By James Greene, Jr.
Chris Cornell, the soulful banshee who helped define the grunge rock sound that dominated early ‘90s airwaves with his group Soundgarden, died Wednesday night in Detroit following a Soundgarden performance at the Fox Theater. As of 1:45 p.m. EST this afternoon, an area medical examiner had determined the cause of death to be suicide by hanging. Cornell was 52.
A Seattle native, Cornell was 20 when Soundgarden formed in 1984. The quartet’s swirling, emotional tirades spread across a series of late ‘80s releases before their third full length, 1991’s Badmotorfinger, broke through to mainstream radio and MTV. 1994’s Superunknown proved to be Soundgarden’s commercial zenith; the record debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and spawned several gargantuan singles, including “Spoonman” and “Black Hole Sun” (both of which earned their own Grammy Awards).
Soundgarden broke up in 1997, following the release of the previous year’s Down On The Upside. Cornell moved on to a series of solo releases like 1999’s Euphoria Morning and 2009’s dance pop experiment Scream. Beginning in 2001, the singer also spent six years fronting the group Audioslave, which was rounded out by members of equally popular ‘90s collective Rage Against The Machine. In 2010 Soundgarden reunited, putting together the 2012 album King Animal and continually touring through the next seven years.
No Recess! will have a deeper, more in-depth look at Cornell’s life very soon.