Musician/actor Chris Cornell arrives at the premiere of “Machine Gun Preacher” at Roy Thomson Hall during the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2011 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
On May 18th, 2017 the world lost one of the most influential musicians of our time, Chris Cornell. Four years after his passing we look to celebrate this genius and his impact not only on music but pop culture as well.
In honor of his storied career, we present his iconic songs in no particular order (we couldn’t choose a favorite here):
Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun
The titular track, the big break, the song that brought the world’s ears rightfully fixated on Cornell. “Black Hole Sun” was released on the Soundgarden‘s fourth studio album, Superunknown, in 1994 and became one of their largest springboards into the annals of rock greatness. The record went quintuple platinum in the U.S., triple platinum in Canada was nominated for a Grammy, and its singles “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman” both won Grammies.
Audioslave – Like a Stone
When life gives you lemons, in the form on Rage Against the Machine‘s breakup, you make bad-ass lemonade and form Audioslave. Cornell’s departure from Soundgarden in 1997 and Rage frontman Zack de la Rocha‘s in 2000, created the unique opportunity for this supergroup to come together and make some of Cornell’s most recognized works. “Like a Stone” topped charts, including a number 31 spot on the Hot 100 chart, making it his biggest US hit. It later went on to become the fifth best performing song on the Alternative Songs chart of the decade and the eighth best performing song on the Mainstream Rock chart of the decade.
Casino Royale – Chris Cornell – You Know My Name
Winning several Grammies and having multiple records go platinum is great, but to write the theme song for one of the longest-running movie franchises in history cemented Cornell’s memory in the minds of moviegoers as well. “You Know My Name” marked the first male lead theme song in the James Bond universe in since 1987 and Cornell did it masterfully. His transcendent work would even net him a similar opportunity a half-decade later when Soundgarden was tasked to write the theme song to the first Marvel Avengers movie “Live to Rise”
Temple Of The Dog – Hunger Strike
What’s more iconic than Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder? Temple of the Dog’s tragic origins, as a one-off tribute to Cornell’s old roommate Andrew Wood, would soon spawn some of the greatest artists in the grunge genre. The unexpected death of Wood left bandmates Vedder, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready, and Matt Cameron without a singer. The Temple of the Dog project would act as a jumping point, and “Hunger Strike” in particular, for the formation of Cornell’s influential counterpart Pearl Jam. “Hunger Strike” is in fact Vedder’s first featured vocal on a record.
Chris Cornell – “Nothing Compares 2 U” (Prince Cover)
Nothing is harder than nailing a good cover, let along a Prince cover. Well, Chris tried it, and Chris nailed it. In one of many examples of his cover prowess, his performance of “Nothing Compares 2 U” on Sirius XM still stand as one of his best.