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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. Kingdom Of Come

8. Swallow My Pride

9. Fopp

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: Storm (Single)

18. Storm

x

Track List: Twin Tower (Single)

1. Twin Tower

Comments

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Mmmm mmmm Chris Cornell. ...such a brilliant musician and extremely easy on the eyes
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This song kicks so much a**!
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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!
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Thanks Pandora for playing a song i haven't heard in a while. Slaves and Bulldozers Rocks... Love this Band!
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Post-Punk prog-metal fusion...
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So what exactly is Grunge? Rock, metal or a hybrid.
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I know deuce
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Post ducking awesome
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RABBITS TUNE LET ME OUT OFthis rusty cage
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Heard Spoonman a million times and liked it, but give me one listen to Zero Chance and that's all i'd need.
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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
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The melody man
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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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Absolutely Love this band...Chris Cornell is an inspiration truly talented....
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❤❤❤❤❤
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Just the sound of Chris Cornell's voice conjures up a huge range of emotions! All good:))
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I like Soundgarden but not really into Audioslave. Probably cause I heard that song b**ch and moan to many times.
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Thank you.
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Just a little bit of sympathy.
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We need more groups like sound garden and less like Mumford and sons. Wtf has happened to the music industry?
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Yeah, they've been slacking ....I like your comments Craig.H!
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Come on Pandora; play me some of their old stuff. You know, back before Badmotorfing e r .
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Fkn Aye
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stop by:

david... radio
50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s~
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Always dig music that blends punk and hard rock influences. What a great era to be alive during the 90's!
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so now you know.turn it up
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Chris Cornell's song wrighting is super sick and his. Voice is awesome this from OG METALHEAD
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Chris Cornell's song writing is
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love it
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Seize The Day......!!! ! ! ! X x x O o o o o
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Ziggy star dust great man live always put on a hey of a show later BOWIE R.I.P.
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Fell On Black Days....
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First album changes lives yeah f**king hell yeah
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R.I.P. - David Bowie 1947-2016
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Rusty Cage is my favorite!
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Rusty Cage is classic..
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Soundgarden vs. Tool - I'd have to go with Soundgardent . Thoughts anyone?
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skateforlife 7 8 8
Soundgarden is amazing
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Love Soundgarden! ! !
Ultra mega UK still one of my favorites!��
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This take me back way back to the 90s my god those where the dayz!!!!!
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Soundgarden is a great tween band. Not too heavy, not too soft. Definite niche for this even many years later.
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Saw Soundgarden when I lived in Seattle. They were great.
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Love johnny cash Version of rusty cage
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I first seen soundgarden open for skid row there release of badmotorfing e r . Which is there best album. Bassist played with ear up against speaker jamming. Moshed at the Aragon brawl room in Chicago was hooked ever since. Im glad ppl still listen but superunkown is a radio album all the best work is b4 1991
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emdietz1
What a poorly written bio...
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Chris cornell is a god the things I'd like to do to him .that voice is beyond awesome
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write me
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patrick doll 1063839 ada county jail about to do 3 years in prison love this station
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I'm sure you hear this all the time. I hope that you will get how F**KING GREAT YALL ARE STRAIGHT FROM THE SOUTH #!!!!
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