Rock Blog: My 5 Favorite Chris Cornell Songs

May 18, 2017

USA Today Images, Ron Elkman.

I don't have to tell you how difficult today has been. You are living it, too. The disbelief. The sadness. The questions left unanswered. The legacy of Chris Cornell. We lost one of our local heroes last night, and I'm flooded with memories of how his music impacted my life and left a lasting impression in my heart and soul.


Although it's nearly impossible to select favorites, and I'm sure if you asked me tomorrow my choices would shift, I wanted to put together my 5 favorite Chris Cornell songs of all time. Or at least for today.


1. "Slaves & Bulldozers" - Soundgarden. I love the slow, sultry, swampiness of this song's intro, and when the lyrics kick in, the song takes off. And it progresses FAST. When Chris starts singing 'Now I know why you've been shaking', you feel it in your bones. It's my absolute favorite Soundgarden song. Their live performance at the Netherlands' Pinkpop festival in '92 almost feels a little like Seattle, between the song itself and the umbrellas in the crowd.


2. "Say Hello 2 Heaven" - Temple of the Dog. This song has always given me chills every time I hear it, and I was fortunate enough to see it performed live during the Temple of the Dog reunion show at The Paramount last fall. The song was written as a tribute for Cornell's fallen friend Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone. The wounds were fresh when the performance below took place in '90 at The Moore in Seattle. I take some comfort in thinking the two of them could be roommates again now. 


3. "Show Me How To Live" - Audioslave. This jam completely showcases Chris Cornell's incredible vocal range, from the most delicate notes to the ones that blew out the speakers in my 1992 Nissan Sentra about 15 years ago. Singing along with the lyrics is MUST for me. Every damn word. I am so happy my friend Jeremy took me to see Audioslave in 2003 - this one was on the set list, and we were front and center for it. 


4. "Nothing Compares To You" (Prince Cover) - Chris Cornell. When the news of Prince's passing shook the world, Chris Cornell honored the falled icon in song, putting his own spin on "Nothing Compares To You". When the song arrived at KISW, we were blown away and knew we would play it immediately. I feel very lucky to say I was given the honor of introducing the song over the KISW airwaves for the first time. I listened to it with my mom this morning, and we both cried. 


5. "Reach Down" - Temple of the Dog. A sludgy song that sounds totally Seattle, it's always been my favorite Temple of the Dog song. As the story goes, Andrew Wood once proclaimed that he wanted to "Reach down and pick the crowd up" when playing with Mother Love Bone. It resonated with Chris Cornell, and he molded his friend's words into a bad ass song. They played this song both nights of the reunion shows at The Paramount last fall. 


We will continue to mourn together. We will continue to pay tribute together. We will continue to reflect together. Chris Cornell leaves behind a legacy and a lasting impression not just in the rock community, but the world. RIP Chris Cornell, and thank you for your beautiful gifts of art and song.

I'm at a loss for words. Shaking, crying. A devastating loss. Sending my condolences to @chriscornellofficial's family and to everyone who had their life changed by his music. RIP.

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Taryn Daly