Modern-musical founding father, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, was pronounced dead Wednesday, May 18 at his hotel room in Detroit after a 911 call sent authorities to the scene.
The vocalists for Nirvana (Kurt Cobain) and Alice in Chains (Layne Staley) preceded Cornell to the grave, a matter he commented on to Rolling Stone roughly two years ago.
“I’ve lost a lot of young, brilliant friends, people that I thought were very inspired… They’re all young and these guys all had limitless potential in their lives in front of them,” Cornell said.
Cornell was 52 at the time of his passing. He left behind a wife and three children.
Many people attribute the birth of ‘grunge’ to the early 90s (or more specifically, 1991), when three game-changing albums were released in the span of one year.
Iconic bands Mudhoney and Alice in Chains were rising to fame in an unexpected move, bringing underground, experimental rock to the mainstream. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden all released albums in ’91, which were pivotal in introducing a new sound, something viscous and angst-filled, that was a far cry from the bubblegum synth pop indicative of the 80s.
Soundgarden was one of the earliest acts to develop the new genre after forming in 1984, and with Chris Cornell’s gritty, melodic vocals, the band quickly gained national attention. This melodic branch of metal was famous for its raw, emotional energy, which Cornell embraced full heartedly, as he expressed to Rolling Stone.
“For me to make a connection with music it has to either have a visceral nature, whether it’s anger or aggression or that kind of passion which shows up in rock music, or there has to be some sort of melancholy and introspection, something about it that makes you feel your own pain,” Cornell said.
During its lifespan, Soundgarden received wide commercial success. Four Soundgarden albums achieved platinum status, Badmotorfinger, Superunknown, Down on the Upside and the 2010 compilation album Telephantism. In 1994, two of Soundgarden’s releases won Grammys. “Black Hole Sun” won ‘Best Hard Rock Performance’, and “Spoonman” won for ‘Best Metal Performance’.
Cornell sought a change three years later, and along with a myriad of solo work, formed a new band alongside several former artists from Rage Against the Machine. They called this new change Audioslave, a group who peaked in 2003 with the single “Like A Stone”.
Soundgarden started touring again in 2010, according to CNN, and were working on their first album in five years at the time of Cornell’s passing.