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Soundgarden

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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Echo Of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path

Disc 1

1. Sub Pop Rock City

2. Toy Box

3. Heretic

4. Fresh Deadly Roses

5. H.I.V. Baby

6. Cold B**ch

7. Show Me

8. She's A Politician

9. Birth Ritual

10. She Likes Surprises

11. Kyle Petty, Son Of Richard

12. Exit Stonehenge

13. Blind Dogs

14. Bleed Together

15. Black Rain

16. Live To Rise

17. Kristi

18. Storm

Disc 2

1. Swallow My Pride

2. Smokestack LightninE

3. Everybody's Got Something To Hide (Except Me And My Monkey) (John Peel BBC Sessions)

4. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)

5. Come Together

6. Stray Cat Blues

7. Into The Void (Sealth)

8. Girl U Want

9. Touch Me [Feat. Stephanie Barber]

10. Can You See Me? (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)

11. Homicidal Suicidal (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)

12. I Can't Give You Anything (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)

13. I Don't Care About You (Friday Rock Show BBC Sessions)

14. Waiting For The Sun (Live)

15. Search And Destroy (Live)

16. Big Bottom (Live)

17. Earache My Eye (Live)

Disc 3

1. Twin Tower

2. Jerry Garcia's Finger

3. Ghostmotorfinger

4. Night Surf

5. A Splice Of Space Jam

6. The Telephantasm

7. Black Days III

8. Karaoke

9. Fopp (F**ked Up Heavy Dub Mix)

10. Big Dumb Sex (Dub Version)

11. Spoonman (Steve Fisk Remix)

12. Rhinosaur (The Straw That Broke The RhinoEs Back Remix)

13. Dusty (Moby Remix)

14. The Telephantasm (Resurrection Remix)

15. One Minute Of Silence

x

Track List: King Animal

1. Been Away Too Long

2. Non-State Actor

3. By Crooked Steps

4. A Thousand Days Before

5. Blood On The Valley Floor

6. Bones Of Birds

7. Taree

8. Attrition

9. Black Saturday

10. Halfway There

11. Worse Dreams

12. Eyelid's Mouth

13. Rowing

14. Worse Dreams (Demo)

15. Black Saturday (Demo)

16. By Crooked Steps (Demo)

x

Track List: Down On The Upside

1. Pretty Noose

2. Rhinosaur

3. Zero Chance

4. Dusty

5. Ty Cobb

6. Blow Up The Outside World

7. Burden In My Hand

8. Never Named

9. Applebite

10. Never The Machine Forever

11. Tighter & Tighter

12. No Attention

13. Switch Opens

14. Overfloater

15. An Unkind

16. Boot Camp

x

Track List: Superunknown

1. Let Me Drown

2. My Wave

3. Fell On Black Days

4. Mailman

5. Superunknown

6. Head Down

7. Black Hole Sun

8. Spoonman

9. Limo Wreck

10. The Day I Tried To Live

11. Kickstand

12. Fresh Tendrils

13. 4th Of July

14. Half

15. Like Suicide

x

Track List: Superunknown (20th Anniversary Super Deluxe)

