Christopher John Boyle was born on July 20, 1964, in Seattle. Chris was one of six children born into an Irish Catholic family. After his parents divorce, the children used their mother’s maiden name, Cornell. He had a period of time between third and sixth grade where he only listened to the Beatles. Around 12 and 13 years old, he started dabbling with drugs, and by 15 he was playing drums. He attended Shorewood High School just north of Seattle. It wasn’t until Chris was 20 years old that he and his bandmate, Kim Thayil, created Soundgarden.
Soundgarden was a complete trailblazer of the sound that would later be coined “Seattle grunge.” Following his 1989 album, Louder Than Love, the group earned regular radio play with their album in 1991 named Badmotorfinger, and Superunknown in 1994. Some of Soundgarden’s well known songs include: “Outshined,” “Black Hole Sun,” “Jesus Christ Pose,” “Rusty Cage,” “The Day I Tried To Live,” “Fell On Black Days,” “Spoonman,” and “Blow Up The Outside World.” In 1990, another Cornell group called Temple of the Dog was created from combining members of the groups Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone. Cornell released his solo debut, Euphoria Morning during 1999. He started collaborating with Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk to form the new band Audioslave, which put out a self-titled debut album in 2002. Songs that did well included, “Like A Stone,” “Show Me How To Live,” “I Am The Highway,” “Cochise,” “What You Are,” and “Be Yourself.”
In 2003, after dealing with years of depression/social phobias, and drug/alcohol abuse, Cornell remained sober after checking into a rehab center. It was May 17th, 2017 that he was found hanging by an exercise band in his Detroit MGM Grand hotel room. His wife, Vicky, and family were shocked. She mentioned that during their last phone conversation, he was slurring his speech and had mentioned he had taken two extra Ativan pills to calm himself. Ativan (lorazepam) belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Lorazepam affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with anxiety. From being his wife and knowing him so well, Vicky Cornell’s worried mind immediately asked her husband’s bodyguard to go check on him. The bodyguard found Chris first, about thirty minutes after Vicky’s final chat with her husband. This is another reminder that the pharmaceutical industry can screw people pretty hard. Its very sad to know that because of this medication, this man may have killed himself on accident… as odd as that sounds.
Chris Cornell’s ashes were placed in a grave site on Friday, May 26th. The ashes were placed about a foot away from the Ramones’ lead guitarist’s monument in Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Johnny Ramone and Chris were very close, Chris even referred to his pal as “one of rock’s most indestructible icons.” Linkin Park front-man Chester Bennington, godfather to one of Cornell’s children, sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” during the afternoon service. Bandmates Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, and Tom Morello spoke as well. Metallica’s James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, Foo Fighters Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and Pat Smear, Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, Courtney Love, Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro, and Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell were a portion of the attending.
According to Nielsen Music, the sales and streams of Cornell’s career discography grew by 554% from the week prior to his death. Inside Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora, songs from Chris Cornell groups were streamed 33 million times during the same week. The week prior his tracks were played five million times, which is still pretty gosh darn good. When it comes to digital tracks bought, Cornell’s music sold 143,202 copies which is a 2,222% rise from the week before. Albums bought went from 2,071 to 39,667 in the same week’s comparison. When brilliant well-liked artists get big, they tend to have a percentile of fans that have music induced auditory healing experiences. For all, there is always going to be an internal love and want for a certain sound and style. Many Seattle and world wide Cornell fans are still heartbroken.