Re-Hard Sun

 Wayne Mitzen:

Uh.. I think this is the original:


Brian Hetherman


"Hard Sun" is a cover…not a Vedder penned song

Originally written and recorded by a Canadian act called INDIO in 1989 on an album called Big Harvest


John Craig:

Hi Bob,

Please don’t use my email address, but Vedder didn’t write Hard Sun (damn, and just when he had finally redeemed himself in your eyes!). It was written by a good Canadian kid, way back in the late ’80s. Check it out:

That aside, keep up the great work on your newsletter … cheers, jc



Eddie Vedder didn’t write this song, Bob… he covered it. Indio released this on Big Harvest, 1989.
The original is frankly a better version, but of course, it would be.

Russell Hibbard
Bamboo Room, Inc.


Hi Bob,
Please don’t use my email or name if you post this, but Eddie didn’t
write Hard Sun.
It’s a cover of a Canadian act called "Indio" who release their only
album "Big Harvest" in the late 80s. big radio hit, and they all but vanished as I understand it.



Wayne Mitzen:

Dude, if you really want to hear a singer sing his heart out, really listen to Jon’s stuff especially One More Day:

Here’s the album and some reprints of the NMW charts showing chart position:
The full MP3’s can be accessed at: __________

Jon called me when we were finishing the rest of the mixing of When It’s Over…. called on the phone said he had a new tune. Wrote it in about 2 minutes… told him to get his ass over to the studio

We cut it that day, with lyrics scribbled into the margins of some paperback book.

I grabbed a shit condenser mic, threw his ass in a folding chair with his guitar and cut it LIVE…. half way thru you can hear the chair squeek as he’s singing, tears welling in up in everyones eyes (including his) at the studio as he cut it – first take. One shot – done….

I grabbed a fretless, layed a bass on it and it was done – 15 minutes tops.

That’s a fucking pro, dude. And one hell of a songwriter….


Wayne Mitzen:

from the utube link i sent:

"When I heard that Eddy Veddar had nobly attempted to remake this Canadian Classic by Gordon Peterson,(for the new film "Into the Wild") I was thrilled, but I felt he didn’t do the original justice. So I was inspired to make a quick video with the original song. Please don’t misunderstand anyone. I am deeply influenced by Pearl Jam. I almost thought the whole grunge scene was gonna turn into another big social movement like the 60’s. I’d like to hear more original music by Pearl Jam.

Anyways, this was simply one of the best songs I’ve heard in the last 20 years. As soon as I heard it on the radio, I ran out and bought the Album. Several of my closest Artistic friends all agreed about how special and significant this artist creation was and we couldn’t believe how relatively unknown it was by the general public. But then again, isn’t that the way of the Soul: "Mostly unknown, misunderstood or forgotten by the many, and praised and appreciated by the few!"

In short, the faithful few of us would love to hear more from Gordon Peterson and the world needs him too.

Finally if Gordon wishes the removal of this video from Youtube, he need only give the word. (less)"


David Menconi:

also highly recommended — the original version of "Hard Sun," by Indio. came out about 20 years ago on A&M (the only album he ever did, I do believe), so I’m sure it’s out of print. but the song is out there…


Karen Allen:

Hard Sun is a COVER SONG. It was recorded in the 80s by a band called Indio. Vedder’s cover of this song is pretty much dead on what Indio did with it, which was phenomenal, but when you cover a song you’re supposed to breathe new life into it, which he did not.


Michael Patterson:

Whenever I would hear Hard Sun on the radio I would say to myself that I should download the album the next time I was at my computer. Your email finally made me get it from itunes.
Imagine my shock to be reading the credits find out that Hard Sun was not written by Eddie Vedder but by Gordon Peterson.
I had no idea who Gordon Peterson was so I did a search and found this.



I know that you’re probably going to get deluged with info from angry Canucks who will take issue with the incorrect attribution of "Hard Sun" to Eddie Vedder.

In fact, the song was written by a Canadian named Gordon Peterson, who recorded for A&M under the name Indio. "Hard Sun" was a Canadian rock radio hit for him back in about 1989-90. Gordon has since gone into hiding and hasn’t been seen nor heard from for a long, long time. Meanwhile, Indio’s "Big Harvest" album been out of print for years.

The REAL mystery is how Eddie managed to find "Hard Sun" in the first place!

Alan Cross
Program Director, 102.1 the Edge


Hey Bob – "Hard Sun" was written by Canadian, Gordon Peterson who performed it under the name of Indio on the album Big Harvest. Eddie seems to repeatedly miss the opportunity to point this out to people. Hopefully you can help with that.

