He is one of the greatest musicians of the 90s and one of the greatest voices of all time.
We do not really know how to open this review so let's just start...
(Photo: Jeff Lipsky)
1. His full name is Christopher John Boyle and he was born on July 20th, 1964, and raised in Seattle, Washington
2. After his parents divorced, his two older brothers and three younger sisters adopted his mother's last name - Cornell.
3. Already at a young age Cornell had to deal with depression, he was lonely and avoided social relations. He had many fears and also suicidal tendencies that he had to deal with all his life. These were mainly the reasons why drugs and alcohol were an integral part of his life.
4. Growing up at home with alcoholic parents was the "best" refuge for a child suffering from depression and it contributed greatly to his exposure to alcohol and drugs. Already at the age of 12, he started consuming alcohol and various drugs that were available at home. He said that alcohol is what led to heavy drugs, he gives you the confidence that you can take any drug possible and nothing will happen to you.
5. His first exposure to music was around the age of 9 when he found a collection of "The Beatles" records in the basement of an abandoned house on the street where he lived. For several years he listened only to these albums.
(Photo: Gie Knaeps)
6. Although he learned to play the piano and guitar, the first instrument that made him love rock music was a snare drum that his mother bought him. Aside from drugs and alcohol, the refuge that saved him was music, it was his means of channeling all his hard feelings and emotions out, living with himself peacefully and genuinely.
7. In 1982 Chris was a drummer in the band "Face to Face" which he formed together with bassist Duncan Elder and guitarist Bruce Sandelin
8. It appears that in the same year Chris formed another band called "The Shemps", a cover band that performed in small clubs in Seattle. The band also included bassist Hiro Yamamoto and guitarist Kim Thayil.
9. In 1984, Cornell's most famous band "Soundgarden" was formed. Hiro on bass, Kim on the guitar, and Cornell on the drums and vocals. A year later they enlisted drummer Scott Sundquist to allow Chris to concentrate on singing but he very quickly left and was replaced by Matt Cameron.
(Photo: Jay Blakesburg)
10. In 1987 the band signed with the label "Sub Pop" which was the mainstay of the grunge scene and released their first EP "Screaming Life", a year later they released their second EP "Fopp". These two EPs created a very big buzz around the band and it became a popular band in Seattle.
11. In 1988 the band signed with the label "SST Records" and released their debut album "Ultramega OK", the album created huge exposure for the band and even a nomination for a Grammy Award. As a result, "Soundgarden" was signed with the big label "A&M Records" and became the first band from the grunge scene in Seattle to sign a record deal with a big label.
12. In 1989 the band released their second album "Louder Than Love". On this album, "Soundgarden" first introduced its special time signature (a rhythm that is not arranged in 4 regular bars) and took it one step further toward metal. This is their first album to enter the Billboard 200 and this is also Hiro's last album with the band replaced by bassist Ben Shepherd.
13. In March 1990 Chris lost his good friend Andrew Wood, the two had very close friends and Wood's death had a very severe impact on Chris. He thought going out with his band on a tour would help him overcome the loss but he realized he was wrong and as soon as he returned from the tour, along with drummer Cameron and friends from Wood's band "Mother Love Bone", Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and "new" friends Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready they created the album and temporary band "Temple Of The Dog" which was all created in Wood's memory. They released their self-titled album in 1991.
14. In the same year when the grunge scene became big in the US and just before it broke into the rest of the world, the band released their third album "Badmotorfinger". With singles like "Jesus Christ Pose", "Outshined" and "Rusty Cage". With a Grammy nomination, the album became to be one of the most successful. They became the band that brought it to the mainstream and was the preparation for the success of the next album.
16. In 1994 the band released their fourth album "Superunknown". It's considered the band's most successful album, reaching number one on the Billboard 200 and producing singles such as "Spoonman", "The Day I Tried to Live", "Black Hole Sun", and "My Wave" and "Fell on Black Days". The album was nominated for three Grammy Awards and won two.
17. In 1996 the band released their fifth album "Down On the Upside". On this album, the band moved away from their grunge roots and experimented with other musical genres, with less powerful riffs and the additions of instruments with acoustic sounds. The album did not succeed like its predecessor. It produced singles such as: "Pretty Noose", "Burden in My Hand", "Blow Up the Outside World" and "Ty Cobb/Rhinosaur".
18. After the tour to promote the album, disagreements began between the band members, especially between Cornell and Kim. Cornell wanted to keep moving from the heavy reefs and distortion to other directions and Kim opposed the idea. By 1997 it was no longer possible to bridge the gaps and one of the five big bands of the grunge disbanded.
19. That year Chris experienced a very difficult time, his big band broke up and his marriage fell apart as well. He felt he had nothing to hold on to and the accelerating depression took over completely. He isolated himself from everyone and deteriorated severely with drug use and starvation.
20. In 1999 Chris released his debut album "Euphoria Morning". From the album came the single "Can't Change Me" which was nominated for a Grammy and the single "Preaching the End of the World", but despite that, it was not a great success. However, the tour turned out to be a dizzying success, accompanied by huge demand throughout the United States.
