Chris Cornell – A Perspective by Killian Laher
Shocking news broke today with the sudden and unexpected death of Chris Cornell at only 52. One of the truly great singers who emerged from the so-called ‘grunge’ movement, he fronted Soundgarden who were probably closer to heavy metal than punk, with a fair bit of Black Sabbath influence on board. On the release of Badmotorfinger in 1991, Cornell had a searing, almost menacing presence and an incredible vocal range, Room A Thousand Years Wide being one of many highlights here:
The Singles movie in 1992 helped increase Soundgarden’s profile and also featured an acoustic solo track from Chris Cornell, Season…
…which showed a different side to him, along with a humorous cameo.
But it was 1994’s Superunknown album that really established Soundgarden as a serious force. Released not long before Kurt Cobain’s death it was full of great, dark tunes which when you look at the titles – Fell On Black Days, The Day I Tried To Live, ring a little too true today.
The album features their most popular song, the heavily introspective Black Hole Sun and right across the album Cornell’s voice soars over Kim Thayil’s bludgeoning, guttural riffs. By 1996, their fire had somewhat dimmed on the mixed bag album that is Down On The Upside, though it features a few classics like Burden In My Hand – and after this the band went on hiatus.
Since then Cornell had a mixed time of it, releasing a couple of solo albums plus singing in the band Audioslave, making time also for a Bond theme, You Know My Name:
Soundgarden regrouped in 2012 for the King Animal album, and the word was that they were working on a follow up and had been touring the US before this tragedy. But best to focus on the music, we’ll finish with an early highlight from the 1991 Temple of the Dog album, a dignified response to the death of Mother Love Bone’s Andrew Wood, the title says it all – Say Hello To Heaven, it shows off Cornell’s incredible range. Rest in peace.