Chris Taylor



Hard Sun is a COVER tune not a Vedder original.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network


Lefty Gomez:

Hard Sun is a cover of a canadian artist by the name of indio, the song was a small hit for him in the late 80’s and not an eddie vedder composition. it is in fact very much like the original. (which i still like more)


Karen Bliss:

Hard sun is a cover song by a cdn guy who went by indio


Glad you like the song…but "Hard Sun" is a cover. I’m sure you will get a billion emails on this, but I couldn’t help it. Granted, it’s a song a lot of people (myself included) had never heard of, which always helps, and it’s damn catchy and has an amazing vibe to it that is as much Vedder’s as it is Indio’s.

Just had to send that in…love reading your stuff.

-Steve C.
Chicago, IL


Hey Bob:

Don’t forget the guy who wrote the song, which is a mystery in itself as to where he is today.

I am lucky enough to have that whole album on Digital.

Luke (Spunkymunkey)



You might enjoy the original version by Indio, it came out in the early 90’s.

steve sobczuk


Yo Bob-

Eddie didn’t write "Big Hard Sun." It’s a cover. Written by Gordon Peterson. Eddie’s cover doesn’t really deviate that much, so calling it a "composition" of his isn’t quite right either.

Love ya man,
-Dominic Jules DeVito


Peter Shurkin:

as many will respond:

"Did Eddie Vedder make a mistake by hitching his wonderful composition to "Into The Wild"?"

Hard Sun was composed by Gordon Peterson and is a cover.


Wayne Mitzen:
and Wiki itself

note the joni mitchell reference


Hey Bob-

Hard Sun is a great track but Eddie actually covered that one. The original was done in the 80’s by Indio also known as Gord Peterson from Canada, from the album "Big Harvest", and it was a pretty big up there. If I’m not mistaken, Joni Mitchell sang background vox on it. The original is better I think even though Eddie does a good version.

Allan Wells


Wayne Mitzen:

love this:

from rateyoumusic:
An unknown singer/songwriter named Gordon Peterson released one and only album in 1989, titled Big Harvest, under the name Indio, a penname for himself (even though he used his real name in the liner notes). For the album, Peters employed well-known session musicians and Joni Mitchell as a background vocalist.

Another Indio album was in the works the following year (and Mr. Peterson was also at work on a film soundtrack due to be released that spring), but after being ejected by A&M Records (and feeling pressured in the music business), Mr. Peterson disappeared. Big Harvest went out of print shortly afterward.

He is very much alive today. He has been writing and recording after Big Harvest, and says that someday, he’ll release his work to date.



__I’m sure you will soon be inundated with e-mails from your Canadian readers…..but to set you straight. "Hard Sun" is a cover of a song written (and originally a hit up here in ’88) by an artist going by the name of Indio. Vedder’s cover version was also a hit here this past fall going top-3 at rock radio.__

Love reading ya’__

Rob Chubey



I’m the biggest pearl jam fan you’re gonna meet. And I love EV, but he didn’t write hard sun. It happens to be the only cover on the Into The Wild soundtrack. The song is really by Gordon Peterson who performed under the name of Indio on the album Big Harvest.

But anyway, it is an excellent song and the backing vocals by Corin Tucker of the defunct but not forgotten Sleater Kinney are great too.

I highly recommend the entire album. Songs like Guarantee and Society are honestly beautiful and prolific. If you can get your hands on the vinyl (only 2000 were pressed), it’s one of those made for vinyl listening experiences.

Eddie is doing a short solo tour on the west coast in April. To attest to his album’s genius… the entire tour sold out this week in moments.

I agree that Eddie takes himself a bit seriously sometimes. But the RS piece was bull and songs like alive that recount his tragic parental relationships are not discounted because he was popular in high school. I’ve never read anything where he stated he was an outcast in high school.

One final point, Eddie Vedder is serious. He speaks out politically, against environmental polluters like BP, and has been trying to save the West Memphis Three for years. The world needs more people like this. The younger generations don’t have enough of them.

Jed Garfunkel



many will tell you that the original Hard Sun by Canadian Indio with Joni Mitchell on bg vocals is infinitely more sublime. Twas a one semi hit wonder at best and it would not be Canada if all of a sudden it starts showing up in the consultants recommended gold CanCon lists since an American star did it…must be good now right????




I’m a big Eddie Vedder fan and really enjoy the soundtrack. Just an FYI, "Hard Sun" was written by Gordon Peterson, not Eddie.

-Mike Swartz
EMI Music



Bob, I’ve misread you before, but are you saying Eddie Vedder wrote "Hard Sun". Both my memory, and, beg to differ:


Hey Bob,

Not disagreeing with any of your sentiments, necessarily. But isn’t "Hard Sun" a cover?

