"Jeremy" is based on two different true stories. The song takes its main inspiration from a newspaper article about a 15-year-old boy named Jeremy Wade Delle, born February 10, 1975, from Richardson, Texas who shot himself in front of his English class at Richardson High School on the morning of January 8, 1991 at about 9:45 am. In a 2009 interview, Vedder said that he felt "the need to take that small article and make something of it—to give that action, to give it reaction, to give it more importance."
Delle was described by schoolmates as "real quiet" and known for "acting sad." After coming in to class late that morning, Delle was told to get an admittance slip from the school office. He left the classroom, and returned with a .357 Magnum revolver. Delle walked to the front of the classroom, announced "Miss, I got what I really went for", put the barrel of the firearm in his mouth, and pulled the trigger before his teacher or classmates could react. A girl named Lisa Moore knew Jeremy from the in-school suspension program: "He and I would pass notes back and forth and he would talk about life and stuff," she said. "He signed all of his notes, 'Write back.' But on Monday he wrote, 'Later days.' I didn't know what to make of it. But I never thought this would happen."
When asked about the song, Vedder explained:
It came from a small paragraph in a paper which means you kill yourself and you make a big old sacrifice and try to get your revenge. That all you're gonna end up with is a paragraph in a newspaper. Sixty-three degrees and cloudy in a suburban neighborhood. That's the beginning of the video and that's the same thing is that in the end, it does nothing … nothing changes. The world goes on and you're gone. The best revenge is to live on and prove yourself. Be stronger than those people. And then you can come back.
The other story that the song is based on involved a student that Vedder knew from his junior high school in San Diego, California....
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