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Soundgarden made a place for heavy metal in alternative rock. Their fellow Seattle rockers Green River may have spearheaded the grunge sound, but they relied on noise rock in the vein of the Stooges. Similarly, Jane's Addiction were too fascinated with prog rock and performance art to appeal to a wide array of metal fans. Soundgarden, however, developed directly out of the grandiose blues-rock of Led Zeppelin and the sludgy, slow riffs of Black Sabbath. Which isn't to say they were a straight-ahead metal band. Soundgarden borrowed the D.I.Y. aesthetics of punk, melding their guitar-driven sound with an intelligence and ironic sense of humor that was indebted to the American underground of the mid-'80s. Furthermore, the band rarely limited itself to simple, pounding riffs, often making detours into psychedelia. But the group's key sonic signatures -- the gutsy wail of vocalist Chris Cornell and the winding riffs of guitarist Kim Thayil -- were what brought them out of the underground. Not only were they one of the first groups to record for the legendary Seattle indie Sub Pop, but they were the first grunge band to sign to a major label. In fact, most critics expected Soundgarden to be the band that broke down the doors for alternative rock, not Nirvana. However, the group didn't experience an across-the-board success until 1994, when Superunknown became a number one hit.

For a band so heavily identified with the Seattle scene, its ironic that two of its founding members were from the Midwest. Kim Thayil (guitar), Hiro Yamamoto (bass), and Bruce Pavitt were all friends in Illinois who decided to head to Olympia, Washington, to attend college after high-school graduation in 1981. Though none of the three completed college, all of them became involved in the Washington underground music scene. Pavitt was the only one who didn't play -- he founded a fanzine that later became the Sub Pop record label. Yamamoto played in several cover bands before forming a band in 1984 with his roommate Chris Cornell (vocals), a Seattle native who had previously played drums in several bands. Thayil soon joined the duo and the group named itself Soundgarden after a local Seattle sculpture. Scott Sundquist originally was the band's drummer, but he was replaced by Matt Cameron in 1986. Over the next two years, Soundgarden gradually built up a devoted cult following through their club performances.

Pavitt signed Soundgarden to his fledgling Sub Pop label in the summer of 1987, releasing the single "Hunted Down" before the EP Screaming Life appeared later in the year. Screaming Life and the group's second EP, 1988's FOPP, became underground hits and earned the attention of several major labels. The band decided to sign to SST instead of a major, releasing Ultramega OK by the end of 1988. Ultramega OK received strong reviews among alternative and metal publications, and the group decided to make the leap to a major for its next album, 1989's Louder Than Love. Released on A&M Records, Louder Than Love became a word-of-mouth hit, earning positive reviews from mainstream publications, peaking at 108 on the charts, and earning a Grammy nomination. Following the album's fall 1989 release, Yamamoto left the band to return to school. Jason Everman, a former guitarist for Nirvana, briefly played with the band before Ben Shepherd joined in early 1990.

Soundgarden's third album, 1991's Badmotorfinger, was heavily anticipated by many industry observers as a potential breakout hit. Though it was a significant hit, reaching number 39 on the album charts, its success was overshadowed by the surprise success of Nirvana's Nevermind, which was released the same month as Badmotorfinger. Prior to Nevermind, Soundgarden had been marketed by A&M as a metal band, and the group had agreed to support Guns N' Roses on the fall 1991 Lose Your Illusion tour. While the tour did help sales, Soundgarden benefited primarily from the grunge explosion, whose media attention helped turn the band into stars. The band was also helped by the Top Ten success of Temple of the Dog, a tribute to deceased Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood that Cornell and Cameron recorded with members of Pearl Jam.

By the spring release of 1994's Superunknown, Soundgarden's following had grown considerably, which meant that the album debuted at number one upon its release. (A year before its release, Shepherd and Cameron released an eponymous album by their side project, Hater.) Superunknown became one of the most popular records of 1994, generating a genuine crossover hit with "Black Hole Sun," selling over three million copies and earning two Grammys. Soundgarden returned in 1996 with Down on the Upside, which entered the charts at number two. Despite the record's strong initial sales, it failed to generate a big hit, and was hurt by grunge's fading popularity. Soundgarden retained a sizable audience -- the album did go platinum, and they were co-headliners on the sixth Lollapalooza -- but they didn't replicate the blockbuster success of Superunknown. After completing an American tour following Lollapalooza that was plagued by rumors of internal fighting, Soundgarden announced that they were breaking up on April 9, 1997, to pursue other interests.

During the late '90s and 2000s, each member kept very busy. Cornell released three solo albums, also recording and touring as Audioslave with former members of Rage Against the Machine. Cameron toured his Wellwater Conspiracy project, and also played and recorded with Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam. Thayil collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Cameron, Dave Grohl, Steve Fisk, and Boris. Meanwhile, Shepherd helped out with Wellwater Conspiracy, and also played and recorded with Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees. Finally, in 2010, the band announced a reunion with a few live shows during the summer (including that year's edition of Lollapalooza) which preceded a compilation, Telephantasm, in the fall. Telephantasm was initially available as a double-disc set on September 28, with a single-disc version appearing a week later (the single disc was also included via Guitar Hero on September 28). In 2011, Soundgarden released their first live album, Live on I-5, which featured material recorded during the band's supporting tour for Down on the Upside. All of this activity would be the prelude to Soundgarden's full-on return in 2012, when they released their sixth album, King Animal, in the fall of that year.

