How did Pearl Jam get their name?

In its early years, the band took the name Mookie Blaylock, in reference to the then-active basketball player Mookie Blaylock. In 1991, Mookie Blaylock signed to Epic Records and renamed themselves Pearl Jam.

In an early promotional interview, Vedder said that the name "Pearl Jam" was a reference to his great-grandmother Pearl, who was married to a Native American and had a special recipe for peyote-laced jam. In a 2006 Rolling Stone cover story however, Vedder admitted that this story was "total bullshit", even though he indeed had a great-grandma named Pearl. Ament and McCready explained that Ament came up with "pearl", and that the band later settled on "Pearl Jam" after attending a concert by Neil Young, in which he extended his songs as improvisations of 15–20 minutes in length.