As with all of the big name grunge singers from the 1990s, the voice of Chris Cornell was unmistakable.
As with most of their music — dark, powerful and easily relatable — there also was tragic side to the men behind the lyrics.
Cornell who talked openly about his battle with alcohol and getting sober, was found dead overnight in his Detroit hotel room. The Soundgarden lead singer had just finished a show a few hours earlier in Detroit’s Fox Theater.
Reports published Thursday ruled Cornell’s death a suicide by hanging. At 52, his career was well documented. While he was never as popular as Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, who committed suicide in 1994, Cornell was more accomplished. He was around the Seattle music scene longer than Cobain and Alice in Chains lead singer Layne Staley, who died in 2002 from a drug overdose. After leading Soundgarden — which broke up in 1997, only to get back together in 2012 — he would go onto a solo career, along with fronting the super group Audioslave. He was the voice behind more than 30 million record sales worldwide.
Cornell’s voice could fill a room, it could make you stop while scanning your radio, but most of all it was soothing.
Speaking as a child of the 1990s, the music in my Sony player and later on in the decade, my portable CD player was mainly grunge. Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Nirvana were (and still are) a large majority of music collection.
It’s what I grew up with, it was the soundtrack to my middle and high school years.
Cobain and Staley had tragic flaws, that were well documented; Cornell was quiet and reserved, a family man. He and his wife opened a foundation in 2012 to help vulnerable children.
I think that’s what made Thursday so hard.
— Adam Trumble