A Guide To Guitar Chords

Pearl Jam: Elderly Woman Behind The Counter

Pearl Jam

The full title of the easy acoustic guitar song we are going to learn to play is "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter in a Small Town" and is written by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. The chords are basic, but the song is fun to play. The strumming might be a bit challenging though because it's kind of energetic, which makes it a bit hard to play for beginners.

Here's a video of a live version from a Pearl Jam concert in Brazil:


And here is the lesson video:

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Here's the guitar chord chart for the chorus and the verse, only 3 chords:

Pearl Jam Guitar Chords


Here's the chord chart for the pre-chorus, also 3 chords:

Pearl Jam Chords


The chords don't present any problems I think, except maybe the transition from the D to the Cadd9. The strumming on the other hand might be a bit more challenging because it's quite energetic.

Some trivia about Elderly Woman Behind The Counter in a Small Town:

  • The chord progression and overall feel of Elderly Woman Behind The Counter sound a lot like the chords of You've Got To Hide Your Love Away, a song from the Beatles.
  • The long title of the song is meant as a joke, a lot of names of Pearl Jam songs are single-word names like Alive, Once, Deep, Release, ... Eddie Vedder got a bit fed up with that.
  • The song started as a poem written by Eddie Vedder. It's about 2 friends who see eachother after a long while. The woman feels she has wasted her life in the small town she has stayed in whole her life.

Here are the lyrics:

I seem to recognize your face
Haunting, familiar, yet I can't seem to place it
Cannot find the candle of thought to light your name
Lifetimes are catching up with me

All these changes taking place
I wish I'd seen the place but no one's ever taken me

Hearts and thoughts they fade, fade away

I swear I recognize your breath
Memories, like fingerprints, are slowly raising
Me you wouldn't recall for I'm not my former
It's hard when your stuck upon the shelf

I've changed by not changing at all
Small town predicts my fate
Perhaps that's what no one wants to see

I just want to scream, hello
My god its been so long, never dreamed you'd return
But now here you are and here I am
Hearts and thoughts they fade away

Hearts and thoughts they fade, fade away
Hearts and thoughts they fade away, yeah
Hearts and thoughts they fade, fade away
Hearts and thoughts they fade


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