Disc 1

1. Let Me Drown

2. My Wave

3. Fell On Black Days

4. Mailman

5. Superunknown

6. Head Down

7. Black Hole Sun

8. Spoonman

9. Limo Wreck

10. The Day I Tried To Live

11. Kickstand

12. Fresh Tendrils

13. 4th Of July

14. Half

15. Like Suicide

16. She Likes Surprises

Disc 2

1. The Day I Tried To Live (Alternate Mix)

2. Spoonman (Alternate Steve Fisk Remix)

3. Beyond The Wheel (Live At Exibition Stadium, Toronto 1993)

4. Fell On Black Days (Live At Pine Knob Music Theater, Clarkston, MI 1993)

5. Birth Ritual (Demo Version)

6. Jesus Christ Pose (Live At Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD 1993)

7. Like Suicide (Acoustic Version)

8. Kickstand (Live At Jones Beach Amphitheatre, Wantagh, NY 1993)

9. My Wave (Live At Jones Beach Amphitheatre, Wantagh, NY 1993)

10. Spoonman (Steve Fisk Remix)

11. Exit Stonehenge

12. Kyle Petty, Son Of Richard

13. Black Days III

14. Ghostmotorfinger

15. Jerry Garcia's Finger

16. Fell On Black Days (Video Version)

Disc 3

1. Let Me Drown (Demo Version)

2. Fell On Black Days (Demo Version)

3. Superunknown

4. Black Hole Sun

5. Spoonman (Demo Version)

6. Fresh Tendrils (Demo Version)

7. 4th Of July (Demo Version)

8. Half (Demo Version)

9. Like Suicide (Demo Version)

Disc 4

1. Black Hole Sun

2. Bing Bing Goes To Church (Rehearsal Version)

3. Half (Instrumentally) (Rehearsal Version)

4. Head Down (Rehearsal Version)

5. Kyle Petty, Son Of Richard (Rehearsal Version)

6. Let Me Drown (Rehearsal Version)

7. Limo Wreck (Rehearsal Version)

8. My Wave (Rehearsal Version)

9. Fresh Tendrils (Rehearsal Version)

10. Like Suicide (Rehearsal Version)

11. Ruff Riff-Raff (Rehearsal Version)

12. Spoonman (Rehearsal Version)

13. The Date I Tried To Leave (Rehearsal Version)

14. The Day I Tried To Live (Rehearsal Version)

Disc 5
x

Track List: Badmotorfinger

1. Rusty Cage

2. Outshined

3. Slaves & Bulldozers

4. Jesus Christ Pose

5. Face Pollution

6. Somewhere

7. Searching With My Good Eye Closed

8. Room A Thousand Years Wide

9. Mind Riot

10. Drawing Flies

11. Holy Water

12. New Damage

x

Track List: Screaming Life/Fopp

1. Hunted Down

2. Entering

3. Tears To Forget

4. Nothing To Say

5. Little Joe

6. Hand Of God

7. Sub Pop Rock City

8. Fopp

9. Fopp (F**ked Up Heavy Dub Mix)

10. Kingdom Of Come

11. Swallow My Pride

x

Track List: Louder Than Love

1. Ugly Truth

2. Hands All Over

3. Gun

4. Power Trip

5. Get On The Snake

6. Full On Kevin's Mom

7. Loud Love

8. I Awake

9. No Wrong No Right

10. Uncovered

11. Big Dumb Sex

12. Full On (Reprise)

x

Track List: Been Away Too Long (Single)

1. Been Away Too Long

x

Track List: Black Rain (Radio Single)

1. Black Rain

x

Track List: Live To Rise (Single)

1. Live To Rise

x

Track List: Spoonman (Remix By Steve Aoki) (Single)

1. Spoonman (Remix By Steve Aoki)

x

Track List: Storm (Single)

18. Storm

x

Track List: Twin Tower (Single)

