Chris Cornell: 15 Essential Songs

The singer's most memorable moments: Soundgarden's grunge classics, Audioslave's hits and his poetic solo material

Soundgarden, "The Day I Tried to Live" (1994)

From a band that went through great pains to deny Led Zeppelin's influence on their music, here comes Chris Cornell's most operatic, vein-throbbing, lung-bursting vocal performance ever to soar on a Soundgarden single. "It's about trying to step out of being patterned and closed off and reclusive, which I've always had a problem with," Cornell told Rolling Stone in 1994. "It's about attempting to be normal and just go out and be around other people and hang out. I have a tendency to sometimes be pretty closed off and not see people for long periods of time and not call anyone. 

"It's actually, in a way, a hopeful song. . … A lot of people misinterpreted that song as a suicide-note song. Taking the word 'live' too literally. 'The Day I Tried to Live' means more like the day I actually tried to open up myself and experience everything that's going on around me as opposed to blowing it all off and hiding in a cave."

Back to Top