(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

WARNING: this take is very long!

Chris Cornell.. the legendary musician known by many for his ultimate talents.

Originally born as Christopher John Boyle in July 20th, 1964, who knew that a true star was born. Yet that star would burn out too soon.

Early life.

He was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, to parents who were both alcoholics. He had two older brothers and three younger sisters. The first instruments he was taught to play were the piano and guitar. He made a first performance in elementary school, performing the song "One Tin Soldier", which was a 60's anti-war song. As a young thing he was heavily influenced by the Beatles, especially after finding some old records in a neighbor's house.

However in his early teen years, he developed severe depression. He was off and on with drug use, till he finally turned to music.

His Music.

His first band was a cover band called The Shemps. Their bassist at the time was Hiro Yamamoto, who eventually left the band, but stayed in contact with Chris. The Shemps eventually recruited guitarist Kim Thayil. After the band split, these three guys still jammed together, and put together the band Soundgarden.

(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

Chris was originally assigned to both vocals and drums, but they eventually got Scott Sundquist to be the drummer so Chris can focus on his singing. However Scott didn't stay for very long, as he wanted to spend more time with this family.

Soundgarden later recruited Matt Cameron of Skin Yard as their permanent drummer.

(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

Their first released music was the Screaming For Life EP (1987), then the Fopp EP in 1988. They eventually signed to the independent label SST and released their debut album Ultramega OK.

(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

In 1989, they released the album Louder Than Love.

(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

After Louder Than Love, Hiro left the band and was replaced by ex-Nirvana guitarist Jason Everman, however was fired after the tour supporting this album. They then got Ben Shepherd to join in.

(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

By this time in the early 1990s, Soundgarden was becoming one of the many successful bands of the Grunge era, along with other bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains. With their success and new lineup, Soundgarden put together the album Badmotorfinger.

(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

This album was another that brought them high success, and plenty of air time with music videos on MTV. However, MTV stopped playing the music video for the song "Jesus Christ Pose" due to controversy. Other videos such as "Rusty Cage" still played though. At the end of this take I will have the controversial video attached, along with other videos.

Later on came the albums Superunknown, and Down On The Upside.

(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

The band eventually split due to the guys having opposing creative directions. Chris moved on to do some collaborations and solo work.

When still in Soundgarden, he already did many other collaborations, including the band Temple of The Dog, and created a self-titled album. He was also a member of the band Center for Disease Control Boys. In 1999, he collaborated with with Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider of the band Eleven, to create his first solo work. The album was called Euphoria Morning.

(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

In the early 2000s, he joined Rage Against The Machine after Zack De La Rocha left, and the band was renamed Audioslave. In November 2002, they released their self titled album. Following after was 2005's Out of Exile. In that one, Chris apparently wrote some of the most personal songs out of any others. September 2006 brought along the album, Revelations.

For all Audioslave music, Chris wrote the lyrics.

After Audioslave disbanded, Chris continued doing many collaborations, including co-writing a song in 2009 with a RATM fan, due to the fan losing his young daughter to cancer a year before.

His Death.

In 2017, Chris was back with Soundgarden and performing at some shows. They had released a deluxe version of Badmotorfinger not long before. May 17th, he played his final show in Detroit, at the Fox Theatre. After the show, he was in his hotel room. He called his wife, trying to speak but was slurring his words. His wife says that when he called her, he just didn't seem right. Through his slurring he said he took a few extra pills (he was on anxiety meds and other drugs at the time). She contacted security, and wanted Chris to be checked up on.

His bodyguard got into the room, and found Chris laying on the bathroom floor with an exercise band around his neck, and blood in his mouth. He was not able to be revived.

At the time, some people believed that his death wasn't caused by drugs. Others thought otherwise. Some even believed that it wasn't suicide at all. Even I thought it all seemed too suspicious just from how he died right out of the blue. On "TMZ Live" they showed photos of the exercise band and the blood all on the floor. The 911 call was released too, but not played on that particular show. Apparently through his whole life, Chris battled with depression and other kinds of mental health issues. His body was cremated, and the ashes were buried. Almost a month later, his daughter Toni sang "Hallelujah" with OneRepublic in tribute to him and Chester Bennington, who also committed suicide by hanging. Seattle's Space Needle observation tower also had gone dark from 9–10 p.m. May 18th in respects to Chris.

His Talent and Influence In Music.

Chris Cornell was known for multiple talents, including his high talent in singing, due to his multi-octave range, along with being able ability to sing extremely high in the tenor range, and very low register for a baritone voice. He experimented with many vocal styles. Aside from rock and metal, he worked with blues, acoustic, and neo-soul styles. He also used non-standard chord progressions in his songs a lot. (I apologize to non musicians here who have no clue about what I just said!)

