Say It's Your Birthday: Eddie Vedder and Tim Hardin

Old man Vedder. Photo by Jay Blakesberg

Today, as all you Pearl Jamsters already know, is the

birthday of Eddie Vedder. Exactly which birthday is a matter of some dispute.

Most sources guesstimate that he was born in 1966, but, as with so many other

things, Eddie ain't saying for sure. In fact, Eddie would probably prefer that

we not even bring it up. Too late for that, but we'll seize on this filmiest of

excuses to change the subject. To Tim Hardin, also born on December 23, but

some twenty-five years ahead of Master Edwin. For eighteen months in 1966-67,

Hardin composed some of the most accusingly beautiful songs ever written. "If I

Were A Carpenter," "Reason To Believe," "Misty Roses," "Lady Came From

Baltimore," and "Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep." (All collected on the

1994 anthology Hang Onto A Dream .) Though he would go on to record

several further albums over the years, many of them containing fine work, never

again would he come close to touching the timelessness of the songs on his

first two albums. Why he was so intensely favored by such a gorgeous muse, and

then so utterly deserted by her remains one of rock's great riddles. A riddle

obviously even to Hardin himself, who died of a heroin overdose on December 29,

1980. It's also the birthday of blues singer Esther Phillips, '50s jazz icon

Chet Baker, Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane/Starship), and Dave Murray (Iron

Maiden).