Destination Jam: Top 5 Chris Cornell songs will prove why the late artist is a legend among fans
Our daily Destination Jam playlist has been fine-tuned with some great Chris Cornell selections
Hey there, music lovers, we hope you're all safe and happy. Recently, the late singer Chris Cornell became a trending topic on social media after an unreleased version of his cover of 'Patience' by Guns N' Roses reminded us all what a great frontman and passionate vocalist he was. As his widow, Vicky Cornell, revealed in a Facebook post that celebrated his birthday on July 20: "That recording was inspired by our daughter Toni, who was a huge GNR fan and asked her dad to teach her to play it on the guitar. His cover is so hauntingly beautiful; it brought it all back in a rush of bittersweet memories."
Vicky also stated, "His birthday seemed the perfect time to share this and celebrate Chris, his voice, music, stories, and art. A man is not dead while his name is still spoken... and, through his art, an artist’s soul still burns as bright upon all those that look up to him and his memory." So in honor of this iconic artiste who was considered one of the best singers of his generation, let's take a look at some brilliant songs from Chris Cornell's storied career. You can see Vicky's post here and check out 'Patience' here.
'Black Hole Sun' — Soundgarden
Let's kick things off with what was arguably Chris Cornell's biggest hit from his days with the grunge gods Soundgarden. Soundgarden was hailed as one of the best bands to emerge out of the grunge revolution from the 1990s, and often drew praise for their dark textures and unorthodox time signatures. As their fiery vocalist and chief songwriter, Cornell played a huge role in their rise to prominence, and the band went on to sell over 25 million records worldwide.
The apocalyptic 'Black Hole Sun' was released as the third single from the band's fourth studio album 'Superunknown' in 1994, and spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. After constructing the surreal masterpiece out a series of eerie suspended chords, Cornell confessed, "I wrote the song thinking the band wouldn't like it — then it became the biggest hit of the summer." The official music video currently has over 161 million views on YouTube alone, reminding us all of the immortal lyric — "No one sings like you anymore."
'Jesus Christ Pose' — Soundgarden
A driving, feedback-drenched gem from his Soundgarden days, this track was released as the first single from the band's third studio album 'Badmotorfinger' back in 1991. Sitting astride the repetitive, hammering licks and riffs was Chris Cornell's glorious voice, which was both powerful and supercharged with emotion. Lyrics include "And you stare at me / In your Jesus Christ pose / Arms held out / Like you've been carrying a load."
The song's pointed lyrics were a scathing critique of celebrities who exploited religion and religious symbols for their personal benefit. As Cornell himself revealed, "you just see it a lot with really beautiful people, or famous people, exploiting that symbol as to imply that they're either a deity or persecuted somehow by their public. So it's pretty much a song that is nonreligious but expressing being irritated by seeing that. It's not that I would ever be offended by what someone would do with that symbol." The live versions of 'Jesus Christ Pose' and another fan-favorite, 'Slaves and Bulldozers' are a masterclass in vocal technique, showcasing a singer at the height of his powers.
'Hunger Strike' — Temple of the Dog
This Temple of the Dog song is legendary among rock fans, since it features both Chris Cornell and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder on vocals. Temple of the Dog was a supergroup formed by Cornell circa 1990 as a tribute to Andrew Wood, and its lineup pretty much combined the talents of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam into one heady concoction. Although they only released one album called 'Temple of the Dog' in 1991, this song peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart after being released as their first single.
As Cornell recalled, Eddie Vedder's contribution was pure serendipity: "I was singing parts, and he kind of humbly — but with some balls — walked up to the mic and started singing the low parts for me because he saw it was kind of hard. We got through a couple of choruses of him doing that and suddenly the light bulb came on in my head — this guy's voice is amazing for these low parts. History wrote itself after that, that became the single."
'Like A Stone' — Audioslave
Let's fast-forward to Chris Cornell's later days with Audioslave, which was another talented supergroup formed with the current members of Rage Against The Machine (minus Zack de la Rocha). This melancholic number was released as the second single from the band's debut album 'Audioslave' back in 2003, and went on to hit No.1 on both the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and the Hot Modern Rock Tracks charts.
The bittersweet lyrics talk about an old man who is on the verge of death, waiting to be reunited with his loved ones. As Cornell himself revealed, the song was not about love or romance, but rather, "it's a song about concentrating on the afterlife you would hope for, rather than the normal monotheistic approach: You work really hard all your life to be a good person, with a moral persona and be fair and generous, and then you go to hell anyway." The official music video has over 678 million hits on YouTube alone, a testament to the song's enduring legacy.
'Nothing Compares 2 You' — Chris Cornell
In keeping with Chris Cornell's 'Patience' cover which was recently released on his birthday, here's another superlative cover by this beloved singer. 'Nothing Compares 2 You' was originally a Prince song, but it was later famously covered by the Irish singer Sinead O'Connor in 1990. Although O'Connor's cover remains the definitive version of this classic track, Chris Cornell's live rendition easily rivals hers in intensity and beauty. He recorded the track at the SiriusXM studios in September 2015, accompanied only by a cello and two acoustic guitars.
After Prince passed away, Cornell posted a link of his performance along with these words: "I performed his song 'Nothing Compares 2 U' for the first time a couple of months ago. It has a timeless relevance for me and practically everyone I know. Sadly, his own lyrics in this song could not be more relevant than at this moment, and I sing them now in reverence as I pay tribute to this unequaled artist who has given all of our lives so much inspiration and made the world so much more interesting." Those words now apply to Chris Cornell in equal measure, as we fondly remember a great artiste who left us awestruck with his magnificent voice and inimitable talent.
Destination Jam is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained and grooving up top in lieu of feeling drained and losing the plot. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!