One year ago, music fans awoke to the news that another beloved singer had died. Reports indicated that he died of suicide in his motel room mere hours after a comeback concert with is reunited band from the 90’s. Singer Chris Cornell was no longer among the living.
His career took off after the Seattle Grunge movement took off and seemed to grow in popularity every day. His band, Soundgarden, joined the ranks of the innovators Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Alice in Chains. It was a new, grinding sound that featured both muddled voices and indiscernible lyrics mixed with moments of clarity and crispness. Cornell’s voice was distinctive even among these bands as his voice could range between a deep growling, moody vocal to a sharp clearness with a sweet melodic sound that seemed almost unbelievable.
There have been many detractors of this genre of music as it has been blamed for disrupting the success of the metal bands that were also attempting to garner fans at the same time. However, there was an eager market for this type of sound which was characterized by heavy, muddy sounding guitars and baggy, checkered clothing for the band members. The songs often featured lyrics that dealt with social issues, though the lyrics were often unintelligible.
Sadly, this genre has been marked by tragedy, especially for the often tortured frontmen. Kurt Cobain, the lead vocalist for the infamous Nirvana wound up committing suicide after his public struggles with substance abuse. His band was often considered one of the trailblazers of its time.
Layne Staley, the front man of the grunge group, Alice in Chains, died of an apparent overdose while on his tour bus after a near capacity crowd in Minneapolis. Again, he had a history checkered with substance abuse issues. Many fans were shocked by news of his untimely death.
Last May, when news broke of Chris Cornell’s death, the grunge scene was turned on its head. Cornell also had a long history of substance abuse and depression. However, after resolving to get his life and career back on track, his family and fans were confident that the singer had turned his life around. He even had launched a new non-profit geared toward helping end horrific sex trafficking trade in minors. He had enlisted the assistance of his daughters to spread the word about the horrors of this social scourge.
Though fans and many media source were in shock over Cornell’s suicide, his wife reportedly suspected that he had backslid in recent months. There were some who felt that the singer’s death may have been politically motivated, but evidence collected at the time pointed to the fact that Cornell was unable to overcome his personal demons.
Though the personal lives of many artists seem to be dark and troubled, they channel that pain into music that will last for the rest of time. Though so much of music is born from pain, the rest of us hear the hidden beauty.
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia. A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.