Quinn Omori



I’m a huge Ed Vedder fan but I need to let you know something.

"Hard Sun" is a cover…
_Kevin Lathrop



Did you know that "Hard Sun" is a remake? It was done by Indio back in 1989 on, what I think was there one and only album, Big Harvest. It was on A&M and did OK at the "alternative format." The female vocalist who sang on the track MADE the song. Van Dyke Parks and Joni Mitchell were on the album as well.

And I agree 100%, "To Live And Die in L.A." by Wang Chung was a KILLER song.

Jerry Rubino
Music Director



I love Eddie Vedder. Sorry. Anyway, I am sure many have told you that "Hard Sun" is actually a composition by Indio. Doesn’t take away the power of the song, but it will probably prove your point that Eddie wasn’t capable of writing it. We’ll have to agree to disagree on Eddie.

Take care.

Wade Kerrigan


Wayne Mitzen:

This is even better:

wonder why he disappeared?…. Oh Eddie’s so cool… wait WTF?

I think I know why….


I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times by now…

It’s a cover. Indio released this on their only record back in 1989. Gordon Peterson wrote it. He dropped out of the biz in 1992 and moved back to Canada. He says he still writes and records, but won’t release his music.

As I recall, Joni Mitchell, Brenda Russell and Larry Klein all were on the ’89 original.

robert reinhart



Big Hard Sun is an Indio track from years ago. Check out this youtube

While i love the Eddie Vedder version, i think it’s a bit much to say "this is the essence of Eddie Vedder", considering that not only is it a cover, but the production is pretty much just copied as well…

Both version are great, and i think he’s smart to basically just redo the track as is because it works so well. But i think Indio deserves the credit here for a great song and an awesome production, not Mr. Vedder…

ryan stewart


Matt Sawin:

You might enjoy the original version of "Hard Sun" written by Gordon Peterson performed as Indio on the album Big Harvest.


Hi Bob:

Read your stuff all the time! Just a quick note about "Hard Sun" …… It’s actually a cover. The song was released almost twenty years ago, on the album – yes it was vinyl – Hard Rain, by a Canadian artist, Indio.

Upon first listen of the "Into the Wild" soundtrack, I was reminded of Pearl Jams’ version of "Last Kiss". The story goes, Eddie use to listen to Vancouver radio and had never heard the original version. Instead, he grew to like the cover by another Canadian band, Wednesday, who hailed from Oshawa – a city just east of Toronto.

Vedders’ take is pretty close to the original, which Ive always viewed as a real gem.
You can go to this site and hear it.

Best wishes,

Lee Eckley
Whitby, Ontario


Mike Clemenza:

Hey Bob- Hard Sun is a cover of a song called ‘Hard Sun’ originally done by a band called Indio. Just a heads up…


** Did Eddie Vedder make a mistake by hitching his wonderful composition to "Into The Wild"? **

bob – if i am the one thousandth person to tell you that eddie didn’t write that tune do i win something cool?

joel – halifax, ns.


But my point really is.. I had to make clear, Hard Sun is not an Eddie
composition, he covered the original song by Indio:

I was shocked to learn that too.

meghan richardson


Mike Wilson:

"Hard Sun" (originally written by Gordon Peterson who performed under the name of Indio on the album Big Harvest)


Marshall Dickson:

This is actually a cover song by a group / artist called Indio:

Off their 1989 album Big Harvest

Here’s the original:



"Hard Sun" is NOT an Eddie Vedder song. This song is by Gordon Peterson. Check out the original:

Maybe not as good a version as Eddie, but just thought you should know.

-art hays


Bob that’s a cover of a song by Gord Peterson, AKA "Indio", whom I signed and developed in the mid ’80s. Ended up on A&M working with Steve Rabolvsky. Not sure how Eddie heard it but it is a faithful yet superior version than the original__.

The two best things Eddie has done in years are covers – Hard Sun and Last Kiss!!_

Michael McCarty
__President_EMI Music Publishing Canada


Jake Gold:

Hard Sun was originally recorded and written by a Canadian band called Indio. Was a big hit here. In fact Eddie’s version is too. It counts as Canadian content.


he didn’t write it….

cover tune – Canadian band act INDIO

RJ Guha


"Did Eddie Vedder make a mistake by hitching his wonderful composition to "Into The Wild"? "

Bob, surely you know that "Hard Sun" is a cover of a song by INDIO,
from their 1989 album Big Harvest .

The original is great too, but maybe was only a hit here in Canada.

always enjoy your blog.

