There are no words to describe my sadness over the death of Chris Cornell, who died too young at 52. I was shocked and just so, so heartbroken. He was one of my favourite singers in the world, a voice I could regularly turn to if I was feeling down. His songs would always lift me up. Never have I felt this sad over a musician passing away, he was just so special to me and always will be.
His band Soundgarden, one of the pioneering bands of the grunge scene which has influenced so many, has played such a huge role in my life over the past few years. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Seattle grunge movement so much, I love all the bands and artists to come from there, and Soundgarden was right at the top. Audioslave, Chris’ other main band, I loved too. It was a regular on the music channels and whenever they came on I always used to shout ‘Chris!’ and sing my heart out.
Chris was also a part of the supergroup Temple of the Dog, which was made up of members from Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, to honour Chris’ best friend Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone, who died in 1991. Their one and only album is true musical perfection. It has so much passion and feeling in it, it’s one of my favourite records ever.
I got the pleasure and was so lucky to have seen Chris Cornell in concert in Glasgow last year. That concert was one of the best I have ever been to, Chris was so flawless on stage, even when it was just himself and his guitar he managed to get the whole room belting out the lyrics. Dare I say it, but he even made his covers of songs by Bob Dylan, The Beatles and Prince sound just as good, perhaps even more beautiful than the originals. I remember a few tears falling when he played ‘Fell On Black Days’, and I was hoping my mum or anyone around me wouldn’t notice, because I thought it was embarrassing that I ended up crying, yet I was so happy at that moment. They were happy tears.
The time I went to Seattle in 2015 also has brought me so many memories of Chris and Soundgarden. From visiting their old rehearsal space, cafes they have played in, and the famous Seattle venues where they were regulars, such as The Paramount and The Crocodile. We even went to the ‘Black Sun’ sculpture at the Volunteer Park, which was the inspiration for their most well known song, ‘Black Hole Sun’. When we took the rock and roll tour in Seattle, I had been wearing a Soundgarden tshirt, and I remember our tour guide saying “So you’re a Chris Cornell fan”, and all throughout the tour she kept referring to Chris, and playing Soundgarden in the car for me. That was definitely one of the coolest things about my holiday to Seattle. Before we started our journey back home, I met Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil, drummer and lead guitarist for Soundgarden at the airport. I hadn’t felt more lucky than I did at that point, and I am so lucky to have seen Chris in concert as well.
I felt I had Soundgarden in me after all of that, even though that may sound silly. After all, meeting two members and seeing one perform in concert is very overwhelming for a huge fan like me. Even though I never got the chance to meet Chris, it was always so clear that he was such a lovely man.
Last Thursday was just such a sad day for music, and I’m still very shocked at the news. But I feel so thankful that he shared his music with us, I feel so thankful that I got to see him. He will be joining Andrew Wood, along with Seattle’s other legends, Layne Staley, Kurt Cobain, Mike Starr… The out pour of love that musicians across the world have given to Chris makes it very evident that Chris was very well loved. From the Red Hot Chili Peppers and U2 among other bands paying tribute on stage, to musicians such as Jimmy Page, Black Sabbath and even Elton John showing their love for Chris. The world has lost a special talent, but he will never be forgotten. He will always be so special to me.
Thank you for the music, Chris
Chris Cornell 1964 – 2017.