Ten excellent MTV Unplugged albums that were not huge sellers

  • MTV Unplugged albums sold over 80 million copies.
  • The top 15 sellers all sold over 1million copies.
  • Here are ten excellent unplugged albums just below that level, but which are very much the best of the rest.
MTV Unplugged: Bob Dylan
MTV Unplugged: Bob Dylan / Frank Micelotta Archive/GettyImages
7 of 7

Pearl Jam - MTV Unplugged

When it comes to the best of the rest, this Pearl Jam album is very much up there. It’s an absolute classic. Recorded in 1992 just a couple of years after the band was formed and only a few months after their debut album Ten. Their MTV Unplugged show caught them at a fresh early peak in their career. 

It was many years later before the album was released though. A limited edition appeared on Record Store Day in 2019 with a wider release on the band's 30th anniversary in 2020. It was well worth the wait.

10 worst number-one hits of the 1970s. 10 worst number-one hits of the 1970s. dark. Next

Not an obvious candidate for a quieter unplugged session than their usual loud guitar style, Pearl Jam smashed the concept with a superb show. The band’s intensity remains strong, despite the different styles and arrangements. The album captures that across all seven songs. There was an eighth, a version of  Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World”, on the TV show, but that didn’t make the album. 

The acoustic guitars and the bass all sound terrific, the vocals are strong and the songs have real passion. Their setlist is great, “Jeremy” is always a standout, but the top song on the album goes to “Black”, it’s a magnificent performance on a standout album.

More music news and analysis: