It was only a few short days ago that we mourned the loss of Powers Boothe and, before that, Michael Parks. As we all know, bad things happen in threes and it’s safe to say that this one was completely unexpected. On May 17th, Chris Cornell passed away at the age of 52. While it hasn’t been confirmed, suicide has been ruled a possibility. Cornell was on stage just last night performing a full show in Detroit with his band, Soundgarden.
Cornell has been one of the most iconic frontmen in history. Soundgarden came out of the Seattle music scene and helped popularize grunge along with bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam. His first stint in Soundgarden ran from 1984 to 1997 when the band split. Among their most popular work was 1991’s Badmotorfinger and 1994’s Superunknown. Both albums went multi-platinum. Soundgarden reformed in 2010 and released a comeback album, King Animal, in 2012. The band has contributed songs to numerous soundtracks including the film, Singles, and the uber-popular video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
During his time away from Soundgarden, Cornell released four solo studio albums with the last one, Higher Truth, coming in 2015. His song, “You Know My Name,” was chosen to be the theme song for James Bond’s return in 2006’s Casino Royale. He also fronted the band, Audioslave, which included Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine. Together, the band released three albums and spawned a number of their own hits. Along with his main projects, Cornell had numerous collaborations with other artists as well including an album with Temple of the Dog in 1991.
Over the years, Chris Cornell has talked openly about his past addictions. Before Audioslave’s first album’s release, Cornell checked into rehab for alcoholism and has remained sober ever since. As shocking as Cornell’s death may be, one can only hope that he didn’t succumb to addiction after so many years of being clean. His death will certainly rattle the world of not only music but media in general. The world has truly lost one of the all time greats far too young. Before his death, Cornell had been working on a new album with Soundgarden. Just last week, bassist, Ben Shepherd, stated in an interview that the band was “pretty much ready to record” the album.
All respects go to the family and friends of Chris Cornell.