Chris Cornell, of Soundgarden and Audioslave fame, passed away yesterday hours after delivering an unbelievably passionate set which posthumously plays back in haunting fashion, as if he knew his time was up, and this was his final curtain call. Tributes from the likes of Jimmy Page, Elton John, and Nile Rodgers have been plastered everywhere, and we here at Bloggers Gamut join them in offering our thoughts on a man who gave his all to Grunge like God gave us rock and roll. Sleep tight, Spoonman.

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You don’t know what you got until it’s gone. That’s my emotion right now, after hearing the news of Chris Cornells shocking passing this morning. For myself & many others, to hear this news is sad but I don’t want to be sad, because that is not what Chris would want. Instead I want to look back at his immerse career, one that was influential & incredible.

For starters Cornell & many others were part of the ‘Grunge Movement’ where his band ‘Soundgarden’ & many others such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney ect paved  the way for a new alternative sound that was coming all the way from Seattle Washington. Soundgarden to me was different to any other grunge band, their layered guitars & mixing that with Cornell’s incredible vocals, made them standouts from that scene. And believe me when I say, I tried to sing like him, it can’t be done. It’s such a unique & incredible sounding voice that it can never be duplicated.

Not only was Chris in a very iconic band like Soundgarden who have sold over 22.5 million records worldwide, he was also in the supergroup ‘Temple of the Dog’ which included members of ‘Pearl Jam’ & ‘Mother Love Bone’ respectively. If you were a grunge fan, this was your dream to see some of the very best of that period in one band & they never disappoint. Despite it being a very on & off project, and being a tribute to singer Andrew Wood. The project is an example of bringing together great musicians & letting their great chemistry run wild when it came to making some incredible music.

In the turn of the new decade ‘the 2000’ Cornell started another band, one that was different to his previous works. ‘Audioslave’ which featured Cornell & the members of Rage Against The Machine’ (minus Zack De La Rocha) were one of the standouts of that decade. Sure the odd lineup & the creative differences, played a part in their eventual breakup but ‘Audioslave’ were unique. Chris’s vocals mashed together with Tom Morello’s screeching guitar & the band would go on to have some success, despite their longevity.

Like all great singers Chris also had a very popular solo career. Whether it was him singing that amazing James Bond theme ‘You Know My Name’ for Daniel Craig’s first James Bond movie ‘Casino Royale’ that in my honest opinion, is the best James Bond song (yes even better then Adele’s Skyfall) or his rendition of tracks like ‘Redemption Song’ or ‘Nothing Compares 2 You’ Chris always knew how to captivate listeners & thrill audiences with whatever project he was working on.

It’s a shame I won’t ever see Chris live, as I write this I feel sadness knowing I wished he was still making great music & doing these amazing projects. Saying that however, I feel he has given us an amazing discography of incredible music & has influenced so many of us. So with that in mind, I just like to say…

Thank you Chris Cornell, you’ll never be forgotten. – Hassan Ul-Haq, Contributor

When I woke up this morning, the sun was shining, birds were legitimately chirping, and I was comfortably laying in bed browsing through social media. Quite honestly, it was a fairytale morning. Thanks to Twitters astute algorithms, they now filter you all of the tweeters you stalk on a daily basis at the top in a brief ‘might have missed’ section. Two tweets from members of the Metal Hammer magazine team both mentioned Chris Cornell and unfortunate events. As the sun faded into clouds of black and the birds began to howl and the fairytale morning became a nightmare, I scrambled to google to find that Chris Cornell had passed away mysteriously and suddenly. I was in shock, and I was gutted. In fact, I still am.

