Chris Cornell is a rock icon who thrives on contradictions. An innovator who resists genre labels, he was nonetheless the chief architect of the 90s grunge movement. Frequently ranked as one of the best voices in music history, he has successfully maintained his own unique identity over more than two decades as a multi-Grammy award winning musician and universally acclaimed singer, songwriter and lyricist.
Seattle trailblasers Soundgarden were a law to themselves, edgy, dark and deeply individual. Their savage soundscapes, coupled with Cornell’s incisive lyrics and predatory roar, seduced audiences hungry for musical depth and complexity while leading trends in street fashion and iconic design. In 1989, they became the first Seattle band to sign to a major label. Their sound continued to change and evolve over the course of five pioneering albums.
Celebrated side project Temple of the Dog had already shown Cornell’s more soulful side and introduced future Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder to the world. Later, Cornell shocked the business once again with richly melodic, critically acclaimed solo album Euphoria Morning, swiftly recognized for its alienation and despair. And as the millennium turned, he joined with three other musical pioneers from rap-rock’s Rage Against The Machine to create Audioslave - a multi-platinum supergroup which lived to deny its detractors, producing three top-selling albums, touring the world and becoming the first American band to bring rock to Castro’s Cuba.
Since then, Cornell has redefined his sound and vision to encompass new music, new collaborations and new activities. Having contributed solo songs to movie soundtracks from Great Expectations to Mission Impossible II, he became the first American male singer to write the theme song for the James Bond franchise in its most successful film to date, Casino Royale. His bold and bluesy reinvention of Michael Jackson dance classic Bllie Jean'courted controversy and attracted imitators. And his triumphant 2007 world tour brought together songs from every stage of his career, reinterpreting them for new audiences and blending their original fire with the shock of the new.
2008 culminated in an appearance at the Kennedy Center Honors Gala in Washington DC in front of the President. Cornell paid tribute to Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of the Who with a triumphant performance of their classic 'Won't Get Fooled Again, which, according to the Washington Times, "brought down the house."