Many people were surprised this morning to wake up to the news of the death of Chris Cornell, frontman of rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. He was also known for being a member of Temple of Dog, a tribute band dedicated to his late friend Andrew Wood who died of Heroin overdose.
Like, Nirvana, Soundgarden were one of the most popular bands to come out of Seattle in the late 90’s, carrying the torch for the grunge movement. But apart from having the staple grunge growl, Chris was known for his near four octave vocal range and being a prolific songwriter.
His love for music began during his teenage years, when he found a box of Beatles records during a time he was really depressed. He rose to prominence with his band Soundgarden, and gained international recognition with their sophomore album Superunknown, that featured singles Black Hole Sun and Spoonman, which both won Grammy Awards. Superunknown is listed #336 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of all time, while VH1 listed Black Hole Sun as #25 on the Top 100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s.
When Zack de La Rocha left Rage Against the Machine, Chris Cornell was asked to join the band, which soon became Audioslave. Apart from being the frontman for two bands, he was also known for his solo work, especially the song You Know My Name, the song written for the Bond film Casino Royale. His most recent songwriting endeavor was the charity single The Promise written for the ending credits for the movie of the same name about the Armenian genocide.
Chris was touring with his original band, Soundgarden when he committed suicide by hanging himself in his hotel room after a show in Detroit. Although this may have come as a shock to many, perhaps the darkness the singer experienced as a teen may have resurfaced again. Or maybe, like the ancient Greeks, he wished to have a most glorious death, meaning to die right after experiencing one of his best days because who wouldn’t want to end it on a high? The truth is, in these circumstances, we never know why someone decides to take their own life. But one thing is certain, too often the music world is plagued by the darkness that consumes their artists.
But after all that is said and done, at least we’re left with the music to remember these tortured artists by. And I like to believe that maybe they have found some peace in an after world that burns a little brighter than the one they left behind.
By: Azzurra Nox