Chris Cornell performs with Soundgarden in 2014
Photo: Levi Bianco/Getty Images
Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell dies
Chris Cornell, best known as the powerful-voiced lead singer for Soundgarden, died following a tour stop in Detroit on May 17. According to multiple news reports, Cornell died by suicide. He was 52 years old.
Along with Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam, Soundgarden defined the Seattle alternative rock sound. The Seattle native Cornell formed Soundgarden in the Emerald City in 1984. They released their debut album, Ultramega OK, in 1988, followed by Louder Than Love, in 1989.
In 1991, just as the Seattle scene was enveloping the mainstream, Cornell joined with Pearl Jam members Stone Gossard and Mike McCready, among others, in Temple Of The Dog. Their self-titled album, which spawned radio staples such as "Hunger Strike" and "Say Hello To Heaven," is heralded as an alt-rock classic.
Soundgarden hit their stride in 1994 with their No. 1 hit album Superunknown. The blockbuster album spawned Soundgarden's first two career GRAMMY wins: Best Hard Rock Performance for "Black Hole Sun" and Best Metal Performance for "Spoonman."
Their follow-up, 1996's Down On The Upside, charted at No. 2 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. Soundgarden disbanded in 1997 but regrouped in 2010. Since then, Cornell has been touring regularly with the band, including tour dates as recent as a stop in Detroit on May 17.
In 2001 Cornell fronted the alt-rock supergroup Audioslave, along with Rage Against The Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk. The group released three albums, including 2003's Audioslave, which earned the group one of their three GRAMMY nominations.
Cornell also released five solo albums, including the Top 20 albums Euphoria Morning (1999), Carry On (2007), Scream (2009), and mostly recently, Higher Truth (2015). Among his 14 GRAMMY nominations, Cornell earned a 1999 solo GRAMMY nomination for the track "Can't Change Me" for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. The multitalented singer/songwriter also penned the GRAMMY-nominated track "You Know My Name" for the 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale.
A recovering addict, Cornell was honored with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award in 2007 at the 3rd annual MusiCares MAP Fund event in recognition for his dedication and support of the MusiCares MAP Fund and his devotion to helping other addicts with the recovery process.
"Chris Cornell was one of the influential originators of the 1990s Seattle grunge scene," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "Chris' dynamic stage presence and impressive vocal range made him a true rock-and-roll icon. … Chris' extraordinary talent will forever live on and inspire fellow musicians and fans worldwide."