James Gagan


Dear Bob,

I hope you’ve already been bombarded with emails prior to mine, pointing out that Eddie Vedder did not write "Hard Sun." It was originally written and recorded by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Peterson, and released under his band name Indio on A&M in 1989. Steve Ralbovsky signed him to the label, and I would surmise that he also introduced Eddie Vedder to Gordon’s music. I had the privilege of working with Gordon when I was at A&M–he’s an extraordinary talent, with a quiet charisma not unlike Eddie’s. I haven’t spoken to Gordon in years–it’s seems that he chose to disappear from the business, despite being a truly gifted writer and singer. Because of Into the Wild, people are now discovering Gordon’s music.

Karen Glauber



I am not sure if you are aware, but Hard Sun by Eddie Vedder is a cover.. The original song "Big Hard Sun" is by Gordon Peterson. Society is also a cover originally done by Jerry Hannon (who actually sings the backup harmonies on the Into The Sun version)..

His interpretation from these songs inspire and make me reconnect with why it is I got involved with music in the first place. I love the feeling of hearing a song for the first time and it feels like someone just ripped through your chest and pulled out your heart; you feel exposed, vulnerable. It taps into this knowing and experiencing another form of reality.. where thoughts and worries no longer matter and you are just there, in the moment, seeing how you are feeling, taking in the surroundings of that moment.

All the best,

Brian Sirgutz


Hi Bob:

You’ve probably already heard from 106 other people, but "Hard Sun" is a cover written by Gord Peterson in 1989. Recorded only one album (Big Harvest) under the name "Indio".



Chuck Williams:

His composition? Not. Some of us were turned on to this great song many years ago. 1989, Gordon Peterson, performing as Indio. From the album Big Harvest. And, in my opinion, Mr Vedder’s version blows.



Eddie didn’t write "Hard Sun." It was written by Gordon Peterson from Hamilton, Ontario who recorded it for his one and only album "Big Harvest" on A&M in 1989, which he recorded under the band name Indio.

I only know this because an intern from the Hamilton Spectator newspaper contacted me before the Oscar nominations were announced because she said my client singer/songwriter Brenda Russell had recorded vocals on the song and the intern wanted to get a quote from Brenda about the experience of working with Gordon, who has since gone so far underground that no one can seem to find him.

Anyway to make the story short, Brenda didn’t remember working on the session so I downloaded the album from a file-sharing network and sent her the mp3 of Gordon’s original version of "Hard Sun." After hearing it, she said it sounded vaguely familiar although she thought it was a very cool song. She noted it was extremely weird to hear her voice on a recording and not remember doing it!

I found the story of Gordon Peterson fascinating, so I helped the intern track down the album’s producer, Larry Klein, who shed some light on the session.

Here’s the resulting article that will give the story on Gordon:

Pretty interesting stuff.

Best regards,

Seth Keller


Lenny Diana:

"Into the Sun" is a cover from a Canadian artist but he did make it his own.


Nothing you quite said, Bob, but I think you might be under the impression that Eddie Vedder wrote "Hard Sun." It’s actually a cover of an obscure Canadian act named Indio. It’s an irksome national habit up here to point out such things, so forgive me if you’re already aware of it all.

Love your stuff.

Garnet Fraser
Sunday Entertainment editor
Toronto Star


I’m sure you’d dig the original from ’89 (I think by Gordon Peterson). Sort of a hit in Canada. I loved that track.

Creighton Doane


Catonia Whalen:

FYI "Hard Sun" is a cover. Eddie Vedder didn’t write that song.


Ornie Kornelsen:

Yeah to bad Eddie didn’t write it. It’s written by a Gordon Peterson a Canadian, from Hamilton (Dan Lanois) known for a non-conventional project "Indio" and the album "Big Harvest" in 1989. READ ON!!!!


A&M Press Department, Biography, (c) June 1989

Musically speaking, Indio is as elusive as its moniker. Neither a group in the conventional sense nor a solo project, per se, this Indio is shifting, evolving cast of characters playing the music of singer-songwriter-instrumentalist Gordon Peterson. And the music itself? That’s best understood simply by listening to Big Harvest, Indio’s debut album for A&M.

Peterson, a self-taught guitarist and pianist, is a native of Hamilton, Ontario, and has made his home in Toronto since the age of 19. "I taught myself to play so I could write songs," Peterson recalls. "As the music developed, I found it was easier for me to play certain things myself than try to verbalize my ideas to somebody else and hope that their interpretation would be the same as mine."

