Singer helped ig­nite Seattle sound

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Ran­dall Roberts Los Angeles Times Times staff writer Randy Lewis con­trib­uted to this re­port.

His vo­cal range and phys­i­cal pres­ence fu­eled his band Soundgar­den and the ’90s grunge era.

Chris Cor­nell, an icon of the ‘90s hard rock grunge move­ment and the an­chor of Soundgar­den and Au­dioslave, was never quiet about his need to per­form.

The artist’s death at age 52 was re­ported early Thurs­day af­ter a Wed­nes­day night Soundgar­den con­cert in Detroit.

The Wayne County med­i­cal ex­am­iner’s of­fice has ruled Cor­nell’s death a sui­cide by hang­ing, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Cor­nell had said he would have led a much qui­eter life if not for the stage.

“If I didn’t do what I do, I think for the most part I would have very few friends and be a shut-in most of the time,” he told The Times in 1991. “It’s sort of a bat­tle be­tween that per­son and then the guy that wants to just let it all out in front of 2,000 peo­ple and rant and scream and say any­thing hewants.”

Over the fol­low­ing decades, those few thou­sand fans would be­come mil­lions as Soundgar­den, with Cor­nell, be­came one of the most com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful rock bands of a gen­er­a­tion. Among the band’s big­gest hits were “Rusty Cage,” “Je­sus Christ Pose,” “Spoon­man” and “Black Hole Sun.”

In a state­ment to The Times, Cor­nell’s pub­li­cist Brian Bum­bery wrote that Cor­nell’s wife and fam­ily “were shocked to learn of his sud­den and un­ex­pected pass­ing.”

Sgt. Adam Madera of the Detroit Po­lice De­part­ment con­firmed that po­lice re­ceived a call from the MGM Grand Detroit ho­tel early Thurs­day and at 4:05 a.m. dis­cov­ered Cor­nell’s body on the floor of his ho­tel room.

Soundgar­den, which re­united in 2010, was in the mid­dle of a tour that had taken the band to the Fox Theater in Detroit. It per­formed a set that in­cluded “Blow Up the Out­side World,” “Spoon­man,” “Out­shined” and other fan fa­vorites.

The band’s set list sug­gested the gig was to con­clude with an encore of “Be­hind the Wheel,” ac­cord­ing to a photo pub­lished by CNN.

How­ever, the band’s last song was a cover of “In My Time of Dy­ing,” an old blues song recorded by Blind Wil­lie John­son, Bob Dy­lan, Led Zep­pelin and oth­ers. Its open­ing lines are: “In my time of dy­ing, want no­body to mourn/ All Iwant for you to do is takemy body home.”

On Twit­ter and In­sta­gram and other so­cial me­dia out­lets, peers and col­leagues poured forth with re­ac­tions to Cor­nell’s death.

Wrote Led Zep­pelin gui­tarist Jimmy Page, “RIP Chris Cor­nell In­cred­i­bly Tal­ented In­cred­i­bly Young In­cred­i­bly Missed.”

“SO SO stunned to hear about Chris Cor­nell! Such a ter­ri­ble and sad loss! Think­ing of his fam­ily tonight! RIP,” wrote gui­tarist Dave Navarro of Jane’s Ad­dic­tion.

Wrote Slash of Guns ‘N Roses: “Shocked& sad­dened by the news of Chris Cor­nell’s pass­ing. RIP.”

Neil Port­now, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Record­ing Acad­emy, is­sued a state­ment that read, in part: “Chris Cor­nell was one of the in­flu­en­tial orig­i­na­tors of the 1990s Seattle grunge scene. A two-time Grammy Award win­ner, Chris’ dy­namic stage pres­ence and im­pres­sive vo­cal range made him a true rock-and-roll icon.

“From the in­ter­na­tional suc­cess he achieved as the founder and lead vo­cal­ist of Soundgar­den, to fronting the Grammy-nom­i­nated su­per­group, Au­dioslave, Chris’ ex­tra­or­di­nary tal­ent will for­ever live on and in­spire fel­low mu­si­cians and fans world­wide.”

Re­ac­tion to Cor­nell’s death reached across a broad swath of the mu­sic com­mu­nity and well be­yond.

Sting wrote: “In a world drown­ing in the ugly noise& clam­our of lies, Chris was a beau­ti­ful man w/a beau­ti­ful voice singing his truth.”

El­ton John posted that he is “(s)hocked and sad­dened by the sud­den death of @chriscor­nell. A great singer, song­writer and the loveli­est man.”

And both sons of the Bea­tles’ John Len­non of­fered their thoughts: “In­cred­i­bly sad­dened to hear an­other great artist has passed,” Ju­lian Len­non wrote. “Chris Cor­nell, you were with­out ques­tion Unique.” Sean Ono Len­non tweeted, in ref­er­ence to Cor­nell’s record­ing of the song “Sea­sons,” “I’ll never for­get when I first heard this song (Chris Cor­nell R.I.P.).”

Other posts came from Beach Boys cre­ative leader Brian Wil­son, the Band’s lead gui­tarist and song­writer Rob­bie Robert­son, Black Sab­bath mem­bers Geezer But­ler and Tony Iommi, coun­try mu­si­cians Zac Brown Band, Ja­son Aldean and Ja­son Is­bell, ac­tors Mira Sorvino and Ben Stiller and even the Seattle Sym­phony, with whom Cor­nell once per­formed.

His for­mer band­mate in Au­dioslave, Tom Morello, put up the fol­low­ing state­ment on his In­sta­gram ac­count: “I love you, brother. Thank you for your friend­ship and your hu­mor and your in­tel­lect and your sin­gu­lar and un­matched tal­ent. It­was a great honor to know you as a friend and as a band mate.

Af­ter first re­leas­ing mu­sic on the in­die Seattle la­bels Sub Pop and SST, the band signed to A&M Records and is­sued its ma­jor-la­bel de­but al­bum “Louder Than Love,” in 1990. The group’s 1991 fol­low-up, “Bad­mo­torfin­ger,” gave the band its first plat­inum-al­bum, al­though it peaked at only No. 39 on the Bill­board 200 Al­bums chart.

But with “Su­pe­run­k­nown” in1994, Soundgar­den shot to the top of that chart with an al­bum that went on to sell more than 5 mil­lion copies, ac­cord­ing to the Record­ing In­dus­try Assn. of Amer­ica.

“Other Seattle bands, from Pearl Jam to Alice in Chains to Nir­vana, have got­ten more head­lines,” Richard Cromelin wrote for The Times in 1996 on the re­lease of the band’s “Down On the Up­side” al­bum, “but it’s Soundgar­den that’s the­most en­dur­ing, stal­wart pres­ence in a mu­sic scene whose sound and out­look have come to de­fine the rest­less heart of ‘90s Amer­i­can rock.”

Af­ter that group dis­banded in 1997, Cor­nell demon­strated his ver­sa­til­ity first by form­ing Au­dioslave with Rage Against’ the Ma­chine mem­bers Morello, Tim Com­mer­ford and Brad Wilk, and sub­se­quently per­form­ing shows in a solo acous­tic for­mat.

AP FILE PHOTO

Chris Cor­nell, the founder and lead vo­cal­ist of Soundgar­den, went on to form the band Au­dioslave as well as per­form solo.

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