Chris Cornell: 15 Essential Songs

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

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Soundgarden, "Black Hole Sun" (1994)

"I wrote the song thinking the band wouldn't like it," Cornell told Rolling Stone about Soundgarden's most iconic song, "then it became the biggest hit of the summer." Cornell wrote Soundgarden's most iconic song in about 15 minutes, telling Rip magazine about its Magical Mystery Tour-esque lyrics: "It's just sort of a surreal dreamscape, a weird, play-with-the-title kind of song," and later clarifying to Entertainment Weekly, "I had misheard a news anchor, and I thought he said 'black hole sun,' but he said something else. ... [A]fter that I thought, 'Well, he didn't say it, but I heard it,' and it created this image in my brain and I thought it would be an amazing song title. It was a thought-provoking phrase, and it became that song. 

"'Black Hole Sun' wasn't safe as milk, but it wasn't glass in someone's eye either. It was the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down," guitarist Kim Thayil told Billboard in 1996. "Now it's the 'Dream On' of our set."

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