Admittedly, I have always been more of a Nirvana and Alice In Chains guy, I’ve never really quite ‘got’ Soundgarden, but having grown out of that teenage worship stage of Kurt Cobain, I can honestly sit and listen to any one of Soundgarden’s records and appreciate the depth musically that they added to Grunge as a genre. The way they layer their guitars, the way the rhythm section twists and turns, the way the vocals tell the tales of the sounds they serenade over; all were qualities Soundgarden possess. Take Black Hole Sun for instance, few men on this planet could possibly write a song as beautiful as that, from the raw emotive power of the vocals to the now-all-too-familiar guitar tone that characterised the remainder of grunge’s first wave to the solo that destroys your soul at the very end. If you can’t appreciate the sheer musicality of Chris Cornell, you really don’t realise the impact he’s had.

For me, two moments stick out. Firstly, I became bewildered by the concept of the ‘Spoonman’ having stumbled haphazardly on to its level on Rock Band 2, pounding away on my drums and screeching through it without a clue of how it should sound, knowing fully well I sounded nothing like it should. Whilst I’ve always been up in arms with Spoonman, it led me to discover Black Hole Sun, a song which I will forever hold dearly as a masterpiece. Secondly, I have been, and always will be, a massive James Bond nerd and when Casino Royale came out, I thought You Know My Name was the shit, I was bloody obsessed. It was all over my iPod’s top plays chart. It was a TUNE. I still jam to it now. To me, Chris Cornell was bloody cool.

Regardless of my level of fandom, I woke up to the news this morning and I was shocked, as were all of my friends. My social media this morning was flooded with pure shock at the death of a man who still had a hell of a lot of life to live. Tonight, I hope you raise a toast to a man who gave his all to everything he did, day in day out. Just watch the videos of last night’s gig, his last gig, and watch the sheer energy and effort he puts in, the passion that oozes in every moment. It’s like he knew, like he knew this was it. Chris Cornell dug deep in to the dark depths of Grunge and dragged it out for all the world to see, and quite honestly, we wouldn’t be the same if he hadn’t. R.I.P. – Jack Press, Editor-in-Chief

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Truly special talents can be measured by the near-universal range of their appeal and fondness, stretching across the die-hards and casuals alike: to be adored by the fanbase and cheerfully enjoyed by everyone else.

It also speaks volumes about their character – have you ever heard anyone have a bad word to say about Chris Cornell? No smelly scandals cling to the name (save the standard drink/drugs personal redemption story), no mention of rock-star douchebaggery, nothing. This is no fawning whitewash, mind, just recognition of the rare combination of unique talent and widespread agreeability.

Further evidence comes from the sheer widespread scale of tributes, not only from casuals like myself but from rock’s great and good: from fellow grunge titans Pearl Jam to elder statesmen like Jimmy Page, the range of tributes reflects the huge affection and respect afforded to Cornell.

Possessed of that compelling, rich, soulful and versatile voice and an almost anti-rock star sense of affability, cursory casuals like myself couldn’t help but be taken in by the hits, glad in the knowledge that there was more beyond the likes of Rusty Cage to get into at some unspecified later point. It is with credit to the man’s immense talent that – without scorning those never ventured far from the genre – he built upon early immortalisation with Soundgarden’s part in the grunge explosion and never stopped pushing onward as an artist.

Always a highlight of a musician’s career, his arse-kicking Bond theme warrants a mention: easily going toe-to-toe with almost any of the past film’s soundtracks, and securing another impressive achievement in an already fascinating sonic arsenal.

It also represented a continuation of a post-grunge explosion career, along with his adventures in the Audioslave supergroup. He only ever continued to prove himself more than capable of becoming an acclaimed musician in his own right, feathering an already impressive CV with more achievements.

While no genre of music necessarily deserves a certain tragic death quota, the grunge world could be forgiven for wanting a few more years out of its surviving graduates. No sooner had Kurt Cobain passed into rock n’ roll immortality, Layne Staley’s passing in 2002 heaped yet more undeserving hurt on an already severely wounded community, making any further loss of its brethren a maddening, fist-shaking violation of audio nature.

Treading carefully through cliché, we will always have his music: and we can have a little more faith that in an increasingly strange world, some individuals will always rise to prominence with nothing more than humble talent, and no end of willingness to share it.

RIP. – James Stokes, Contributor

 

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