May 18, 2017: Rock Star Tributes to Chris Cornell

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The music world was shaken by the news that Chris Cornell, best known as the frontman of longtime Seattle band, Soundgarden, had taken his own life on May 18, 2017, at 52, following a performance at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. Cornell, considered one of the architects of the grunge movement, was also lead vocalist of the supergroup Audioslave.

Soundgarden were on a Spring 2017 tour through May 27 that included several festivals. When the news arrived, fellow classic rock stars took to social media immediately to express their grief, shock and dismay.

Cornell was born Christopher John Boyle in Seattle on July 20, 1964. In the early ’80s he was a member of a cover band called the Shemps, which also included bassist Hiro Yamamoto and guitarist Kim Thayil. The trio formed Soundgarden in 1984. Matt Cameron was added as drummer in 1986, and in 1990 bassist Ben Shepherd replaced Yamamoto.

Soundgarden became locally popular in the Seattle region and signed to A&M Records in 1988. By the early ’90s, they, along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Alice in Chains and others, were being categorized as leaders of a new hard rock genre, called grunge, that fell someplace between metal and punk in its aggressiveness, a remedy of sorts to the more commercialized direction much rock had taken in the ’80s.

Related: Cornell helped create a rock genre

Cornell, himself, had been very active on Twitter, tweeting late the night before his death from Detroit.

Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson of Heart released statements as well. Ann: “It’s important now to keep thoughts of Chris positive. He is on his way. We loved him well, now wish him well on his journey. He was and is a beautiful soul.”

Nancy: “No one is ever prepared to hear about a death in the family. And today Chris Cornell my brother from my Seattle music family is gone. I thought his voice would forever grace the world of music. Devastating.”

Related: Cornell’s widow, Vicky Karayiannis penned a letter to her late husband

Coincidentally, Legacy Recordings had planned celebration for the 25th anniversary of Cameron Crowe’s groundbreaking romantic comedy, Singles, with the release that May 19, of a newly expanded and remastered edition of the soundtrack. The film was set in Seattle and captured the zeitgeist of an era among twentysomethings and featured music from bands that were relatively obscure at the time.

The 2-CD, 2-LP collection features previously unreleased recordings by Cornell plus rarities such as his 1992 EP Poncier and tracks from the film not included on the album when it was first released in 1992. Other acts on the album include Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Paul Westerberg and Jimi Hendrix.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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  1. Bianca
    #1 Bianca 19 May, 2017, 00:12

    Chris Cornell 1964 – Forever

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  2. EzyriderNYC
    #2 EzyriderNYC 19 May, 2024, 02:05

    One of the most talented singers, writer, musician and just a great human being. R.I.P., my friend. . You are sorely missed…D.

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