As we mourn the loss of another musical hero, who tragically took his life after one last show in Detroit yesterday, we take a look back at some of the best works that Soundgarden's Chris Cornell put his name to.
Say Hello 2 Heaven
One of Cornell’s most emotional and powerful vocal performances, not surprising considering it was delivered as part of Temple Of The Dog. The group — essentially Cornell fronting what would become Pearl Jam — was formed in tribute to his friend Andrew Wood, frontman of Mother Love Bone, who had died from a heroin overdose.
A simple acoustic number, just Cornell and a guitar (doubled at times), it was a world away from the raucous heavy rock of Soundgarden. It featured the delicacy of his voice too, gentle falsetto creeping in where before there was rock god howls and screaming. It was also on the Singles soundtrack that they captured the zeitgeist of the grunge movement (Pearl Jam! Mudhoney! Alice In Chains! And damn near every other Seattle grunge band of note at the time, but not Nirvana).
You Know My Name
Cornell, Chris Cornell. Here he goes bombastic, courtesy of having a theme song to a James Bond movie (the 2006 version of Casino Royale). Goes to a whole other level beyond a standard Cornell rock song courtesy of orchestral backings.
Takes the funky Michael Jackson track and slows it right down. Its almost dirge-like delivery is a perfect showcase of Cornell’s voice. You can imagine it being performed from the corner of a dive bar somewhere. It’s devoid of its original groovin’ bass line and synth stings, but this acoustic guitar- and drums-driven version gives it a level of power not witnessed in the original. Quite possibly the best take on it too (even including The Bates).
As statements of intents for new acts go, this one was one of the best. Anticipation was already at fever pitch for the project (Chris Cornell fronting Rage Against The Machine? Holy hell!), but they knocked it out of the park with their debut song. It deserved all the fireworks that accompanied the song in the video clip. Oh, and that 11 second wail too about three-quarters of the way through the song. Goddamn.