I had an entirely different post planned for tonight, but obviously this morning’s news preempted that. Chris Cornell was found to have hanged himself after Soundgarden’s show last night in Detroit, and this will instead be a tribute to one of alt-rock’s most celebrated frontmen.
Chris Cornell is best known for the aforementioned Soundgarden, who helped pioneer grunge and put Seattle on the musical map. He was also a member of supergroup Audioslave with Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk; and Temple of the Dog with Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Jeff Ament and Matt Cameron in tribute to Andrew Wood of their previous band, Mother Love Bone. He has also released several solo efforts, and this “Track Listing” will look at choice cuts from each project.
Soundgarden – “Black Hole Sun”
Soundgarden put Chris Cornell on the map. They formed in 1984, broke up in 1997 and ended up back together in 2010. 1994’s Superunknown was their breakthrough album, and featured this classic. Funnily enough I remember not really liking the song when it first came out, but I’ve come to appreciate its simplistic badassery. The blistering solo is crazy good, and the song has probably my favourite video ever.
Audioslave – “Cochise”
Audioslave’s debut single features big vocals from the man himself. Tom Morello works the guitar nicely (because, you know, he’s Tom Morello) and while it’s not even their best single, “Cochise” was an appropriately raucous intro to the intriguing supergroup.
Temple of the Dog – “Hunger Strike”
This band formed as a one-off tribute, and indeed their only album was 1991’s self-titled. While Cornell was joined by most of Pearl Jam for the band, Eddie Vedder also made a guest appearance on this song. Cornell was having trouble with the vocals while rehearsing and Vedder stepped in to sing the low parts. It was a perfect match, and “Hunger Strike” became the album’s first single. The power ballad is driven by a clean riff, and that chorus with “I’m going hungry” sung and yelled by Vedder and Cornell respectively is just so good.
Chris Cornell – “Can’t Change Me”
While Chris Cornell was best known for his bands, he also put out five solo albums. His first was 1999’s Euphoria Morning, which featured “Can’t Change Me”. It’s pretty and relatively calm, and I’m pretty sure the old guy from the “Black Hole Sun” video makes a cameo in this one! Creepy!
Chris Cornell was only 52 years old. He’d battled alcohol, drugs and depression in the past, but TMZ reports his wife saying he wasn’t showing alarming signs. Regardless, she and the kids have lost a husband and father, and the rest of us have lost an unmistakable voice and modern rock legend.