Was there anyone that wasn’t shocked and saddened to turn on the radio or TV this morning and learn of the tragic and untimely death of singer Chris Cornell? After performing last night in Detroit at the Fox Theater with the reformed Soundgarden, early media reports indicate he may have taken his own life.
An artist beloved to many leaving this world much too soon is certainly nothing new; we have experienced this all too often in recent years, from Prince to David Bowie. Yet the prospect of suicide can take any death to a different level. Certainly, the feeling of helplessness and confusion can become even more daunting to process and overcome.
Over the course of his long and successful career, Chris Cornell has been both beloved and reviled. Coming out of the grunge era, along with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, his was the voice of a flannel-shirted generation. Lightning would strike twice with Audioslave as his powerful, gravelly, despair-tinged voice continued to move and resonate with millions of fans. As he matured and took to solo work he also took chances – most notably with Timbaland – delving into pop music, much to the dismay of many of his followers.
Providing a degree of comfort this morning were several Detroit radio stations, most notably 89X and WRIF, who eschewed their typical programming of all-talk, jokes and revelry for thoughtful discourse with fans interspersed with Cornell’s music. Music is personal and emotional. These radio pros did their industry proud.
And so we listen back and remember, including to perhaps Chris Cornell’s most well-know song, “Black Hole Sun,” searching more some kind of meaning, insight or sign in his words: In my eyes, indisposed, in disguises no one knows…