Chris Cornell died five years ago today.
The grunge icon, whose unmistakable voice helped define the sound of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave, passed away May 18, 2017, at age 52.
Cornell, born July 20, 1964, co-founded Soundgarden in 1984, becoming a staple of the Seattle music scene before the grunge movement took off in the early ’90s. In 1990, Cornell formed Temple of the Dog with future members of Pearl Jam. They released one album together in 1991. The record memorably included the song “Hunger Strike,” featuring a then-unknown Eddie Vedder.
Soungarden, meanwhile, began gaining mainstream attention with 1991’s Batmotorfinger, which was released within two months of Pearl Jam’s Ten and Nirvana‘s Nevermind. They then broke out further with 1994’s Superunknown, which spawned Soundgarden’s signature single, “Black Hole Sun.”
After releasing one more album, 1996’s Down on the Upside, Soundgarden broke up in 1997. Cornell then began a solo career. In 2001, he joined three-fourths of Rage Against the Machine to form Audioslave, which would release three records before disbanding in 2007.
Soundgarden then announced in 2010 that they were reuniting, and a new album, King Animal, dropped in 2012. The group continued to tour throughout the 2010s and had begun working on another record.
On May 17, 2017, Soundgarden performed in Detroit. In the early morning hours following the show, Cornell was found dead in his hotel room. His death was ruled a suicide.
In January 2019, the Cornell family staged a tribute concert featuring Metallica, Foo Fighters and Miley Cyrus, among many others. The following year, a posthumous covers compilation, No One Sings Like You Anymore, Vol. 1, was released. It was described as Cornell’s last fully completed studio album.
If you are in crisis or know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
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