Remembering Chris Cornell — 10 of his greatest all-time songs
When I think of some of the artists I play every Saturday night on the Slaughterhouse show here on the Hawk, one of the voices I love hearing more than most, is the unmistakable vocals of Chris Cornell. From Soundgarden to Temple of the Dog, Audioslave, or his solo career, Cornell had one of the most definitive voices in the entire rock world. His vocals were nothing short of legendary.
When I heard of Cornell’s passing at age 52, I was completely shocked and instantly went numb because one of my favorite lead vocalists of all time, was just instantly gone. This is just a complete tragedy and early on, has hit me the way some may have been devastated by the passing of Prince or Kurt Cobain. Chris Cornell was one of the ultimate frontmen in rock and roll for me. Cornell had it all, the voice, the look, and an strong stage presence.You can’t have a conversation about the birth of grunge music without Cornell and Soundgarden being a major part of that discussion. While I was happy that Pearl Jam was recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with an induction in 2017, I thought Soundgarden should have been on stage right along with them, because they were equally important to the change over in music in the early 90’s.
Over the years, Cornell broadened his scope through different projects. Whether it was working with Eddie Vedder and other on Temple of the Dog, joining up with Tom Morello and members of Rage Against the Machine for Audioslave or just doing his own solo projects, Cornell was always on the top of his game and made his mark on those projects. Cornell could cover songs from other artists and put such an amazing spin on them, it felt like you were listening to them like they were an original. Perfect example of that is Cornell’s rendition of Prince’s song “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Cornell’s version of it is nothing short of outstanding.
The rock world lost one of the greats today, and quite possibly one of its most underrated vocalists of our time. To commemorate Chris Cornell’s passing, here are my top 10 favorite songs that Cornell delivered to us over the years.
You Know My Name
Always thought that this song, written for the James Bond movie Casino Royale, showed some of Cornell’s greatest versatility and was one of the best songs ever written for the legendary movie series.
‘Show Me How to Live’
When Cornell first joined up with Morello and formed Audioslave, I wasn’t sure how the band was going to lend itself to Cornell’s vocals. I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised when I heard them together. “Show Me How to Live,” is probably one of the best singles Cornell recorded with the group.
‘Say Hello to Heaven’
When Temple of the Dog formed, you had some of Seattle’s best musicians merging together for a fantastic project. This was always my favorite song from the group that highlighted some of Cornell’s amazing range.
Soundgarden was entrenched as one of the founding fathers of the 90’s movement. This song, probably more so than any other, will be one of the staples of that era.
‘Like a Stone’
To me, this is one of the best songs Cornell ever sang. The songs highlights his amazing range of lows and highs.
Singles was a 90’s movie that highlighted the grunge movement in Seattle. One of my favorite soundtracks and this is by far one of the best tracks on the album.
‘Fell on Black Days’
One of the more mellow tracks from Soundgarden ever produced but one of their best also.
Cornell has such a huge library, I would normally never include a cover BUT, this cover of Michael Jackson’s iconic tune, is just completely amazing. Not many singers could’ve pulled it off but Cornell nails this one.
‘Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart’
From Cornell’s 4th solo album, Higher Truth, this was the lead single. The song hit #5 on the Billboard rock chart. It’s one of Cornell’s more mellow vocals but the song has such an amazing vibe to it.
This was the first single to be released by Audioslave. When I first heard the track, it was definitely an eye-opening “WOW” moment. Cornell’s vocals, along with Morello, were just an phenomenal pairing and this tune is a complete monster.