Let Me Sleep

At the time of its release as the first Ten Club Holiday Single, some Boston-area DJ who still had the wherewithal to set an honest-to-goodness needle to an honest-to-goodness record played “Let Me Sleep” over the airwaves some time during the holiday season. I don’t remember if I actually heard the song at that time, but news that it existed spread word-of-mouth, and I was made aware that Pearl Jam had written their own original Christmas song. Again, as a young ‘un, this fairly blew my mind. Bands could do that? I had no idea. In my increasingly angsty mind, I imagined that “Let me sleep / It’s Christmastime” translated to “Let me sleep through this sucky suckfest of a holiday”, but I’m not so sure anymore.


The music for “Let Me Sleep”, penned by Mike McCready, sounds to my ears closest to “Hummus” of all things, somewhat apropos as the Christmas story originates in the Middle East. The sound is distinctive, a swift rolling guitar figure backed by wood block percussion, and a nice little evocative lyric. The key line to me now is “Let me dream / It’s Christmastime”, not so much “I don’t want to be bothered”, but more “I want to return to the same kind of excitement and wonder I used to feel”. It’s neither cynical nor, God forbid, ironic, traits which every piece of music and art was supposed to boast according to the media at the time. It’s an earnest longing for innocence, a theme well established throughout the Pearl Jam catalog, holiday or no.


~ by Michael on September 13, 2007.

4 Responses to “Let Me Sleep”

  1. such gem…at a time when Pearl Jam were redefining what rock music and a rock band meant to me…this song redefined what a rock band’s soft song would sound like. It was just so different and unexpected…not just the song…the whole idea of the Xmas single…the fan club, the one and only I’ve ever been a part of…That Xmas single has become, like my autographed Wayne Gretzky rookie card, one of those heritage artifacts, tucked safely away in the time capsule of my mom’s house, that are simply an essential part of who I am…

  2. Sometimes i think this is pearl jam at their absolute best. I don’t really know why.

  3. I’m pretty sure the DJ was Oedipus on WBCN, the former program director, who still hosts a Christmas Eve show every year. If you’re in the Boston area, it’s a pretty amazing listenin experience.

  4. I like the ‘leaked’ Lost Dog version. The only difference is Mike counts the song off, 1..2..3..4. Something about it gave me chills.

    C13 – The key line to me now is “Let me dream / It’s Christmas time”, not so much “I don’t want to be bothered”, but more “I want to return to the same kind of excitement and wonder I used to feel”.

    Exactly. I bet that these days Ed feel’s like a kid at Christmas time again, because of his daughter.

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