When Chris Cornell died on this day one year ago, we here at Shindigmusic were stunned and heartbroken. We move fast around here in an effort to keep up with this wonderful, evolving music scene we cover — but Cornell’s death pretty much stopped all of us in our tracks.
His music molded our young adult lives, and became a part of our DNA. As we’re all musicians here, his music and influence was a major contributing factor into each of our own work. He was an enigma and a true visionary. He was an icon and a trailblazer.
Cornell was a dynamic vocalist, guitarist and songwriter and helmed two bands that helped define the grunge era. As the leader of the mighty Soundgarden, and a pair of grunge-metal supergroups in Temple of the Dog, and later Audioslave, Cornell was the architect to some of the genre’s most noteworthy musical contributions. Cornell was also a prolific solo artist who told brilliant stories of heartbreak, loss, isolation, addiction and love.
Altogether, Cornell has sold 14.8 million albums, 8.8 million digital songs, and 300 million on-demand audio streams in the U.S. alone, and more than 30 million records worldwide. He was nominated for 15 Grammy awards, won twice, and ranks ninth on the Rolling Stone’s list of best lead singers of all time.
Suffice it to say, the hole he leaves behind is quite large. About an hour after performing “Slaves & Bulldozers” with Soundgarden at Detroit’s Fox Theatre to close out what would sadly be the band’s final show, Cornell was found dead in the bathroom of his hotel room at the MGM Grand Detroit. He was 52.
When we woke up that following day to the push notifications and text messages on our phones alerting us of his untimely passing, we were still reeling. We listened to his records and spent the day and following weeks and months remembering him, but we just didn’t have it in us at the time to do a respectable enough job at memorializing him. But, on the one year anniversary of his death, we thought now might be a good time to do that.
We’ve found that even now it’s still so very difficult to put into words what he meant to all of us here. So instead of a long winded tribute, we thought we’d let his music do the talking and share some of our favorite Cornell tunes. Chris, we never wanted to write these words down for you — but here we are. Thank you for everything. No one sings like you anymore.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t lead off our list of favorites with the GOAT — Mr. Cornell’s opus, “Black Hole Sun” off of the seminal 1994 Soundgarden album, Superunkown.
Temple of the Dog “Say Hello 2 Heaven” off of Temple of the Dog (1991)
Chris Cornell “Sunshower” off of Great Expectations OST (1998)
Soundgarden “The Day I Tried to Live” off of Superunknown
Chris Cornell “Seasons” off of Singles OST (1992)
Temple of the Dog “Hunger Strike” off of Temple of the Dog
Soundgarden “4th of July” off of Superunknown
Soundgarden “Like Suicide” off of Superunknown
Chris Cornell “When I’m Down” off of Euphoria Mourning (1999)
Temple of the Dog “Call Me a Dog” off of Temple of the Dog
Chris Cornell “Disappearing One” off of Euphoria Mourning
Soundgarden “Jesus Christ Pose” off of Badmotorfinger (1991)
Soundgarden “Birth Ritual” off of Singles OST
Temple of the Dog “All Night Thing” off of Temple of the Dog
Audioslave “Like a Stone” off of Audioslave (2002)
We miss you, Chris.