In Memoriam: Top 5 Chris Cornell Songs

Chris Cornell’s untimely passing comes as a huge blow to the music community, and we at RMW would like to take a moment to celebrate some of the singer’s greatest achievements.

Chris was a superb songwriter and there are just so many great tracks to pick from.

Here are five of our favourites:

Audioslave – Be Yourself

Featured on Audioslave’s second studio album ‘Out Of Exile’, ‘Be Yourself’ was one of Chris Cornell’s first songs to find an audience outside of the rock community. Inspired by events from Cornell’s own life, ‘Be Yourself’s introspective lyrics give the feeling of a older man reaching back in time to advise his younger self. The song also features a fantastic musical backing from Cornell’s Audioslave bandmates. These days, there are many popular songs that claim to relate to the frustrated outsiders of society; however, few hit the mark quite as well as ‘Be Yourself’ does.

Soundgarden – Rusty Cage

By 1992, Soundgarden were really starting to find hit their stride musically, and there is perhaps no better example of the band’s heavier experimental side than ‘Rusty Cage’. The song features a slightly strange guitar tuning that gives it a razor sharp edge. It also features some pretty complex rhythmic pattern’s more akin to prog rock or metal. Despite this, the thing that makes ‘Rusty Cage’ stand out above everything else is Cornell’s fantastic vocal acrobatics, which seamlessly transition between dark lower tones and operatic wails.

Chris Cornell – You Know My Name

After the predictable electro pop Bond themes of the 1980s and 90s, the world was ready for a song that would give the franchise a much needed kick up the ass. Fortunately, Chris Cornell was at hand to inject a little passion back into the world’s most famous secret agent. ‘Casino Royale’ brought with it a grittier, harder, no nonsense Bond, and ‘You Know My Name’ was the perfect song to reflect this. An entire generation of Bond fans will point to this song as one of the best, and you could argue that the track stands up on its own merit, Bond or no Bond.

Audioslave – Like A Stone

When Audioslave first announced themselves to the world, many rock fans were expecting a Rage Against the Machine rehash – plus Chris Cornell. The band’s first single ‘Cochise’ put many of these fears to bed; however, it was with 2003’s ‘Like a Stone’ that people really began to take notice. ‘Like a Stone’ has the rare quality of sounding like a band who have been together for years, but somehow feels completely new and original. The song remains Audioslaves most commercially successful release, peaking at number one on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks.

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

‘Black Hole Sun’ is certainly the most recognisable song in Chris Cornell’s repertoire, and helped propel Soundgarden from an up and coming grunge band to one of the biggest acts on the planet. The songs moody chorus gives it an undeniable 90s rock feel, but the piece as a whole has a strangely timeless quality. The song’s intro harkens back to The Beatles – ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, yet its bridge section sounds like it could have been released by a modern metal band. A true masterpiece.

We’d love to hear about some of your favourite Chris Cornell songs. If you’d like to add any songs to this list, leave us a comment.

Photo: Getty

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