I woke up on the morning of May 18, 2017 expecting to finally see Soundgarden live in Columbus, OH, but the news of Chris Cornell’s suicide made that an impossibility. While I still went on the trip, his absence cast a shadow over the weekend and altered how every other band on the bill approached its performance.
With today marking the sixth anniversary of his passing, I assembled a quick list of my 10 favorite tracks for your listening pleasure. I’m sure someone out there will complain that “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman” didn’t make the cut, but, as that intrepid newsman Bruce Nolan once said, “that’s the way the cookie crumbles.”
Audioslave – “Like a Stone”
The combination of Cornell’s honesty and Tom Morello’s Whammy Pedal guitar solo make it one of the finest mainstream rock songs of the ’00s.
Audioslave – “I Am the Highway”
As great as “Like a Stone” is, this dynamic road ballad is probably the best thing that Audioslave did.
Soundgarden – “Jesus Christ Pose”
Cornell’s signature howl was in full effect atop one of the heaviest riffs in Kim Thayil’s arsenal.
Chris Cornell – “Seasons”
An acoustic gem from the “Singles” soundtrack that finds Cornell delivering some of his most poetic lyrics.
Soundgarden – “The Day I Tried to Live”
Another powerhouse vocal from Cornell that took on deeper significance in the wake of his final performance.
Soundgarden – “Blow Up the Outside World”
Cornell had a way of expressing his depression in a way that gave the listener hope and this track from “Down on the Upside” is a prime example.
Temple of the Dog – “Say Hello 2 Heaven”
Cornell’s ode to Andrew Wood sounds as stellar today as it did in 1991.
Soundgarden – “4th of July”
The sad reality about Cornell’s death is that signs as to how depressed he was were hiding in plain sight throughout the catalog, but this song has a stinging beauty to it that never gets old.
Chris Cornell – “As Hope and Promise Fade”
A deep cut that cuts even deeper.
Chris Cornell – “One”
Blending the music of U2 with the lyrics of Metallica sounds incongruous on paper, but he made it work wonders.