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Chris Cornell

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Chris Cornell was a rock icon who thrived on contradictions. An innovator who resisted genre labels, he was nonetheless a chief architect of the 90s grunge movement. Frequently ranked as one of the best voices in music history, he successfully maintained his own unique identity over decades as a multi-Grammy award-winning musician and universally acclaimed singer, songwriter and lyricist. Chris Cornell was born Christopher John Boyle on July 20 1964 in Seattle, Washington. He was the second youngest of six children, and was the son of Karen Cornell, an accountant, and Edward Boyle, a pharmacist. He was of mostly Irish, English, Scottish, and Norwegian ancestry, with many of his mother's ancestors coming from Canada. His parents divorced when Chris was in his early teens, and Chris and his siblings changed their surnames from Boyle to his mother's maiden name. Chris rebelled against his Catholic upbringing and was on the verge of being expelled from the parochial school he attended when his mother pulled him out. As an adolescent, he experimented with drugs and stealing. Among the things he stole were a collection of Beatles records from his neighbour's basement which sparked an interest in songwriting. Though his parents had given him piano lessons from early on, Chris said his mother saved his life when she bought him a snare drum. A week later he bought himself an entire drum kit and thus began his forage into rock n roll. Cornell dropped out of school at the age of 15 for two reasons: one was because he had problems with authority, the other was that he wanted to work to help his mother support the family. He waited tables and later on became a cook. He honed his skills as a songwriter and musician by playing in bands on the side. He experienced his first bouts of depression during his teens. His condition became so severe he didn't leave his home for almost a year. Fortunately, he was able to check his use of recreational drugs. He later earned his GED. He formed Soundgaren with Hiro Yamamoto, Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron in the mid-eighties. Yamamoto left the band was replaced by Ben Shepherd. Soundgarden were the first of the Seattle grunge bands to get signed by a major label during the late 80s and would eventually go on to become on of the most successful bands of the 1990s. Soundgarden were a law to themselves, edgy, dark and deeply individual. Their savage soundscapes, coupled with Cornell's incisive lyrics and predatory roar, seduced audiences hungry for musical depth and complexity, while leading trends in street fashion and iconic design. Their sound continued to change and evolve over the course of five pioneering albums. Chris also enjoyed success with several side projects, among them Temple Of The Dog with Eddie Vedder. Temple had already shown Cornell's more soulful side, and introduced future Pearl Jam frontman Vedder to the world. Around this time, he married his long-time girlfriend, Alice In Chains manager Susan Silver. Silver, at the request of Cornell's band, had also taken on the management duties of Soundgarden. After achieving multi-platinum status and earning 2 Grammy awards, Soundgarden amicably disbanded in 1997. Cornell decided to go it alone and released 'Euphoria Morning', a solo album that showed his amazing versatility as a vocalist and songwriter, with its richly melodic and critically acclaimed sound, recognized for its alienation and despair. His songs shocked his grunge fanbase by boldly exploring folk, R&B and melding a variety of genres. 'Euphoria Morning' earned Cornell a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Male Rock Performance. However Cornell was dissatisfied with the commercial performance of his solo album and severely disillusioned by the deaths of several close friends. Plagued for many years by social phobias and alcohol abuse, it all came to head and he plunged into a deep depression. Once again, he began to use drugs. In June of 2000. Chris and Susan welcomed their first child, a daughter, Lillian Jean. The couple later divorced. In a turn of fortune, 2000 was also the year producer Rick Rubin suggested Cornell jam with the remaining members of Zach de la Rocha's abandoned band, Rage Against The Machine. The collaboration was so successful, Cornell along with guitar virtuoso Tom Morello, innovative bassist Tim Commerford and powerhouse drummer Brad Wilk formed Audioslave, a multi-platinum supergroup which lived to deny its detractors, producing three top-selling albums, touring the world and becoming the first American band to bring rock to Castro's Cuba. They built a reputation as a live act second to none. Cornell subsequently redefined his sound and vision to encompass new music, new collaborations and new activities. Having contributed solo songs to movie soundtracks from "Great Expectations" to "Mission Impossible II", he became the first American male singer to write the theme song for the James Bond franchise in its most successful film to date, "Casino Royale." His bold and bluesy reinvention of Michael Jackson dance classic "Billie Jean" courted controversy and attracted imitators. And his triumphant 2007 world tour brought together songs from every stage of his career, reinterpreting them for new audiences and blending their original fire with the shock of the new. He also married publicist Vicky Karayiannis, and the couple had two children. Outside music, Cornell fronted fashion designer John Varvatos's Spring 2006 collection and settled in Paris with his family, where he has helped revive a historic restaurant, the stylish Black Calavados. Chris Conell died on May 18, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Always eclectic, always experimental, he broke rules, made history and challenged expectations.  See full bio on IMDb »

