?Jeremy? by Pearl Jam was inspired by Jeremy Delle?s suicide.
Photo by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash
On January 8, 1991, 15-year-old Jeremy Wade Delle arrived late for his second-period English class at Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas. His teacher, Miss Faye Barnett, told him to get an admittance slip from the school office.
Instead of going to the office, Jeremy went to his locker and took out a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver. He returned to the classroom and stood in front of his teacher and about 30 students. ?Miss, I got what I really went for?, Jeremy said.
He then put the barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
Jeremy Delle / All That?s Interesting
Brian Jackson had been at his locker in the hallway when he heard a loud bang from the classroom and thought someone had slammed a book on a table. He realized something bad had happened when a girl ran out of the classroom crying.
He decided to look inside the classroom and saw Jeremy on the floor bleeding. Miss Barnett was standing against a wall, in shock, and most of the students were huddled in the back of the room.
Howard Perre Felman was in a nearby classroom when he heard the bang. He thought the students were just playing around until he heard a girl screaming in the hallway.
The incident was reported to authorities and a volunteer crisis team was immediately sent to the school to counsel the students.
It is not known where Jeremy got the gun, but he did leave a suicide note ? its contents have never been revealed.
The day before he committed suicide, Jeremy?s schoolmate Lisa Moore noticed something odd. The two would exchange notes during in-school suspension and Jeremy would always sign off his notes with, ?Write Back?. However, the day prior to shooting himself, Jeremy wrote, ?Later Days?. She thought it was odd but didn?t ask him about it.
Jeremy?s parents, Joseph Delle and Wanda Crane, had divorced when he was five-years-old. At first, he lived with his mother and sister but eventually moved in with his father in Richardson. He had changed schools the year prior and had been missing a lot of classes. The school?s principal had a meeting with Joseph and Jeremy to discuss the issue and they agreed to start counseling.
Jeremy was characterized as a shy, and sometimes sad, but friendly child.
Eddie Vedder, from Pearl Jam, read about Jeremy?s suicide in a newspaper and was touched by it. He immediately wrote a song titled Jeremy and it was released on Pearl Jam?s debut album, Ten. Jeremy was a success and helped the band rise to fame.
The band also made a music video that has received criticism for the recreation of the suicide. Jeremy?s friends, namely Brittany King, who witnessed the suicide, have shown their dislike for the song because it contains a lot of misinformation.
For example, the song implies that Jeremy?s parents were not concerned about him: ?Daddy didn?t give attention / Oh, to the fact that mommy didn?t care?.
Jeremy by Pearl Jam / Youtube
Vedder later commented that he thought about contacting the family before releasing the song, but decided against it as he felt he would be intruding.
Jeremy?s mother, who has since started a support group for grieving parents, has said that the recent school shootings are particularly emotional for her. She wishes she could reach out to the victims? families and tell them it gets better. She has stated,
?That day that he died did not define his life. He was a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, a friend. He was talented?.