(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

He influenced many musicians of his time. At the time of his death, many fellow musicians spoke out within the media. Alice Cooper said:

"Chris Cornell, in our circle, was known as 'The Voice' because he had the best voice in rock and roll. I was lucky enough to write and record two songs with him. His death comes as a total shock to all of us. 'Black Hole Sun' will live on as a classic, and his is a true legacy of rock and roll"

Jeff Ament, bassist of Pearl Jam said:

"I’ve always said that Chris was the greatest songwriter to ever come out of Seattle. Jimi Hendrix could play the guitar like crazy, but Chris had the song-writing chops that we all sort of hoped to get to at different points in our songwriting careers. He had a way he could wrap a melody around odd time signatures and weird parts and make them catchy. He was a beautiful wordsmith. If you look at his lyrics, he obviously was processing his pain and depression, and all of those things. I think that’s part of what people, myself included, responded to when he was singing. With the songwriting he had that voice, there’s not too many people that have that many options with their voice. He could do a lot of different things with it, and have a lot of different characters in that voice. I feel so lucky that I got to be in a project with him, got to hang out with him, and just sort of witness his greatness."

Some musicians you may even be surprised at that were influenced by Chris. There's a story that goes along with the making of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" song, being somehow influenced by early Soundgarden. Not that many people can hear it in the song, but the riffs are influenced by the Soundgarden song "Loud Love". The story goes, that there was one night, around 3 am, Kirk Hammett was wanting to come up with some riffs. He wasn't particularly THAT crazy about Soundgarden at the time, but he thought Louder Than Love was an awesome album. Apparently one of the guys had a copy of the album with them, and that night Kirk listened to it. From listening, he picked up the guitar and started playing around with some riffs, and came up with the riffs for Enter Sandman. He thought it had great combinations of notes, and came to Lars Ulrich about it. When he heard it, he told Kirk to repeat the riff 4 times. Then said "there you go!".

After Chris's death, on their tour supporting the Hardwired album, they began playing Soundgarden covers in tribute. Them, along with many other musicians, attended Chris's funeral.

Chris Cornell is another one of those guys who definitely influenced me as well. Another that I grew up with. I don't even remember the first time I heard his voice, because I was so young. A lot of times on the weekends, my mom didn't hesitate to put in that Superunknown CD into the car's player. Or Audioslave. My dad was the same way, playing the CDs a lot. When I was 10, we got Badmotorfinger. I loved it. As I started learning guitar, I paid close attention to his methods of playing. Though being a newbie back then, it was all confusing as hell.

I was truly crushed when I heard about his death. I found out on a news thing online. I read what was said, and instantly called up my friends asking if they knew about what happened. One friend pointed out how Chris's final words on social media sounded so excited and happy. My mom was literally holding back tears. Somehow to us all, it felt like we lost a friend. Even if we didn't know him personally, I grew up on his music, and my parents listened to him when they dated, all the way to now. That night, on TV there was a marathon of his music videos. One of the first videos that played literally gave me goosebumps. Why? It was the first time I ever heard the song, and it came at the weirdest time. Its this exact video...

Remember what he died of?

And this wasn't the first video they played in the marathon. I already missed a little bit of the marathon, but as soon as I went to that channel this video started. But for the rest of that night we stayed up eating junk food and watching the videos. A few times it was hard for some of us to keep the tears back.

By the next few months it will be considered a year since he died, but it definitely doesn't feel like it was that long ago. To be honest, me and others around me are still pretty shocked. But from learning about Chris's death, it has taught me something. About how important life really is. When I was younger I though life was just a waste. I know how its like to feel depressed and suicidal. Its been years since I had suicidal thoughts, but depression does come and go. From this I have definitely realized how much you have to pull through obstacles in life, instead of just feeling like you can't take it and end it all. Life cannot stay as one emotion. Meaning that life cannot always be happy, OR sad. There has to be balance. There's always good somewhere. I know that part I realized when music pretty much saved my life years ago. But we all have a reason for having a life. Why waste the reason?

When he was alive, he had many friends, family, and fans who loved him. And after death he still does. If I could speak to my 12 year old self, I would tell her how much she is still loved too, even in the hard times in life. Chris put out his emotion into music a lot to help cope with things. Believe me it is one of the best things to ever do, no matter what you are going through. Music can be a truly special thing.

Some people think its strange when people mourn over the loss of a musician like they are mourning over a family member. The reason why that happens, is because the person's music becomes part of many memories. The majority of Chris Cornell's music gives me memories of growing up and not having a care in the world. For my parents, it reminds them of that, the time they fell in love, the time my dad was involved in music, etc.. Plus, for those who really love music, they listen to it when they are sad to help lift their spirit. Pretty much like having someone there. So when a musician dies, even if the music lives on, it all still can hurt.

Chris Cornell is forever loved and forever missed. He left us too soon, and said hello to heaven.

Rest In Peace Chris. thank you for everything \m/



(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

(A Tribute) Chris Cornell: Life, Death, And His Influence In Music

If interested in reading any other takes I've made about the lives of musicians like Chris Cornell, be sure to check out "The Mighty Cliff Burton" and "The Death of Malcolm Young". Stay true to the good music \m/

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  • that was a passionate take and will definitely check the guy's stuff. what kind of half assed rocker i am and i didn't know this guy? lol.


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  • That was a bit long to read :D

    • I do apologize lol it was hard to make it shorter when spanning over his whole life XD

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