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Chris Cornell dead: Why the Soundgarden musician should be remembered for his incredible voice

The Soundgarden and Audioslave vocalist was known for his impressive near four-octave range 

Clarisse Loughrey
Thursday 18 May 2017 11:05 BST
Chris Cornell dies aged 52

Chris Cornell's sudden, tragic death at the age of 52 has sent shockwaves through the world of music.

In a statement issued to The Associated Press, Brian Bumbery said Cornell died Wednesday night in Detroit. The death was named "sudden and unexpected", as the band 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 his band Soundgarden - formed alongside guitarist Kim Thyail and bassist Hiro Yamamoto in 1984 - proving a major influence on the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains.

However, what was also so unique to Cornell was the power of his voice and, more specifically, its astounding range. He possessed a near four-octave vocal range that made his live performances an incredible sight to watch.

He was a regular feature at the top of many lists of the best vocalists in rock, coming in 12th in MTV's ranking of the '22 Greatest Voices in Music'.

Though there are countless examples of his skills littered throughout the high notes featured in his work with Soundgarden, Audioslave, and as a solo artist, perhaps it's most illuminating to hear his incredible cover of the Michael Jackson classic 'Billie Jean'.

The acoustic accompaniment here only helps to amplify the raw power of his voice. Last year, Cornell spoke about how playing acoustically has tied together his entire career.

"In some strange way, it’s made sense of my 30-odd years of song writing," he told The Independent. "All the different bands and solo projects and everything in-between are all so varied and eclectic. I wanted to string all that together somehow in an acoustic show and I think it's the first time that it can all be in one show and make sense."

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