Jeremy Delle: The classroom suicide of a Texas teen made famous by Pearl Jam (video)

The song describes a despondent and isolated teen. But who was Jeremy Delle, the 15-year-old behind the hit single “Jeremy”?

In the spring of 1991, the lead singer of Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder, was reading his morning newspaper when he came across a shocking headline about a teenage suicide. 15-year-old Jeremy Delle had inexplicably shot himself in front of his class at Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas.

Vedder was struck by the story and immediately felt the need to honor the boy. Thus the song “Jeremy” was born, inspired by the life and death of Jeremy Delle. But according to friends and family, the song does not follow Jeremy’s actual life very closely, and while the hit lives on as one of the band’s best, it eclipses the true and tragic story of Jeremy Delle.

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The Real Jeremy Delle

On Jan. 8, 1991, 15-year-old Jeremy Delle arrived late to his second period English class. His teacher told him to go down to the office and get an attendance slip. Instead, Delle returned with a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver.

Just before he killed himself in front of his classmates, he turned to his teacher. “Miss, I got what I really went for,” he said.

Read more: All That’s Interesting

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