King Animal debuted at five on the Billboard Top 200 upon its November 2012 release and the band supported it throughout the next year with a tour. Matt Cameron took a hiatus from the band in November 2013 due to commitments with Pearl Jam; former Pearl Jam drummer Matt Chamberlain replaced him for live dates in 2014. That year, Soundgarden celebrated the 20th anniversary of Superunknown via the release of a five-disc Super Deluxe box set. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Superunknown (20th Anniversary Super Deluxe)

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4
Disc 5

Track List: Been Away Too Long (Single)


Track List: Black Rain (Radio Single)


Track List: Live To Rise (Single)


Track List: Storm (Single)


Track List: Twin Tower (Single)


Down On The Upside is my favorite album
Badmotorfing e r is still bar far one of the best albums I've ever heard!! Wish bands still had that kind of emotion but I guess we'll have to wait till the next generation of pissed off musicians roll around.
they don't make bands like this anymore!!! just awesome
Always liked everything Chris has done..I'd be happy to just sit & look @ him..somethi n g about him..
Hellof a lot of insireing makeing my journey feeling good and as real as i can get even spirtual inviteing THANKS
great when your drunk in the AM
One of the best grunge bands out there.
Phuckin Beautiful.. They kick azz.. Chris has one of the best voices!!!! Early stuff is still their best.
Love this music more than pop and hiphop
Miss the time of bands like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Great Era gone by.
Blow up the outside world love it
The last great era of real rock. The niche was carved out rather nicely. Since Napster killed thriving artist and put this art medium of music(on all levels) on its axis........ Corporatized plan to kill any real meaningful expression. Bringing about this conveyer belt of rubbish toxic products. A SHAME....... Then again, we are to blame. Free music and acid rain.
All my friends are brown & red
Love soundgarden so much love my cd still
@grunge.merm a i d 3 3 i LOVE the white stripes!! What about the strokes or interpol?
"Black Hole Sun" my youth stays lingering throughout the entire guitar solo.
love love love them!!!!!!! best band in the world!!!
I still listen to soundgarden frequently. They are by far one of my favorite bands of all time. I saw them during their return in 2013 and they've still got it!
I feel sorry for the kids in my school who have no idea what good music is... R.I.P music. Mötley Crüe is retiring, music is just slowly dying...
nathanrichle y
Sound Garden is the one listens to this anymore
@Siamese Dream- lol- Feel for ya buddy. That would drive me nuts. Can't believe I'm saying this but I'm glad I'm the age I am!! :-)
That moment when Soundgarden comes on the radio. And girl changes station to One Direction. :( faith in humanity lost. F**k my life no one else I know likes Soundgarden

Soundgarden will be touring again this coming February. So sweet to type those words never thot that would be possible ever! Never more glad to be wrong on something! \m/ \m/ PLEASE! Guys- dust off some gems this tour- Holy Water, Toy Box, Heretic, Girl You Want....PRET T Y PLEASE???!!! ! ! !
Great fricken music!!!!
I love this stuff, this was great music
nurvanafan. Out of the big 4 (soundgarden , alice in chains, pearl jam, and nirvana) Most grunge fans would say that nirvana was the worst of the 4. Sorry but its the truth the other 3 are far better especially alice in chains.
I allways Thot that Nirvana was like takeing the spot light and stuff but I was wrong soundgarden is still the top 10 bands from the 90's
Follow for follow {www.rodneyv a n c e t h e a r t i s t . c o m }
I given you everything .
Nothing seems to kill me no matter how I try...
Soundgarden made "Blackhole Sun" and ALL of their music awesome, notice the correct use of the homonym. There is no excuse for ignorance. Except I did f@$I up and post "Kobain instead of Cobain" but I was simply drawing his surname and first name. Love Soundgarden but STP still kicks a** and Pearl Jam is the best thing since Ringo, John, Paul, and the rest of that invasion. Love 90's alternative rock. Thanks again Messiah Cobain.
Follow for a follow
Alice in Chains and nirvana are the ones who made grunge what it is
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life.. However if you don't read this you will die in 2 days.. Now that you started reading this don't stop. This is so scary. Put this on 5 songs songs in the next 143 Minutes. When your done press F6 and your lovers name will pop up up in big letters trust me it works.
anyone else for the white stripes? i know this isnt them but....anyon e . . . ?
Now THIS is Rock! Whoa...Bring it on and bury me in it.
I love this f**kin song....I given everything.. . . i t didn't matter... Still dont...
It's like a phillips head into my brain
Join my clan in clash of clans
Im BrandonC. And im the leader of it
Maybe change yr profile from private or search for my username?
Love every soundgarden. My second dad made me a CD two months ago or back in September.
Happy 2015 rockers! Hope soundgarden will tour soon
Happy 2015 people keep rocking
They paved the way Cornell's vocals kicks a**
Love the band especially one of the guartist.
So unfair that I don't have twitter to followed soundgarden
Help us collecting the names of all band members in Pandora. If you know please comment here.
"Black hole sun!!" The video for this song blew our minds in the 90s. Simple graphics that came across as so sinister suited the song so perfectly.
Should tell my crush about soundgarden and more alternative bands
Hey jonsound 79how do I follow u? Outshine great song of all time the guartist dressed in blue is so cute in the music video although I am old enough to be his daughter
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