I don’t know about you, but here at BourbonAndVinyl we’re still pretty shell-shocked over the news about Chris Cornell’s passing. I don’t know why this one has hit me so hard. Perhaps it’s because I had just seen the man perform with Soundgarden three nights prior. Perhaps it’s because his music has always meant so much to me. Maybe it’s the mysterious way in which he passed.
I read recently that Cornell’s mother-in-law has been railing on social media (where else would someone rail these days) at Eddie Vedder for not making any public comment or reaching out to Chris’ widow. Vedder is launching a solo European tour in Amsterdam that starts tomorrow and apparently won’t be at Cornell’s memorial/funeral today in Los Angeles. We all grieve in our own way, folks. When my friend Larry committed suicide, I did not travel to Dallas to the funeral, which raised some eyebrows. When Hillel Slovak passed away Anthony Kiedis famously didn’t attend his funeral either. Anthony had to get away and tend to his grief in private, down in Mexico. It’s difficult to process things when a friend passes away, especially under strange and shocking circumstances.
Here at the house, we mourn the old fashion way – with bourbon and music. After a couple of stiff Woodford Reserves and some rumination last Saturday, I put together a playlist that attempted to encompass all of Chris Cornell’s career. I wanted to celebrate the man, the singer. It’s long at almost three hours and vast, but so was Chris Cornell’s career. I picked songs that were familiar and (as usual for me) some deep tracks. I also picked a few tracks that just have significant meaning to me. I’ll admit off the bat, Soundgarden’s pre-‘Batmotorfinger’ work is significantly under represented here.
I spent last Sunday on my patio, with the Rock Chick, listening to that wonderful voice, in all it’s forms. From hard rock to acoustic strummers the man could sing anything. The rock and roll world is a much dimmer place now… I would have included Cornell’s wonderful version of “Nothing Compares 2 U” on this list, but you can only stream that on YouTube… These songs are in no particular order, I went where the whiskey took me. I’m going to try and put this out on Spotify if I can ever figure it out… Here then, without further rambling, is my tribute to Mr. Chris Cornell, singer extraordinaire.
- Soundgarden, “Superunknown” – The title track from Soundgarden’s penultimate LP.
- Soundgarden, “Rusty Cage” – This song is so good Johnny Cash covered it.
- Audioslave, “Revelations”
- Audioslave, “Original Fire”
- Chris Cornell, “You Know My Name” – A great song on Cornell’s wrongly maligned second solo LP.
- Temple Of The Dog, “Say Hello 2 Heaven” – Written for Andrew Wood, sadly now a fitting song for our current situation.
- Chris Cornell, “Higher Truth” – The title track from Cornell’s awesome final solo album. Check this record out.
- Chris Cornell, “The Keeper” – This beautiful acoustic ballad is toward the end of Cornell’s great live LP, “Songbook.” It’s a live LP, but this sounds like it was cut in a studio.
- Soundgarden, “Live To Rise” – This is a great lost Soundgarden track that was on a soundtrack of some movie. I just really liked it.
- Slash, “Promise (featuring Chris Cornell)” – Cornell’s track from Slash’s great solo LP where he paired himself with a bunch of different singers. I always thought this was one of the strongest tracks on the record.
- Audioslave, “Dandelion” – Possibly the Rock Chick’s favorite Audioslave tune. When it popped up on the speakers last Sunday, she asked if I’d put it on the list just for her. “No dear, it’s simply an awesome song, it belongs on this list.”
- Audioslave, “I Am The Highway” – This is the good stuff…
- Soundgarden, “Waiting For the Sun” – You can find this one on the great “odds & sods” collection, ‘Echo of Miles.’ The first time I saw Soundgarden, at Lollapalooza in Kansas City (back when it was still a traveling festival), opening for Metallica no less, Soundgarden opened with this song. It’s one of my favorite Doors’ tunes and Soundgarden does it in a wonderful heavy fashion.
- Temple of the Dog, “Hunger Strike” – Eddie Vedder and Cornell vocally shredding.
- Soundgarden, “Burden In My Hand” – This song has been running through my head for over a week now.
- Chris Cornell, “Billie Jean” – Cornell was savaged when he covered this tune, but I love it. He completely changes the song in the way he does it. He could grab an acoustic guitar and cover any song by any artist and make it new and unique. This is the perfect example of his abilities.
- Temple of the Dog, “Call Me A Dog” – Great ballad toward the end of the first half of the LP.
- Chris Cornell, “Dead Wishes” – Another beauty from ‘Higher Truth.’
- Chris Cornell, “Imagine” – Beautiful John Lennon cover from ‘Songbook.’
- Audioslave, “Doesn’t Remind Me” – This might have been a single, regardless, it’s a great tune.
- Soundgarden, “Pretty Noose”
- Soundgarden, “Spoonman” – Well, you knew this one was going to be on the list.
- Soundgarden, “Outshined” – A tune my good friend Steve turned me on to many, many moons ago.
- Audioslave, “Like A Stone” – The breakthrough hit for Audioslave.
- Chris Cornell, “Sunshower” – This is the first solo track Cornell ever did, to my knowledge, after Soundgarden broke up. It was another soundtrack tune.
- Audioslave, “Cochise” – On a side note, I’m thrilled the Kansas City Chiefs play this song right before the team takes the field on home Sundays.
- Soundgarden, “My Wave” – There are so many great songs on ‘Superunknown’ it’s easy to overlook this gem.
- Audioslave, “Sound of a Gun” – The riff on here is monstrous, the singing is even more so.
- Chris Cornell, “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” – The single from ‘Higher Truth.’
- Soundgarden, “Black Hole Sun” – Heavy metal, psychedelia.
- Chris Cornell, “Finally Forever” – A beautiful song Cornell wrote for his wife. Why this song isn’t played at every wedding is a mystery I don’t have time to solve. This is another song off of Cornell’s 2nd solo album.
- Chris Cornell, “Thank You” – I think Chris Cornell was born to cover Led Zeppelin.
- Chris Cornell, “Can’t Change Me” – The single from Cornell’s first proper solo album.
- Soundgarden, “Fell On Black Days” – The middle 90s were a tough time for me. This song helped pull me through those very “black days.” I wish it could have done the same for Cornell.
- Soundgarden, “Been Away Too Long” – The single from Soundgarden’s reunion album. It’s sad to think they were working on a follow up when Cornell passed.
- Audioslave, “Be Yourself” – “it’s all that you can do…”
- Chris Cornell, “Seasons” – I just love this beautiful song from the ‘Singles’ soundtrack.
I hope this selection of music helps you get through this horrible loss. It seems to be helping the Rock Chick and I. It’s a dark ride folks, take care of each other out there.