LATEST STORIES
  
Chris Cornell Burial Service Draws Hundreds of Celeb Friends and Fans (PHOTOS)

Chris Cornell
Celeb Friends and Fans Show Love At Hollywood Burial Service

Chris Cornell's family, bandmates and famous friends gathered by the dozens to pay their respects as his ashes are laid in his final resting place ... the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The private… READ MORE >

Chris Cornell's Ashes Buried Next to Johnny Ramone (PHOTOS)

Chris Cornell
Ashes Buried Next to Johnny Ramone

Chris Cornell's final resting place is right next to another rock 'n' roll legend ... his dear friend, Johnny Ramone. Chris' ashes were placed in a gravesite Friday ... just 12 feet away from… READ MORE >

- 149 days ago
Chris Cornell's Wife's Chilling Account of Singer's Last Moments Before Suicide

Chris Cornell
Wife's Chilling Account Of Singer's Last Moments

Chris Cornell's wife knew something was terribly wrong with her husband during their last conversation, and it brought her back 14 years to when Chris was abusing prescription meds. We now know… READ MORE >

- 150 days ago
Chris Cornell Had Fresh Track Marks on Arm at Suicide Scene

Chris Cornell
Fresh Track Marks on Arm

Chris Cornell had apparently taken more than Ativan before hanging himself, because we've learned he had fresh track marks on his arm when his body was discovered in a Detroit hotel room. Sources… READ MORE >

- 151 days ago
Chris Cornell Was 'High' and 'F***ed Up' During Last Performance (VIDEO)

Chris Cornell
'High, F***ed Up' During Last Performance

Chris Cornell was messed up during his Detroit concert ... hours before he committed suicide -- this according to a longtime confidant who was present and working the event. Ted Keedick, who… READ MORE >

- 152 days ago
Chris Cornell Cremated, Service Will Be Private But Fans Can Still Pay Respects (VIDEO)

Chris Cornell
Cremated, Private Service Planned But Fans Not Forgotten

Chris Cornell was cremated Tuesday as a small group of family and friends stood by, but the rock icon's legion of fans will also get a chance to memorialize him ... TMZ has learned. Sources… READ MORE >

- 152 days ago
Chris Cornell Honored with Tribute by Slipknot and Stone Sour Frontman (VIDEO)

Chris Cornell
Music Fest Tribute Lead by Slipknot Frontman

Chris Cornell was honored Friday night at the Rock on the Range music festival by the lead singer of Slipknot ... and the entire crowd got in the act. Corey Taylor was joined onstage by his… READ MORE >

- 156 days ago
Chris Cornell's Hotel Death Scene Is Not Available For Reservations

Chris Cornell
Hotel Death Scene Not Available For Reservations

Chris Cornell's fans hoping to stay in the hotel room where the singer committed suicide are going to have to wait ...  because the room is off-limits for now. We're told the MGM Grand… READ MORE >

- 156 days ago
Chris Cornell Tribute Planned at Concert Soundgarden Was Headlining

Chris Cornell
Special Tribute at Festival Show Where Soundgarden Was Set to Headline

Soundgarden won't take the stage without Chris Cornell at the music festival they were supposed to play ... but the show will go on with a tribute to their frontman. Sources with the Rock on the… READ MORE >

- 157 days ago
Chris Cornell Used Exercise Band and Sturdy Clip Device to Hang Himself

Chris Cornell
Used Exercise Band and Sturdy Clip Device To Hang Himself

Chris Cornell used a common piece of exercise equipment to take his own life.  We've learned the Soundgarden frontman secured a red elastic exercise band attached to a carabiner to the top of… READ MORE >

- 157 days ago
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