"It's not every day that you get to sing with the queen": That time Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder teamed up with Beyoncé to perform a spine-tingling Bob Marley cover

Eddie Vedder and Beyonce Knowles
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen)

The 2015 Global Citizen festival, staged on Central Park's Great Lawn in New York on September 26 that year, was a star-studded affair, with Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Fall Out Boy, Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran joined by guest speakers including actors Hugh Jackman and Leonardo DiCaprio, US First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice-President (now POTUSA) Joe Biden for the MSNBC TV broadcast. 

In the spirit of the event, a free-ticketed charity fundraiser seeking to eradicate extreme poverty throughout the world, the festival featured a number of unique, one-off collaborations, such as pop star Ariana Grande joining Coldplay to sing Just a Little Bit of Your Heart (co-written by Harry Styles), and Coldplay's Chris Martin duetting with Ed Sheeran on Thinking Out Loud, a song which has now been streamed an unfathomable 2.446 BILLION times on Spotify alone.

The concert's high-point, however, was Pearl Jam's hour-long, 12-song headline set, which spanned their entire career to that point, from their 1991 debut Ten (from which the Seattle quintet played Alive) through to their tenth record, Lightning Bolt (from which the title track and album opener Mind Your Manners) were performed.

"This is really an incredible experience," frontman Eddie Vedder stated at one point. "Never before have we played for an audience full of activists. We want to thank you all for making this wave of hope that can ride and grow and smash the shores of cynicism and apathy. In the near future, we can make global poverty a thing of the past."

For the show's encore, Pearl Jam elected to play three covers: John Lennon's Imagine, Neil Young's Rockin' In The Free World, and - sandwiched between the two - a special rendition of Bob Marley's Redemption Song, performed acoustically by Vedder with a special guest, Beyoncé.

"It's not every day that you get to sing with the queen," Vedder told the 60,000-strong New York audience and the millions tuned in, before welcoming Beyoncé onstage. The performance which follows is simply spine-tingling, the pair trading lines on the verses, before harmonising beautifully on the song's chorus, before Nelson Mandela's 'Make Poverty History' speech was projected on screens behind them.

A performance for the ages, and not one that anyone in attendance will forget in a hurry. Watch the footage - and Pearl Jam's full set - below.

Pearl Jam's forthcoming Dark Matter album is set for release on April 19. Last year guitarist Mike McCready told Classic Rock magazine that the record is “a lot heavier than you’d expect”, suggesting that it has “the melody and energy of the first couple of records.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.