Chris Cornell died Wednesday night in Detroit according to a statement made by his representative. One of the founding fathers of the grunge movement, Cornell was 52 years old. The exact cause of his death is yet to be determined.
Chris rose to fame as the frontman of Soundgarden, who alongside bands such as Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots spearheaded the grunge movement in the early 90’s. Soundgarden distinguished themselves from their peers with the sludgy and odd-time riffing of Kim Thayil and Cornell’s powerful and wide vocal range. Soundgarden’s 1994 album Superunknown went on to sell millions and included songs such as ‘Blackhole Sun’ and ‘Spoonman’. However, all was not well in the Soundgarden camp. Tensions existed owing to the emerging creative differences with Cornell wanting to move from the band’s grunge sound to something more mellow and acoustic. Soundgarden broke up in 1997 and only reunited again in 2010.
While Chris Cornell is best known for Soundgarden, his musical contributions reach beyond the grunge band. Before Superunknown, Chris Cornell founded the group known as Temple of The Dog, as a tribute to his deceased friend and fellow musician, Andrew Wood. Temple of The Dog released their only album in 1991, with Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam making a guest appearance as well. Besides Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog, Chris Cornell and members of the Rap-Rock band, Rage Against The Machine (minus frontman Zack de la Rocha) collaborated to form the critically acclaimed rock band, Audioslave. Audioslave went on to release 3 critically acclaimed albums and record several amazing songs including ‘Like a Stone’ and ‘Be Yourself’.
With Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Scott Weiland and now, Chris Cornell dying suddenly and unexpectedly, the grunge era is still taking victims. Chris Cornell was known to have his own set of personal demons, having been troubled for a large part of his life by depression and alcoholism, but it’s yet to be ascertained whether either of those two played a part in his untimely death.
It’s a tragic day, but a day that should be spent cherishing and listening to the amazing music that Chris Cornell has left behind.
RIP Chris Cornell, and thank you for the music.