Chris Cornell (born Christopher John Boyle (July 20, 1964 – May 17, 2017) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He was best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and rhythm guitarist for Seattle rock band Soundgarden. He was also known as lead vocalist and songwriter for the group Audioslave.
Cornell was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. He attended Christ the King Catholic elementary school, and Shorewood High School. His parents are Ed Boyle (a pharmacist) and Karen Cornell (an accountant). Between the ages of nine and eleven, he spent a two-year period solidly listening to The Beatles. Cornell was a loner, but he was able to deal with his anxiety around other people through rock music. As a teenager, Chris developed severe depression, dropped out of school and almost never left the house. Before becoming a successful musician, he was a seafood wholesaler and a sous-chef at a restaurant named Ray's Boathouse.
In the early 1980s, Cornell was a member of a cover band called The Shemps. The group performed around Seattle. The Shemps also featured the bassist, Hiro Yamamoto. After Yamamoto's departure from The Shemps, the band recruited guitarist Kim Thayil as its new guitarist. Cornell and Yamamoto started recording together and brought in Thayil to join them.
In 1984, Thayil and Yamamoto and Cornell formed the group Soundgarden. Cornell was originally on drums and vocals. The band has The band enlisted Scott Sundquist as the drummer in 1985, so Cornell could concentrate on his vocals. Soundgarden's first recordings were three songs that appeared on a compilation for C/Z Records called Deep Six. In 1986, Sundquist decided to leave the band and spend time with his family. Matt Cameron was his replacement which became Soundgarden's permanent drummer. Over time, Cornell released six studio albums with the group. These albums included Ultramega OK(1988), Louder Than Love (1989), Badmotofinger (1991), Superunknown (1994), Down on the Upside (1996), and King Animal (2012).
In 2001, an American rock supergroup called Audioslave was formed in Los Angeles, California. The consisted of lead singer/rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, Tom Morello (lead guitar), Tim Commerford (bass/backing vocals), and Brad Wilk (drums). Audioslave's trademark sound was a mixture of 1970s hard rock with 1990s alternative rock. Audioslave released three albums including Audioslave (2002), Out of Exile (2005), and Revelations (2006). The group received three Grammy nominations and became the first American rock band to perform an open-air concert in Cuba. Audioslave disbanded in February 2007 when Cornell issued a statement announcing that he was permanently leaving the band "due to irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences."
Cornell also released four solo studio albums including Euphoria Morning (1999), Carry On (2007), Scream (2009), Higher Truth (2015), and the live album Songbook (2011). His song "The Keeper" won him a Golden Globe Award nomination. He also appeared in the film Machine Gun Preacher. He also co-wrote and performed the theme song to the James Bond film Casino Royale (2006), "You Know My Name". Cornell's solo release prior to his death was the charity single "The Promise". The song was written for the ending credits for the film of the same name. Readers of Guitar World, voted him as"Rock's Greatest Singer". He was also ranked 4th in the list of "Heavy Metal's All-Time Top 100 Vocalists" by Hit Parader, 9th on the list of "Best Lead Singers of All Time" by Rolling Stone, and 12th in MTV's "22 Greatest Voices in Music".
Cornell was first married to Susan Silver, the manager of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. The two had a daughter Lillian Jean who was born in June 2000. He and Silver divorced in 2004. He was married for a second time to Vicky Karayiannis, a Paris-based American publicist of Greek heritage. The couple had a daughter together named Toni who was born in September 2004, and a son, Christopher Nicholas, who was born in December 2005. Through his wife’s influence, Cornell converted to the Greek Orthodox Church.
On May 17, 2017, Cornell was found dead in the bathroom of his room at the MGM Grand in Detroit after performing at a show with Soundgarden at the Fox Theatre. The cause of death was determined to be suicide by hanging. Cornell was 52 years old.
Information and Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org