"Jeremy" was released in 1992 as the third single from Pearl Jam's debut album, Ten (1991). The song reached the number five spot on both the Mainstream and Modern Rock Billboard charts. It did not originally chart on the regular Billboard Hot 100 singles chart since it was not released as a commercial single in the U.S. at the time, but a re-release in July 1995 eventually brought it up to number 79. The song was included on Pearl Jam's 2004 greatest hits album, Rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991–2003). A remixed version of the song was included on the 2009 Ten reissue.
The song especially gained notoriety by way of its music video (directed by Mark Pellington and released in 1992), which was put into heavy rotation by MTV and became a hit. In 1993, the "Jeremy" video was awarded four MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Video of the Year.
"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 classmates at Richardson High School on Monday 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". The other story that the song is based on involved a student that Vedder knew from his junior high school in San Diego, California.