Chris Cornell has died. I’m not going to attempt to make sense of this or offer any theories about how or why it happened. Instead, I’m going to remember his voice, which was thrilling. I’m going to remember his songwriting, which was unique, personal, and elegant. I’m going to remember his bands, Soundgarden and Audioslave, which were phenomenal.
Soundgarden – Fell On Black Days
Soundgarden was the first of the “Big 4 of Grunge” to make an impact on the music scene, and together with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice In Chains. They would remake ’90’s rock in their own image.
Chris Cornell was an integral figure in the Seattle scene. When his good friend and roommate, Andrew Wood, the charismatic singer of Mother Love Bone died of a heroin overdose, it was Cornell who organized a tribute to Wood in the form of the band Temple of the Dog.
Their album led to the formation of Pearl Jam.
The song “Hunger Strike” featured a then unknown Eddie Vedder trading vocals and harmonizing with Cornell. The result was haunting and powerful.
Alice In Chains also utilized Chris Cornell’s voice in a song called “Right Turn” that appeared on their debut e.p. called Sap.
Chris Cornell & Layne Staley – Right Turn
In addition to his work in both Soundgarden and Audioslave, Cornell released 4 acclaimed solo albums. I was fortunate to see him with Soundgarden in 1992 as part of the second Lollapalooza tour, and with Audioslave in the 2003 edition of that long running tour.
Audioslave – Be Yourself
Some singers are unable to duplicate their studio achievements on the live stage, but Chris Cornell was superior at both.
He leaves a legacy that will live on for as long as people have a need for passionately genuine music. He will be remembered and he will be missed.
Written By Braddon S. Williams