21. In 2000, courtesy of producer Rick Rubin, Chris joined the "Rage Against the Machine" trio and co-founded with them one of the great supergroups in the rock world "Audioslave". A deadly and powerful combination of three musicians with a singer who can break down walls. Strong lyrics are combined with strong riffs, and dynamics combined with a melody that can shatter anything that stands in their way. In 2002, the band's debut album bearing the band's name was released and included the singles: "Cochise", "Like a Stone", "Show Me How to" "Live", "I Am the Highway" and "What You Are". The album was a great success and reached number 7 on the Billboard 200, to this day it is considered the band's most successful album.
22. After struggling with his fears, in 2002 Cornell put himself in a rehab facility and decided he needed to completely change his life. In an interview with Guitar.com magazine in 1999, Chris talked about dealing with depression:
"Sometimes it's just a chemical reaction. It doesn't seem to come from nowhere or for any reason and whenever I was in a kind of depression, I tried over the years not only to imagine what it feels like not to be there, but to try to remind myself that I can just wake up the next day and it can disappear because that way It happens, not worrying about it. When I feel great, I remember the depression and think about the differences of how I feel and why I would feel that way and not create an emotional response one way or another. You just have to understand that these are life patterns and you just have to get through them."
23. In 2005 the lethal band released their second album "Out of Exile" which went straight to number one on the Billboard 200 and came out with the singles: "Be Yourself", "Your Time Has Come", "Doesn't Remind Me" and "Out of Exile". Cornell said that on this album he wrote the most personal songs he had ever written, especially in light of the period he went through 5 years before.
24. That same year Audioslave became the first American band to perform in front of a live audience in Cuba and it was also the band's longest show.
As "Earth, Wind and Fire" meet "Led Zeppelin". Only two singles came out of the album: "Original Fire" and "Revelations". Morello said it was amazing to see Chris fight alcohol and drugs and stay clean in the recordings of the band's albums.
26. Cornell wrote all the lyrics on Audioslave's albums but the music was written by everyone together. Both Morello and Cornell said that the process of writing and creating together was significantly better, more mature, and more creative than with their previous bands.
27. In 2007 the supergroup came to an end, the rage trio reunited for a short time with Zack de la Rocha, and Cornell continued his solo career releasing his second solo album "Carry On", which reached number 17 on Billboard but was not a huge success, Chris said that many materials on the album are songs he could not have released with Audioslave. The singles from the album were: "You Know My Name", "No Such Thing", "Arms Around Your Love" and "She'll Never Be Your Man".
28. In 2008 Cornell wrote the song "Light On" for David Cook, one of the participants in the seventh season of "American Idol". Cornell was impressed by David Cook's performances in the show, especially the one of "Billie Jean," which was faithful to Chris' version from the album "Carry On" and decided to write the song for him.
29. In 2009 Cornell released his third solo album "Scream", the album was completely different from anything Chris had done up to that point. It is just like it sounds, Chris Cornell meets Timbaland, a poppy production of music with Chris' voice and lyrics. The two said that this is the best album they have created, which by the way, was Chris' most successful and reached number ten on the Billboard 200.
30. In the same year, Chris made his first appearance in Israel in front of 10,000 people at the exhibition center in Tel Aviv.
31. In 2010 after 12 years of hiatus "Soundgarden" returned and reunited. The first song to come out after the reunion was "Live to Rise" which was recorded in 2012 specifically for the movie "The Avengers". This is not the only song Cornell wrote for a movie/tv series. Listen to the playlist at the end of this review and you will find out more.
32. In 2011 Chris embarked on one of the most amazing tours of his career (in our opinion), one of the most exciting, honest, and sweeping shows called "Songbook". The shows that took place mostly in the US included songs from Chris' entire repertoire. In November of that year, the album of that tour came out which is a must-have album!
33. In 2012, Cornell came to Israel for the second time and held two performances, one at "Nokia Hall" in Tel Aviv and the other at the "Shoni Amphitheater".
34. At the end of 2012, Soundgarden's sixth and final album "King Animal" was released, 16 years after the release of the fifth album. Three singles came out of the album: "Been Away Too Long", "By Crooked Steps" and "Halfway There". All band members felt that this album was a direct sequel to "Down The Upside" as if only a year / two had passed since the album.
35. A seventh album was also due out, but after Cornell's death, the band decided to break up. There are still some details about the existence of a seventh album and the band members are trying to end the recordings with Cornell's voice but they are experiencing delays, it is currently unknown if this is true or when it is due out.
36. In 2014 Cornell gain arrived in Israel, this time with his band "Soundgarden" for a phenomenal show at Bloomfield Stadium, we have no way of describing what this show did to us and the imprint it left on us, let's say that Kim's guitar echo still resonates in our heads even today.
(Photo: Valerie Kuypers)
37. In 2015 Chris released his latest solo album "Higher Truth". This is a calm and relaxed album that Chris recorded with producer Brendan O'Brien and it feels like Chris’ last breath.
38. In May 2016 we were privileged to see Cornell at the Tel Aviv Hall of Culture, in one of the most exciting performances of our lives, it was a "Songbook" style performance where Cornell performed alone on stage with an acoustic guitar, fully exposed giving out his soul. There was another performance in "Caesarea" as well.
39. On May 18, 2017, Cornell was found lifeless by his security guard in the shower in the MGM Grand Hotel room in Michigan after a "Soundgarden" show at the "Fox Theater". The cause of death was defined as suicide by hanging.
We have prepared a special playlist for you, for such a talented and special artist that for sure we have not been able to cover his entire career or even explain what impact he has had on the world of music.