The sudden and sad death of Chris Cornell has many remembering a large portfolio of work that dates back as early as 1984 during Soundgarden’s formative years. His voice a consistent presence in rock music for decades between solo material (his first, Euphoria Morning, released in 1999) and his pairing with Rage Against The Machine alum. in the supergroup Audioslave which released three albums and disbanded in 2007. His eventual reunion with Soundgarden yielded ‘King Animal’ in 2014.
From his extensive catalogue, these are my picks.
10. While some of his solo material was hit and miss, this was a hit. “Can’t Change Me” from his first solo endeavor Euphoria Morning.
9. I remember first hearing this song, the debut release from Audioslave, and thinking ‘Cornell is back!’ from the supergroup’s first record in 2001
8. The last full-length album from Soundgarden ‘King Animal’ in 2014 yielded this gem. Non-State Actor. Cornell, even in 2014 could still wail.
7. Temple Of The Dog, a prequil supergroup with Cornell and members of Pearl Jam from before they became famous.
6. Burden In My Hand was from Soundgarden’s last album before breaking up in the late 90’s. This melodic selection showcases Cornell’s awesome growl.
5. 1994’s Superunknown was a game-changer for Soundgarden and came out when I was 13. Every track is burned into my mind. Especially track 2 ‘My Wave’
4. This song in general is full of stunning musical precision. The drums, the guitar and yes the vocals. Everything.
3. Soundgarden had been around since 1984 but it wasn’t until ‘Black Hole Sun’ came out a decade later that they were propelled into the mainstream
2. While many consider Soundgarden to be ‘grunge’ a case can be made that their earlier material could be classified as ‘metal’. For example, ‘Outshined’ and the record Badmotorfinger
1. It doesn’t get any better than the song ‘Fell On Black Days’. This song speaks to the nature of Cornell’s death and through his lyrics he illustrates the struggle. If you follow his words in any song, on any record, with any project, you can see the story of his battle.
Think about the pioneer voices of the early 1990’s. Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell, Scott Weiland, Layne Staley. Only one of those voices is left with us 2017. RIP Chris.