said he “copied” the riff from “She.”

“Alive”

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How the world reacted to Pearl Jam’s ‘Alive’

So did drawing inspiration from Kiss’ music for “Alive” work for Pearl Jam? “Alive” reached No. 16 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Airplay chart in 1992. While McCready was mocked for his love of Kiss, he would later channel that love into one of his band’s most famous tracks.