On May 18th, Thursday morning , I woke up with a sore throat. A friend of mine sent me a text that the lead singer of the band, Soundgarden, Chris Cornell had died. He was 52 years old. I was shocked yet sadden by the news. It made me think about all of the musical greats that had passed away over the past year. Why are all of these musical legends dying in their fifties? I said to myself. Then I stopped and thought about the importance of how music plays a role in influencing my musical tastes and my life.
Like everyone else of my cultural background, I grew up listening to Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae and Dance hall music, Especially old Reggae records that my mother had. But listening to Hip Hop and R&B acts like TLC, Destiny’s Child, B2K, Tyrese, Aaliyah, Ashanti, Beyonce, Rihanna and Chris Brown was the mane of my existence. I never liked Gangsta Rap or Rap music, in general. But I did go along with my peers in ”liking” it for cool points. I listened to Hip Hop and music that resonated with my background and upbringing until I reached my teenage years.
How did I go from listening to Beyonce Knowles to listening to Led Zeppelin?
By the time I was sixteen, I was tired of listening to Hip Hop and R&B. I was more into artists like Katy Perry, Rihanna and Lady Gaga than the rappers. Even then, I got tired of listening to them too. I didn’t like the newer Rap artists that were coming out so I started listening to the Rock band, Queen. I had always liked Rock music, but I never enthusiastically listened to Rock music unless it was commercialized band like Green Day. Then, I confided in a classmate about my dissent for the current day music scene and Rap music. He decided to introduce me to Led Zeppelin after he played the opening to Kashmir in my ear. Instantly, I was hooked. I went home that day and looked up Kashmir on Youtube. From there on out, I listened to more of Led Zeppelin‘s music and became a fan of theirs. I got into Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, The Doors, Iron Maiden, Guns n Roses, Nirvana, Beatles and many other bands, but Led Zeppelin stuck out to me. Their mystic and music always drew me and kept me interested in them. To this day, I still listen to Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Metal with some R&B and oldies thrown in the mix.
What does my musical tastes have to do with Chris Cornell’s death?
Around late 2016, I found myself listening to and getting into Soundgarten’s music. I was also impressed with Chris Cornell’s solo works especially Audio Slave. Much of the lyrics of the music was spoke to my inner conscious and made me think about what I went through in my life. But I never knew that Chris Cornell’s death would also play a role in my inner conscious as much as his music would. Or that his last performance on stage was connected with one of my favorite bands, Led Zeppelin.
A video of his last performance showed him performing the Led Zeppelin songs, In My Time of Dying. Interestingly enough, I had played the same exact song the same day. When I did my research, I realized that Chris Cornell, like many other fans of Rock music, were fans of Led Zeppelin‘s music. In fact, I realize that many Hard Rock, Metal and Grunge acts (like Soundgarten) were influenced by early Rock n Roll pioneers like Led Zeppelin. Without the likes of these pioneers, Soundgarten and Chris Cornell wouldn’t be the influential Grunge Rock act that they are seen as today. In other words, Led Zeppelin paved the way for many other Rock bands to come and mark their mark in history.
Here is a video of Chris Cornell’s last performance. Towards the end of it, you will see him performing In My Time of Dying
Currently, there is investigation being done about what caused his death. His funeral will be held at a private service on Friday. Hopefully, his family and friends are comforted in this sad and confusing time while his fans remember him for his musical talent and dedication to his craft. Losing a musical great like Chris Cornell cuts music lovers like me to the core, but I do hope he is at peace wherever he is.