When asked who my favorite singer is I without hesitation proclaim the name Chris Cornell. I just assume everyone knows who he is, but I have come to realize there’s Chris Cornell Fans, then there’s fans who like him, but know him through certain times in his career or who he sang for. So I start to rattle off:Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Audioslave, and of course, solo. All fans have different opinions, but for me, it is his solo work that leaves me speechless. When working solo it seems his style of music has an even more soulful almost heart stopping sound with his lyrics and that amazing voice that takes you to heights you can’t imagine.
Where Chris Cornell Began
Chris Cornell was born Christopher John Boyle on July 20, 1964 in Seattle, Washington. He was born the fourth of six children. Later as a teen, his parents divorced, and he took a role in helping with the family. This is when he took his mother’s maiden name, Cornell. As something of a rebel in school, he dropped out of school at a mere fifteen. He worked in places such as Ballard seafood wholesaler, and later as a cook. His work as a cook helped support his family. When he got a little older, supported himself this way as an aspiring artist.
In the eighties, when Grunge began, Soundgarden was the first Grunge band to sign a major label.
When Soundgarden was born, Chris Cornell was the lead singer and drummer. Matt Cameron replaced him as drummer in 1986, and Chris Cornell continued to belt out songs like Black Hole Sun to which you can listen to here.
Temple Of The Dog
Temple Of The Dog was born out of grief. The death of Andrew Wood is what spurred Chris Cornell to write a couple songs in tribute to his friend and housemate. Chris Cornell was quoted as saying: “…the idea was mainly to do a single as opposed to a whole record. And the thing was, the rest of the guys in Temple, they sort of thought, well, maybe we should make it a little bit longer project…It didn’t feel like a morose project. It felt sort of celebratory.” Say Hello To Heaven is an amazing tribute to his lost friend.
Quote from lyrics of Say Hello To Heaven:
“I never wanted
To write these words down for you
With pages of phrases
Of things we’ll never do
So I blow out the candle, and
I put you to bed”
The whole song just blows me away, but that is an amazing part. I’ve belted out the lyrics along with him, believe me when I say you don’t want to hear that. I’ve also wept and felt overwhelmed by the powerful words being sung. You can listen and watch Say Hello To Heaven in an amazing, original small venue setting here. Hungerstrike is another well recognized song of the past that continues to be a hit today. You can listen and watch the video here.
It was Rick Rubin, producer, that brought together Chris Cornell with Rage Against the Machine in 2001. Rage Against the machine had lost their lead singer the year before. Audioslave was their debut album. It was released on November 19, 2002. This album was created when the newly formed members wrote nineteen songs in twenty-one days. The album went on to sell five million copies worldwide according to the Audioslave official website. Audioslave was the first American rock band to play a show in Cuba, and their last official release was a DVD of this concert. You can watch and listen to their Like a Stone here.
Last But Not At All Least Chris Cornell Solo
I always leave favorite for last. Euphoria Morning was his first solo album released in 1999. Euphoria Morning sold over 75,000 copies in its first week-according to wikipedia. Some songs that can be heard on this album are Can’t Change Me and another favorite of mine, Wave Goodbye a tribute to another lost friend and awesome soulful singer Jeff Buckley. You can watch short clip of this, and more importantly his dedicating it to Jeff here . Carry On Released: 6/5/2007. Then, there’s the more recent Scream Released: 3/10/2009. Along the way the singles: Watch Out, Stop Me Released, Long Gone and Ground Zero. I couldn’t possibly list his best from these because they all are. Certainly the most romantic loving song is Finally Forever seen here .
The Man Behind The Music
When speaking of his music Chris Cornell said: “I’m not a lyric writer to make statements. What I enjoy doing is making paintings with lyrics, creating colorful images. I think that’s more what entertainment and music should be.” The man behind the music is a devoted loving husband and father of two. When speaking of his children, Chris is quoted as saying: “And I find now after spending a lot of time with my babies, they’re my best friends. And I still find a certain part of the adult world alienating, so I’d rather just hang out with my kids.” In 2006, he also became a Paris restaurateur, the restaurant called Black Calavados. He joined his wife and family in this endeavor.