Seattle’s Soundgarden and their enigmatic leader, Chris Cornell quickly became one of the hottest propertie sin the music industry when they landed with heartfelt rockers and the kind of songwriting usually reserved for bards. But while the lyrical content of Cornell’s vision was always well-received, it was his vocal performance that shines brightly as a lasting reminder of the late singer’s talent.
The iconic singing voice of Soundgarden and Audioslave singer Chris Cornell is one that will live long after his sad passing. As an influential member of the Seattle scene in the 1990s, Cornell became the voice of his generation with some wonderful vocal performances, underpinned by his magnificent four-octave range.
While Cornell’s work with Audioslave. a supergroup formed with members of Rage Against the Machine, and as a solo artist, was widely loved — his band Soundgarden will always remain the most endeared to the hearts of his fans.
Raised in the Washington city of Seattle. Chris Cornell was the main protagonist in creating the grunge movement, which swept America and the world in the early nineties. Forming Soundgarden with guitarist Kim Thyail and bassist Hiro Yamamoto in 1984, they would produce some iconic work in their illustrious career.
The band’s 1994 album Superunknown would become a record filled to the brim with anthems for Generation X. There’s one track on that record that will go down in history, a song where Cornell’s majestic vocal soars highest of all, ‘Black Hole Sun’.
Written by Cornell after mistaking a line from a news anchor on the TV, Kim Thayall spoke to Songfacts about the track and remarked: “We’d had singles before. But that was easily our biggest hit. That was more singer/songwriterish. Chris went that direction of singer/songwriter guy, and the band was more accepting because of the success of singer/songwriting stuff as opposed to more guitar oriented rock. It was more vocal accompaniment rock, some guitar. So we started utilising a little bit more of that.”
The song quickly topped the rock charts and saw Soundgarden and Cornell launch into superstardom. They turned Cornell from a rock band singer to the voice of his generation as he let his emotive power shine through his wonderful instrument. It would even see the star take on the theme tune for James Bond in 2006.
But for now, let’s sit back and listen to the stunning isolated vocal of Chris Cornell on the Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’ below.