1. Twin Tower

Comments

Report as inappropriate
I love how Christians are somehow offended by Soundgarden. lol. What a preposterous group of dolts. Get the sand out and GFY.
Report as inappropriate
justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
Rock God, yeah right. I sometimes think Satan is up there singing in Chris Cornell's underwear and the the whole body of his is really a devil's that was found somewhere in Modoc.
Report as inappropriate
Cornell is my favorite singer and he absolutely kicks a** in this song!
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Awful
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Always takes me back to my teenage days. I love these guys. He was amazing in Audioslave. Saw them live, so good.
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CHRIS CORNELL!! ANOTHER ROCK GOD!!!
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
Whatever��
Report as inappropriate
wek31
Black Rain Cry On!
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
Yankovic has a great sense of humor that Cornell does not.
Report as inappropriate
@jeff-laura. s m i t h ....coming from a yankovick listener? Ahh opinions! Cornell blasts... Forever will.
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
Thanks��For letting me know I'll make sure to take that off of there. Trust me I hate Manson. I was only curious to what it sounded like. It sounds terrible. Thanks though.
Report as inappropriate
Jeff Laura, when you said Soundgarden sounds like a horror flick, why are you listening to Marilyn Manson on your profile?
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jeff-laura.s m i t h
Chris is no talent. He doesn't sing he is hell yeller.
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jeff-laura.s m i t h
Chris Cornell is a joke!!!��!!!
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jeff-laura.s m i t h
Sardonicly
Report as inappropriate
Chris is the best vocalist
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jeff-laura.s m i t h
I'm not the music just sounds terrible ok. Black Hole Sun and Hunted Down. Both sound like horror flix.
Report as inappropriate
Jeff laura...try not to hate!
Report as inappropriate
Ur stupid
Report as inappropriate
Seth Colter is an IDIOT
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
Holy Water is a stupid song. NOT OF GOD!!,
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
Christianity teaches love NOT drugs.
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
What is this Superunkown. A Monster or something?
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
Your very rude and offensive Indy.
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
Winnie the Pooh says "Don't bother!"
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
����Whatever you say. If you think this Great music think again. Religion aint crap. It keeps us away from doing evil. The problem is drugs. It wasn't Chris Cornell that is bad it was the first time he shot up heroin that made him this way. He is a terrible musician. Drugs chose us when we chose them. Its a total mess of the mind that makes us think this is great music. Get off drugs and find out. How's that.
Report as inappropriate
The song Holy Water kicks butt! I love it when people get it! Religion is a bunch of crap... mans ideas are speculations . . . W h a t matters is a deep relationship with our creator. A Creator who just is... THE GREAT I AM... ROCK ON CHRIS CORNELL!!!!! !
Report as inappropriate
Jeff your a goofball...C h r i s Cornell is a born again believer in Christ listen to the lyrics of Audioslave.. . what's you point anyway...you don't like his music and you think he's a demon?
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
Chris Cornell from Hell. Hee hee. Nice pun. Fits perfectly for a man that looks like a total zombie. Wouldn't be surprised it this man touches boobs.
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
Dope what? This is a horrible band period! New or old. The worst ever
I have heard. Can't believe they even hold concerts. ��Satanic!!!
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
Terrible Music!
Report as inappropriate
This is another dope a** band I didn't like when they were new.
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jeff-laura.s m i t h
Ha �� Still. Sounds like horror music.
Report as inappropriate
Despite how much popularity Soundgarden has, I still think they are underrated.
Report as inappropriate
jeff-laura.s m i t h
This music sounds evil!!!!! If you listened to Superunkown. I honestly don't listen to this music but one day I decided to give it a try. The music sounds terrible and often reminds me of hell (if you believe in it). This is music to be avoided.
Report as inappropriate
Mmmm mmmm Chris Cornell. ...such a brilliant musician and extremely easy on the eyes
Report as inappropriate
This song kicks so much a**!
Report as inappropriate
1 of PEARL JAMS BRST
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Don't worry about what its called just ROCK ON Man... Just kidding don't know the difference between all those genere, but in my opinion they all ROCK!
Report as inappropriate
Thanks Pandora for playing a song i haven't heard in a while. Slaves and Bulldozers Rocks... Love this Band!
Report as inappropriate
Post-Punk prog-metal fusion...
Report as inappropriate
So what exactly is Grunge? Rock, metal or a hybrid.
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I know deuce
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Post ducking awesome
Report as inappropriate
RABBITS TUNE LET ME OUT OFthis rusty cage
Report as inappropriate
Heard Spoonman a million times and liked it, but give me one listen to Zero Chance and that's all i'd need.
Report as inappropriate
Listened to this at Lollapalooza -with War,Soundgar d e n , M e t a l i c a , C a n d l e Box and Aliceinchain s wish wish
Report as inappropriate
The melody man
Report as inappropriate
My two favorite Soundgarden songs: Entering (one of their of their earliest songs; so totally Goth that it begins with the drum intro from Bela Lugosi's Dead), and Jesus Christ Pose from the heyday of Grunge). Hard to believe it's the same band!
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