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Black Hole Son

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

Christopher John Boyle 20 July 1964 - 17 May 2017

The voice that launched the grunge scene, Chris Cornell has committed suicide aged 52

Chris Cornell was born in Seattle, one of six children in an Irish Catholic family to Ed Boyle, a pharmacist & Karen Cornell an accountant. Following the divorce of his parents (the children adopted their mother's name) he tumbled into a life of drugs and thievery alongside learning the drums. By his own frank admission, he was a heavy drug user by the age of 13 and his life went through a tumultuous period of withdrawal and reconstruction by the time he was 16. At this stage he was out of school and music was a way to make ends meet for his family. Working with a covers band he met guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Hiro Yamamoto and Soundgarden was formed in 1984.

As with many bands, the overnight success story was one of years of hard work. Soundgarden received a Grammy nomination for best metal act off the back of their debut album. Ben Shepherd replaced Yamamoto on bass after a brief stint from Nirvana's Jason Everman.

The band were catapulted to a level of international success when they supported Guns'n'Roses on their Use Your Illusion tour (1991-93), The band themselves credit opening for Skid Row in 1992 as their moment. The Skid Row audience all bought Soundgarden records and everything changed.

Soundgarden furiously churned out 5 albums and toured relentlessly in the early nineties. Their sound was heavy on the ear, but Cornell's vocal had such impressive power that it carried over the raucous sound. He had range and depth that was even more astounding in live performances than it seemed on records

Cornell had an urge to push the band away from their heavy metal sound and toward a softer tone, their final album was met with critical acclaim but sales were modest. The cracks were there for all to see and the band separated in 1997.

He was able to focus on his own direction, and in 1999, he released his first solo album, Euphoria Morning. Diversifying the sound and demonstrating his vocal range, even if the sales did not reflect the critical reception. His solo career was put on hold as he formed Audioslave with former Rage Against The Machine line up Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford.

Audioslave produced three albums with enormous success, yet, Cornell quit the band in 2007. In 2006 Cornell had released the theme tune for the new Daniel Craig James Bond and he went on to work on further solo projects and collaborations. He reformed Soundgarden to much enthusiasm and it was on tour with them that he took his own life.

A voice that could overcome a metal band at full volume, a voice that could send shivers up the spine of a stone temple God. Chris Cornell succumbed to the demons that hounded his heels from an early age. Pain and rage with a Country and Western lilt, amplified without electronics. We only ask that you do not overpower the holy choir Chris.

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