Chris Cornell dead: 10 best best songs feat. Soundgarden, Audioslave

A crucial architect of the grunge movement in the 90s, Cornell has passed away at the age of 52

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The Independent Culture

Chris Cornell's sudden, tragic death at the age of 52 has hit the world of music hard. 

In a statement issued to The Associated Press, Brian Bumbery said Cornell died Wednesday night in Detroit. The death was called "sudden and unexpected", as his band Soundgarden had just performed last night and were scheduled to play again tonight at the US festival Rock the Range in Columbus. 

He was a crucial architect of the grunge movement in the '90s, with Soundgarden - formed alongside guitarist Kim Thyail and bassist Hiro Yamamoto in 1984 - proving a major influence on Nirvana, as well as possessing a near four-octave vocal range that made his live performances an incredible sight to watch. 

After Soundgarden's break up, Cornel went on to form Audioslave with Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk. Cornell left the supergroup in 2007 to concentrate on solo material before regrouping with Soundgarden in 2010.

To commemorate his work, we've collected together his ten best tracks. 

1. Black Hole Sun (1994)


Soundgarden's biggest hit, the track was actually the third single from the band's fourth studio album Superunknown. Its eerie mood is, in some ways, iconic to the grunge movement; the track mellowed by Cornell's vocals, before giving way to a crashing chorus. 

2. Like a Stone (2003)


The second single from Audioslave's eponymous debut album, the track was the band's biggest US hit. With an almost ballad-like tempo, its lyrics confront the complexity of mortality head-on. It's a song that keeps you enraptured far longer than any song this coldly morbid should, mostly due Cornell's tortured vocals on the track. 

3. Show Me How to Live (2003)


The third single from Audioslave is an absolute banger of a track, with all of the crashing rock verve you'd expect and more, featuring a slow build thundering into a chorus climax only Cornell, Morello, and co. could produce. 

5. Jesus Christ Pose (1991)


Released by Soundgarden as part of their third studio album Badmotorfinger, many see this song as the "essence" of Soundgarden, as its writing is credited to all four band members. It's also an impressive showcase of Cornell's legendary vocal range. 

6. You Know My Name (2006)

It was Cornell's solo contribution that helped launched a new, grittier era of James Bond with Casino Royale; his high-powered, driven guitar on the song signalling a new turn away from the tongue-in-cheek camp of the earlier films and their big band classics. 

7. Cochise (2002)


The opener on Audioslave, its title comes from the Apache Indian chief, who led an uprising against the American government that lasted from 1861 to 1872. It's a fiery, aggressive song, with Morello's guitar introduction sounding almost like a helicopter before the main riff explodes in. 

8. Rusty Cage (1992)


Another track from Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger, the song become an instant hit and was released in several different formats; an electric piece rock that was recorded with a wah wah in the low position used as a filter to give the whole thing its bizarre, unique sound. 

9. Doesn't Remind Me (2005)


This Grammy Award-nominated Audioslave track, from their second album Out of Exile, is a gentle, almost melancholy ballad from the band. Though Morello's guitar may be the highlight here, Cornell's vocals help to fuse the diverging styles contained between the chorus and verse. 

10. I am the Highway (2004)


The fifth single from Audioslave's eponymous debut album, it's a weirdly calm departure for the group, though still utterly enrapturing in its own way.

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