Rest In Peace Chris Cornell

by Michael Strickland

I still remember the first time I heard Outshined by Soundgraden. I was so amazed by the vocal range of the lead singer that I could barely believe my ears.

"Taking their love of melody from The Beatles and merging it with the down-tuned misery of Black Sabbath’s earth-shattering riffs," writes Remfry Dedman of the Independent, "the Soundgarden amalgamation was an extraordinarily intoxicating blend."

That is part of why I was in so much shock when I heard this news:

The death of Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell has been ruled a suicide by the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office. "The Medical Examiner has completed the autopsy on 52-year-old Chris Cornell, the Soundgarden musician who died last night in Detroit," the agency's statement read. “The cause of death has been determined as suicide by hanging. ... Spokesman Brian Bumbery told the Associated Press that Cornell was found in his hotel room at the MGM Grand Detroit following a tour date at Detroit's Fox Theatre with the reunited Soundgarden, the band he'd fronted for over 30 years. 
My heart sinks with sadness when I ponder the fact that that Cornell was in such despair. Singer Alice Cooper called him "the best voice in rock and roll." Sir Elton John said he was "a great singer, songwriter and the loveliest man".  According to his website: Cornell had "also become involved in philanthropy, using music to support causes that help foster change. The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation is currently raising funds and partnering with charitable organizations to mobilize support for children facing tough challenges, including homelessness, poverty, abuse and neglect." The singer had three children.

While Nirvana's Nevermind is the biggest known artifact of the grunge movement, Soundgarden was the spark that caused the genre to explode in the public consciousness. Cornell and Soundgarden were the principle architects in the ascension of grunge.

Badmotorfinger, released on October 8, 1991, is still my favorite heavy album ... one of my favorite collections of all time. His vocals were, and will always be, legendary.

If anyone feels suicidal, please remember that there  there are support systems. Suicide hotlines are available in every community.  Reach out for help.

Finally, I offer gratitude to you, Chris Cornell, for the music of my youth that I still love today.


Photo Credit: By christopher simon - originally posted to Flickr as IMG_0126, CC BY 2.0,