The first time I was introduced to Chris Cornell was in 1992. Yes, I was only 8 years old but thanks to my mom, I already had great taste in music. After seeing the music videos for “Rusty Cage” and “Outshined” back to back on MTV, I was in love with everything about the band Soundgarden. I immediately added Badmotorfinger to my growing tape collection and wore it out after a few months. Yes, I said tape collection.
The rawness of Chris’ voice was so unique that you could literally feel what he was singing about. And not to mention, with his flowing hair and soulful eyes, he was beyond good looking. (He may or may not have been the reason I fell hard for my high school boyfriend, who always reminded me of Chris Cornell. But that’s an whole different article!)
Change The World
In 1994, Superunknown was released and the entire world of music would forever be changed. Helping to redefine grunge & alternative music, from “Spoonman”, “Fell On Black Days” and the legendary “Black Hole Sun”, Soundgarden permanently left their mark on the world with this album. They released two more albums as a band before Chris went his separate way, settling into a new creative direction.
The solo work that Chris released was so beautifully personal and haunting but was quite different from his time in Soundgarden. While mostly praised for his new route, he received a lot of criticism for trying different things. I’ve never understood why “fans” are quick to turn on their favorite musicians and jump to calling them “sellouts” if their music evolves into being a bit more commercial-friendly. Especially if they cut their hair.
But who could forget his time with Temple of the Dog or better yet, Audioslave? With songs like “Hunger Strike” and “Say Hello 2 Heaven” to “Cochise“, “Like A Stone” and “I Am The Highway“, the music this man helped create will go down in rock history as some of the greatest songs ever written.
His voice is always nostalgic and reminds me a lot of growing up. I have turned to his music countless times to get through my own struggles, as so many others have, too. To know that his own personal demons were too much to bear while he aided so many in their time of need, is a tough pill to swallow. The fact that he is no longer here on Earth making music still doesn’t seem real to me. But man oh man, am I grateful for the legacy he left behind.
One of my favorite performances from him was his cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” on SiriusXM. It’s one of those performances that is career defining and really showcases the artist behind the musician. Thank you for everything you created, Chris. The world loved and always will…love you.
What are some of YOUR favorite Chris Cornell songs? Tell us in the comments below.