For nearly 30 years, singer Chris Cornell rocked the world with his powerful voice, edgy lyrics and energetic performances.
Cornell died Wednesday night following a show with his band Soundgarden at Detroit’s Fox Theater. The rocker’s representative, Brian Bumbery, shared a statement with CNN saying:
His wife Vicky and family were shocked to learn of his sudden and unexpected passing, and they will be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause. They would like to thank his fans for their continuous love and loyalty and ask that their privacy be respected at this time.
As the world mourns this musical legend, we take a look at five facts you may not have known about Cornell.
RIP Chris Cornell
Incredibly Missed. pic.twitter.com/pKNI4tKiXz
— Jimmy Page (@JimmyPage) May 18, 2017
1. Chris Cornell Initially Tried To Avoid Major Record Labels
In Soundgarden’s earliest days during the 1980s, Cornell and his bandmates struggled with the thought of signing with a major record label. The band wanted to keep their independence and edge as much as possible with their fans, so they released their first full LP “UltraMega OK” on their own, even though they already signed with A&M.
2. He’s A Multi-Grammy-Winning Artist
Despite the band’s early hesitation with going with a mainstream record label, Soundgarden soon found both critical and commercial success. Cornell and his bandmates hit multi-platinum sales numbers and won two Grammy Awards in 1995. Soundgarden won for Best Metal Performance for “Spoonman” and Best Hard Rock Performance for “Black Hole Sun.”
3. He Was Voted “Rock’s Greatest Singer”
Cornell not only had the charisma of a lead singer, but his voice stood out as something unique to fans. In 2013, Guitar World readers voted Cornell “Rock’s Greatest Singer.”
Not only did his fans love his voice, but so did his contemporaries. Just last month, singer Scott Stapp, proclaimed Cornell the “greatest pure rock singer.”
“Not only is his vocal range and his style, but just his songwriting and his delivery,” Stapp told the Loudwire Podcast. “You know, he just brings it man. I’m really a huge fan of his and everything he’s done.”
4. The American Idol Connection
It may seem like an unlikely pairing, but Chris Cornell does have a direct connection to “American Idol.”
During the seventh season of the music competition, future winner David Cook performed a version of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” Cook’s unusual version of the song became a highlight of the show.
Cornell fans went ballistic because the cover was actually a take on Cornell’s cover of the song on his 2007 solo album “Carry On.” At the time, Cornell’s name did not get mentioned on the show. The next day, Cook made a point to credit Cornell and the hysteria seemed to die down.
In fact, Cornell praised Cook’s performance and eventually wrote a song that would become the “American Idol” champion’s first platinum-selling, top-20 song, “Light On.”
Hearing of Cornell’s death, Cook paid tribute to the man who had a significant impact on his life and career.
To one of the most influential voices of my musical upbringing, RIP Mr Cornell.
— David Cook (@thedavidcook) May 18, 2017
5. Cornell Has A James Bond Connection
Did you know that Chris Cornell contributed to the James Bond legacy?
Cornell co-wrote the lyrics for “You Know My Name” for the Bond movie “Casino Royale.” He also performed the song for the film’s opening credits. Despite its placement in the film, the song didn’t get included on the movie soundtrack.
Daniel Craig, who played James Bond in the movie (his first time in the role), told The Mirror, “This is very sad news, my thoughts are with his family.”
“You Know My Name” has been a fan favorite and became the first pure rock and roll theme for the film series.
Our thoughts, too, are with Cornell’s family and friends at this sad time. This rock legend will be sorely missed.