Photo: Associated Press
Everything great that will be said about Chris Cornell in grief, has already been said about him in life. Many times over. That is how remarkable an artist he was.
Chris Cornell was the voice of most of my own personal soundtrack for my teen years. Something I am damn bloody grateful for. Louder Than Love, Bad Motorfinger and Superunknown are an incredible trio of successive music recordings that captures a progressive aggressive mix of volume, poetry and growth. Cornell’s compositional and lyrical abilities were arguably the best contributions to music of the decade. A decade where grunge dominated. Call it whatever music you want. It would be hard to forget Cornell’s declaration during an awards ceremony that Soundgarden were a heavy metal band. Cornell would later on embrace the band’s place in history as having contributed mightily to the Seattle Sound.
It’s important to note that Soundgarden band mates past and present are unfairly forgotten for their own songwriting abilities. Hiro Yamamoto, Ben Shepherd, Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron contributed memorable music ideas to respective records they were on.
Cornell’s telling of how he wrote the music for what would become Temple of the Dog was incredibly moving. The album was a tribute record to Mother Love Bone vocalist Andrew Wood. Wood passed away due to a drug overdose right when his band was breaking through. The resulting work would go on to be a defining musical masterpiece of the 1990’s and is an absolute staple of any music collection. Cornell’s emotional vocal performance is unforgettable and powerful on this record. His sharing of vocal duties with Eddie Vedder on “Hunger Strike” still leaves listeners awestruck with amazement. That particular track’s lyric still speaks volumes today in addressing poverty and hunger not just in third world countries, but right within the North American continent. Hunger is all around. People are stealing just to eat. Parents will go hungry just to ensure their children eat.
Chris Cornell went on to record more incredible music on his own and within and outside of Soundgarden. A renewed interest in his music was brought about through the records of Audioslave. He was involved in a significant amount of philanthropic work with his spouse. At the time of his passing, he was on tour with Soundgarden with a full slate of shows on the books.