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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Losing an icon: RIP Chris Cornell

Lead vocalist of Soundgarden and Audioslave Chris Cornell died Wednesday, May 18 shortly after his performance with Soundgarden in Detroit. He was 52-years-old.

Cornell is considered to be one of the great architects of ‘90s grunge. Soundgarden was one of the first Seattle grunge bands to sign a major label. In 1994, the band released its (arguably) most popular album, “Superunknown,” with the single “Black Hole Sun.” While that may be considered Soundgarden’s most recognizable song, it wasn’t the one that led me to be a fan of Cornell’s music.

I was born in 1995, so by the time I was old enough to know who Soundgarden was, they had already broken up. Luckily, I had older siblings that helped me get introduced to Cornell’s music. My sister was in high school during the grunge era. Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden were some of her favorites and as a young kid. Cornell’s distinctive voice is what drew me to his music.

I love Soundgarden but Audioslave is what made him one of my favorite artists. Formed after Rage Against the Machine’s frontman Zack De La Rocha left, Audioslave focused on an emphasis of blending ‘70s style hard rock with ‘90s alternative rock.

I don’t think there is a person alive that can listen to an Audioslave song and have a bad day. I also grew up around my dad’s collection of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin albums. Audioslave combined the two eras of rock well to make a great sound. The band was more mellow than the grunge era and Cornell’s voice seemed more prominent in their songs. His voice was one of the most distinct in rock history.  

Cornell’s voice is what helped me get through bad times in my life. When my uncle died, “Like a Stone” by Audioslave was the song that made me feel better. Cornell was there for me when I needed it.  There is something about his voice that told you he cared more about his music than anything else. It made you feel good, even some of his most heavy songs were a joy to listen to because of his voice. I’d even venture to say that his voice rivaled that of Frank Sinatra.

He was on my bucket list of artists I have yet to see live but unfortunately, it’ll go unchecked.

May 18, 2017, after playing a show at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Cornell was found by his bodyguard in his hotel room, according to the New York Times. After paramedics tried to revive him,  he was pronounced dead around 1:30 a.m. The cause of death was suicide by hanging.  

Chris Cornell was one of the best musicians of all time. As a diehard fan I find it hard to believe that he’s gone. A true icon, he will be missed by his friends, family, and millions of fans. Rest in Peace Chris Cornell.


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