It was confirmed in the early hours of this morning that Chris Cornell has sadly passed away while on tour with his band Soundgarden. As well as fronting and writing for his various rock bands, the American musician, singer and songwriter was famed for his huge vocal range, powerful belting technique and for writing some of the most iconic movie theme songs of recent years.
Let’s take a few moments to appreciate some of the artist’s greatest works.
Casino Royale – ‘You Know My Name’
Probably the most universally recognized and loved of the Chris Cornell theme songs, is ‘You Know My Name’ which accompanied the iconic opening credits of Daniel Craig’s first outing as James Bond in Casino Royale. The 2006 film was a departure from the gadget-heavy silliness that characterized earlier Bond movies, instead taking up a more caustic and haunting realism. Cornell’s song reinforced the strength and impact of the movie, kick-starting Craig’s high-octane mission with a threatening energy wrapped up in an eternally catchy tune.
Man of Steel – ‘Seasons’
The somewhat melancholic classic rock song attached to DC’s Man of Steel is one of the more celebrated of Chris Cornell’s song. Though it was not written specifically for the film, the trials of tribulations that Henry Cavill’s Superman goes through as he tries to fit in with the human way of life are echoed in the song’s poetic lyrics. The movie may not have made the impression that its filmmakers had hoped, but the song certainly left its mark. Indeed, fans have been reposting to ‘Seasons’ more than any other Cornell song in the wake of his passing.
The context of The Promise, the last movie Chris Cornell worked on, was something close to his heart. Deep and meaningful discussions with the director about the historical influence of the film, led to him being asked to write a song; a song which became an emotionally-charged, political and rousing wonder.
Cornell gave an interview to JoBlo (below) not long ago in which he expressed his emotional connection with The Promise and his motivation for the project. The film is set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire and follows a love triangle between stars Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon and Christian Bale. It was released last month to a mixed critical reception.
The Avengers – ‘Live to Rise’
‘Live to Rise’ was the first song to be fully recorded and released by Soundgarden after the band reformed in 2010. It is a riff-heavy rock ballad that was reviewed as “the incredible hulk on this all-star soundtrack for the all-star superhero movie The Avengers” by USA Today.
Machine Gun Preacher – ‘The Keeper’
Cornell earned a Golden Globe nomination for his song ‘The Keeper’ from the movie Machine Gun Preacher, a story of a gun-toting, God-fearing, crusader (Gerard Butler) seeking to protect Sudanese child soldiers. Cornell’s song is a hopeful ballad that has undertones of campfire singing with soaring harmonies.
Cornell is a huge loss to the music industry and will surely be greatly missed by cinema fans and filmmakers everywhere. But his formidable songwriting and unique voice are not going anywhere. We know his name and we know where to find him. Rest in peace.