Chris Cornell and Pearl Jam had a long-running affinity during the singer’s tragically short lifetime. Of course, much of that was down to the shared band Temple of the Dog, a group put together by Cornell in tribute to his friend Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Mother Love Bone.
The group did some brief touring between 1990 and 1992 before the members returned to their day jobs with Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, briefly reuniting shortly before Cornell’s passing in 2017 for a short run of shows. But the moment featured in the video below was the ultimate connection between the vocalist and the band.
That run, perhaps quite confusingly, included no Pearl Jam or Soundgarden songs in the set. It’s a confusing prospect because Cornell had made no secret about his adoration for one track Pearl Jam’s in particular, ‘Better Man’. The song, taken from the band’s third album was an Eddie Vedder classic repurposed for the band.
The track is of significant emotional importance to Vedder and it was actually written while he was a teenager in angst at his stepfather who his mother remarried following his father’s death. At some shows, Vedder has been known to dedicate it to “the bastard who married my mother”.
While it’s unclear whether Cornell connected with that particular sentiment of the song or indeed he felt attached to it in another way, one thing is for sure, he performed it like it was his song to begin with.
Such a capable vocalist as Cornell is always likely to make a song his own but on this performance of ‘Better Man’, one of many given during his acoustic solo tour in 2011, Cornell transcends everything in the room and becomes the only sound in the world.
Cornell was famed for being able to bring a rock show to its knees with his touching and emotional performances but with this cover, Cornell becomes the only person in the world.