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 "Spoonman" (1994)

The first Soundgarden single to chart on Billboard was an auspicious choice for a mainstream breakthough: a tricky 7/4 meter, clanking junkyard percussion and Cornell's dark, lonely lyrics somewhat inspired by a Seattle eccentric, Artis the Spoonman, who recorded a clack-tacular solo on the utensils. "It's more about the paradox of who he is and what people perceive him as," Cornell told Request in 1994. "He's a street musician, but when he's playing on the street, he is given a value and judged completely wrong by someone else. They think he's a street person, or he's doing this because he can't hold down a regular job. They put him a few pegs down on the social ladder because of how they perceive someone who dresses differently. The lyrics express the sentiment that I much more easily identify with someone like Artis than I would watch him play." 

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