From strutting psychedelia to grief-stricken laments, we run through the career high-points of grunge’s first legendary frontman
• Chris Cornell, Soundgarden frontman, dies aged 52
Forming from the wreckage of early 80s Seattle punk band the Shemps, Soundgarden (who took their name from a wind sculpture near Seattle’s Magnuson Park) were a heavier proposition, as bassist Kim Thayil shifted to lead guitar and began laying down primal, Sabbath-esque riffage, tempered by a taut post-punk sensibility. Shemps drummer/singer Chris Cornell, meanwhile, left his kit behind and swiftly metamorphosed into the first defining frontman of the grunge era, matching Thayil’s dark guitar with a leonine howl that channelled the spirit of the great metal wailers – Plant, Osbourne, Gillan – without any of the hoary, macho baggage. And it was on this infernal track off their first full-length collection, 1988’s Ultramega OK, that Cornell’s vocal reached full maturity, rising from subterranean growl to truly chilling, metallic banshee holler.