Tag Archives: Deaths

RIP Chris Cornell

Today we woke up and learned that grunge pioneer Chris Cornell had died suddenly. Cornell died in Detroit (of all places), and it’s starting to sound like his death was possibly the result of suicide. Cornell is probably most famous for being the lead singer of Soundgarden. They were one of those 90’s bands that defined the grunge movement that sprang up in Seattle, along with bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana. I’ll admit that for a long time I got Soundgarden mixed up with Pearl Jam. The bands are similar, but Cornell was always a little cooler than Eddie Vedder, who kinda comes across as a bit of a wanker. “Black Hole Sun” is probably being played in a thousand record stores today and all over the radio, and with good reason: that song rules. No fooling-no bullshit, “Black Hole Sun” is a fantastic song. Although my personal favorite Soundgarden song has to be “Spoonman,” which is apparently about a Seattle street musician who played…spoons. This song came out in 1994 when I was in my Beatles-only phase, so I came to this song via the popular late 2000’s video game ROCK BAND. There were so many nights of beer and ROCK BAND where someone would warble out the bizarre (but awesome) lyrics.800

For me, Cornell will always be remembered as the guy who put out the best modern James Bond theme song (pre-Adele). His song for the first Daniel Craig Bond flick, CASINO ROYALE, was a real corker. I remember not digging it the first time I heard it, but when the lights when down in the theater and the song was accompanied by the weird opening credits I thought, “this is a damn good song.” The song was called “You Know My Name, ” and it appeared on Cornell’s 2007 solo album CARRY ON. Hard to believe that that was a decade ago.

I have a friend who is a big Audioslave fan, I think she likes Audioslave more than Soundgarden, but I’ve never really given the band much of a listen. It feels kinda shitty to say this, but now that Cornell’s gone, I guess I’ll go back and spend a little time with both band’s back catalog. Of all the 90’s grunge bands, I think that Soundgarden probably holds up the best, after Pearl Jam. But maybe I’m wrong about this; it’s been awhile since I’ve done a deep-dive into that era of music. We’re used to losing heroes from the 1960’s and 1970’s music scene, but the death of Chris Cornell is truly shocking. I’m still in this weird mindset that 1990 was only ten years ago, but of course, that’s not true.

They’ll be playing “Black Hole Sun” all over today, take the time to check out “Spoonman” or better yet, “You Know My Name.” Goodbye Mr. Cornell, rest in power.

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Etta James (1938-2012)

Well now this is sad news: blues singer Etta James died today.  The singer, best know for songs such as “At Last” and  “I Just Want To Make Love To You,” was 73 years old.  She leaves behind a legacy of timeless, American classics.  James was a major influence on singers both male and female.  I have no doubt that there would be no Adele or Amy Winehouse without Etta James.  Rolling Stone magazine ranked  her 1961 album AT LAST! as #116 on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time. In 2008 Beyonce Knowles portrayed her in the film CADILLAC RECORDS (which I must admit that I never saw, but I heard good things).


I’ve spent many a Sunday mornings listening to Etta James on my record player.  Her music really holds up, even more so with the current “retro” blues/soul revival that began with Amy Winehouse and continues today.  There’s something magical about a lot of the music from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  Singers like Frank Sinatra and Etta James seemed to have had a special bag of magic when they were recording, their work not only continues to thrive but seemed exist in timeless vacuum.

She will be missed, but we’ll always have the music.

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