Peterson put a band together when he arrived in Toronto. But after more than two years of playing the local club circuit, he found himself frustrated by the confines of a set musical unit. "When I started recording my material," he explains, "I found it somewhat restricting to have to rely on the same three players all the time; it was easier to bring in the musicians I thought were appropriate for each particular track, so we broke up the band."

That process took a major step forward when Peterson was introduced to David Rhodes, guitarist with Peter Gabriel and others. The two struck up a musical and personal friendship, and began recording the material that would define Big Harvest.

Other Collaborators followed: bassist Larry Klein, who along with Peterson and engineer Peter Walsh, became Peterson’s co-producers; Brenda Russell, who provides the ad-libbed vocal filigree on "Hard Sun, " the album’s first single; Joni Mitchell, who sings a variety of background parts; Bill Dillon, best-known for his guitar work with Robbie Robertson; Indian violinist L. Subramanian; percussionist Alex Acuna; drummers Vincent Colaiuta and Manny Elias; arranger Van Dyke Parks, who plays accordion on the album and others.

The drummers played an especially crucial role in the evolution of the Indio sound, what with its dense, world rhythms. "I’m a lover of rhythms and interesting grooves," Peterson notes. "For some reason, when I write on an acoustic guitar, I happen to write around those non-Western rhythms. I gravitate towards them without even trying, and the next thing I know I’m working in some kind of strange 7/4 time or something. "

"When I do finally record, I have a very clear idea, groove-wise, of what I want to do; everything else is left up to spontaneity, and trying to capture the feeling I had when conceiving the song. I was fortunate to have two great drummers on the record to translate those ideas."

Those ideas also resulted in the general, if unconscious, avoidance of conventional pop song structure. "I conceive the songs around a feeling and an emotion rather than a particular pop form," Peterson says, which gives them a more natural, organic nature. The same can be said of the lyrics, which he describes as "either spiritual, personal searches, like ‘Big Harvest’ or observations, like ‘Hard Sun,’ or a combination of both. A lot of the songs are just written around feelings that I get about certain things; they’re not real specific, or tied to current events."

As for the decision not to put the name Gordon Peterson above the title, he says, "I didn’t feel comfortable using only my name. I like to get people together and work in a a group with them; Indio is a band with changing members, not a solo project per se. I find it’s a great way to work. You have a group of people contributing regularly to the music, and yet it’s my own music. So it’s the best of both worlds.

"Most of all, I try to never intellectualize the process of making music–I don’t think about it, I just do it." And his hope for Big Harvest? "I hope people listen to the record and get out of it what they can…I just want people to get a feeling from it that they can enjoy."

1 The Grinding Wheel Peterson 6:49
2 Discovery Peterson 4:40
3 Save for the Memory Peterson 4:21
4 Big Harvest Peterson 3:46
5 Hard Sun Peterson 4:41
6 This Golden Land Peterson 4:42
7 The Season of the Lost Peterson 4:57
8 Stories Peterson 4:36
9 My Eyes Peterson 5:04
10 Ship on a Sea Peterson 5:27
11 Life Lies Down Peterson 3:54

Gordon Peterson Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Strings, Keyboards, Vocals,
Alejandro Neciosup Acuña Percussion
Tom Banghart Assistant Engineer
David Bottrill Engineer, Assistant Engineer
Adrian Brett Woodwind, Wind Instruments
Richard Chappell Assistant Engineer
Andrew Clark Organ (Hammond)
Simon Clark Organ (Hammond)
Vinnie Colaiuta Drums
Danny Cummings Percussion
Bill Dillon Guitar, Mandolin, Pedal Steel, Chant
Manny Elias Percussion, Drums
Mickey Feat Bass
Joe Fiorello Assistant Engineer, Mixing
Paula "Max" Garcia Assistant Engineer
Robert Herman Woodcut
Martyn Heyes Assistant Engineer
Kevin Killen Engineer
Larry Klein Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Keyboards, Producer, Chant
Julie Last Assistant Engineer
Steve Lindsey Organ (Hammond)
Bob Ludwig Mastering
F. Ron Miller Art Direction, Design
Joni Mitchell Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Choir, Chorus, Chant
Van Dyke Parks Accordion
Karen Peris Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Choir, Chorus
Vocals (bckgr), Choir, Chorus, Producer, Chant, Art Direction
Tony Pleeth Cello
Saul Raye Assistant Engineer
David Rhodes Guitar, Percussion, Producer
Paul Ridout Sound Effects, Sounds
Brenda Russell Vocals, Choir, Chorus
Brian Scheuble Assistant Engineer
Mike Shipley Mixing
Bob Vogt Assistant Engineer
Peter Walsh Producer, Engineer, Mixing

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.