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  • August 29th, 2017

    15 of Our Favorite Chris Cornell Songs to Celebrate His Life

    On May 18, the world lost Chris Cornell, who was known for his poetic lyrics and iconic singing voice that could span 4 octaves. Cornell fronted some of the most popular rock bands of the 90s and 2000s like Soundgarden and Audioslave. Cornell was also known for being the lead singer of Temple of the Dog, a band that featured members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden to pay tribute to the late Mother Love Bone singer and Cornell’s friend Andy Wood. Cornell was also known for his impressive solo career that transcended genres and proved him to be a very virtuosic singer and lyricist.

    On June 25, 2016, we were lucky enough to have Chris Cornell perform at The Capitol Theatre on tour to support his latest solo album Higher Truth. He gave the audience a real treat, playing songs from his solo career, Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Temple of the Dog, as well as covers of Mad Season, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Prince, and Bob Dylan. One of the most significant songs he played that night was Audioslave’s “The Last Remaining Light,” which was the first and only time Cornell played it outside of Audioslave. To make things even more special, he sang the song with alternative lyrics.

    Euphoria Mourning: A Tribute to Chris Cornell featuring Striven, The Noisy Tenants, Dylan Kay Band, and Jim Koeppel is tonight at Garcia’s! We invite you to come celebrate the life and incredible music of Cornell. Tickets are now available. As we remember Chris Cornell, we would like to go through 15 of our favorite songs spanning his entire career.

    1. “Like A Stone” – Audioslave (Audioslave, 2002)

    “Like A Stone” features some of the best lyrics Cornell ever wrote. Cornell stated “It’s a song about concentrating on the afterlife you would hope for, rather than the normal monotheistic approach: You work really hard all your life to be a good person and a moral persona and fair and generous, and then you go to hell anyway.” The song peaked at number one on both Billboard’s mainstream rock and alternative charts.

    2. “Black Hole Sun” – Soundgarden (Superunkown, 1994)

    “Black Hole Sun” is known for being the pinnacle of Soundgarden’s career. The song reached number one on Billboard’s mainstream rock charts and number two on their modern rock charts. Soundgarden received a Grammy award in 1995 for Best Rock Performance for “Black Hole Sun.” The band managed to stay true to their style while expanding and drawing in a whole new audience to their fanbase.

    3. “Say Hello 2 Heaven” – Temple of fhe Dog (Temple of The Dog, 1991)

    “Say Hello 2 Heaven” was the first song on Temple of the Dog. The song directly addresses Andy Woods death. It talks about Cornell’s emotions when having to say goodbye to his friend. The song takes on a tone that’s more similar to Pearl Jam’s style due to the fact that the guitarists and bassist were from Pearl Jam.

    4. “Spoonman” – Soundgarden (Superunkown, 1994)

    “Spoonman” was originally inspired by Cameron Crowe’s 1992 movie Singles, a movie about the Seattle music scene at the time. On a prop of a demo tape used in the film, Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam wrote three fake song names. Cornell saw the prop and was inspired to create a song for each title. The songs were “Spoonman”, “Flutter Girl,” and “Seasons.” “Seasons” was used on the Singles soundtrack and became Cornell’s first hit as a solo artist. “Flutter Girl” was used on Cornell’s first solo album Euphoria Mourning, and “Spoonman” was used for Soundgarden’s Superunkown. The song earned Soundgarden a Grammy award for Best Metal Performance in 1995.

    5. “Fell On Black Days” – Soundgarden (Superunkown, 1994)

    “Fell On Black Days” was one of Soundgarden’s more simpler song. Cornell stated that it was the easiest Soundgarden song for him to play on the Songbook Tour because he didn’t have to rewrite any of the parts, unlike most of his other songs. The song peaked at number four on the billboard mainstream rock charts and is still known today as one of Soundgarden’s biggest hits.

    6. “Moth” – Audioslave (Revelations, 2006)

    With Revelations, Cornell’s lyrics leaned towards a darker perspective on this album, and “Moth” was no exception. The band finished recording Revelations, but producer Brendan O’Brien asked for one more song to fully finish the album. The band wrote and recorded “Moth” that day, making it the final song that Audioslave recorded together.

    7. “Rusty Cage” – Soundgarden (Badmotorfinger, 1991)

    “Rusty Cage” is the opening track off of Badmotorfinger. Soundgarden was known for using odd time signatures, however this was one of the first song that they wrote that featured one. The first part is normal but the second part gets very confusing, so confusing that I won’t begin to try and explain it. However despite its odd tempo, Cornell wrote and sang words that were able to fit the part and the song became a huge hit for them. The song has been covered numerous times, however, the most well known cover of “Rusty Cage” would be Johnny Cash’s version of it.

    8. “Burden In My Hand” – Soundgarden (Down On The Upside, 1996)

    Soundgarden had established themselves with their heavy guitar riffs and deep lyrics. In 1996, the band drifted away from their heavy sound and went for a more raw and self produced sound with Down On The Upside. “Burden In My Hand” starts off with Cornell singing over an upbeat piano part. The song builds up and proceeds to get heavier however, it never made the piano part feel out of place. And who said a piano couldn’t play hard rock?

    9. “Hunger Strike” – Temple of fhe Dog (Temple of the Dog, 1991)

    “Hunger Strike” is just a verse and a chorus but it also marks a great friendship. This song was recorded during the time Pearl Jam was forming as a band. When Eddie Vedder came to Seattle for the first time to meet his bandmates in 1990, he met Cornell as well. Cornell welcomed him to sing on “Hunger Strike” and it created a deep friendship between the two.

    10. “Murder Of Blue Skies” – Chris Cornell (Higher Truth, 2015)

    In an interview Cornell had with director Cameron Crowe in 2015, Crowe stated “Murderer Of Blue Skies” as one of the most loving anti-love songs. It is a song that starts off mellow with Cornell on acoustic guitar until it builds up to Cornell’s roaring vocals throughout the guitar solo and the chorus and a full band playing behind him.

    11. “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” – Chris Cornell (Higher Truth, 2015)

    “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” was the lead single off of Higher Truth and it introduced his fans to a softer but still edgy Chris Cornell. The song also features Cornell playing a mandolin, however he’s done this before on previous songs, like Soundgarden’s “Ty Cobb.”

    12. “Cochise” – Audioslave (Audioslave, 2002)

    “Cochise” was the first Audioslave song to be released. The song was originally entitled “Save Yourself” until it was renamed to “Cochise” after the Native American chief. “Cochise” was one of the first songs Audioslave wrote together as a band and was typically played as the last song of their live set.

    13. “Been Away Too Long” – Soundgarden (King Animal, 2012)

    “Been Away Too Long” was the first single for 2012’s King Animal and it marked the return of Soundgarden after their 13 year hiatus. It also marked the first time the group recorded music for the first time in 16 years.

    14. “Show Me How To Live” – Audioslave (Audioslave, 2002)

    “Show Me How To Live” will never fail to make you lose your voice if you are singing along. Cornell’s voice is really put to the test in this song with its blaring chorus. In the music video, the band used a car that is a replica of the 1970 Dodge Challenger from the movie Vanishing Point.

    15. “You Know My Name” – Chris Cornell (Carry On, 2007)

    “You Know My Name” was the theme song for Daniel Craig’s first James Bond movie, Casino Royale. Cornell was the first American male singer to sing on a James Bond theme. He also was the first male to sing on a James Bond theme song since 1987, when A-ha sang “The Living Daylights” for the movie The Living Daylights.