Chris Cornell

On May 18, 2017, Chris Cornell suddenly passed away after a Soundgarden show at the Fox Theater in Detroit.

One of grunge's forefathers, the rocker was blessed with a towering four-octave range that perfectly encapsulated the dueling sounds of the 1980s grunge movement: screeching veracity mixed with moments of tenderness.

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MUSIC

Remember when Chris Cornell made the greatest album of all time with Timbaland?

The story of Scream, Cornell's flat-out baller album of bangers

"I knew it was gonna be a masterpiece soon as I heard [Cornell's] first words over my track" – Timbaland

Like you, I woke up yesterday to the tragic news that yet another pillar of the grunge-cum-classic rock generation passed away. Vast chasms of the world blasted "Black Hole Sun" in requiem. Other, niftier corners put on some of the cooler, more SST-material of his most famous band's career. The good people at once-peerless tastemaker Pitchfork talked up his later work in Audioslave, a band they used to make fun of. But you know what nobody was talking up? Scream, Chris Cornell's third album as a solo artist and, most notably, produced and co-written with Timbaland, one of the two or three producers entirely responsible for the sound of the last decade. How did such a masterpiece take form?

By 2009, Timbaland's decadewas almost over. Missy Elliot, Timbaland's original muse, was branching out, telling journalists in 2005 that "Both of us came to a spot where we didn't know where to go with each other." Timbaland's beats were barely present on The Cookbook and Missy Elliot hasn't recorded another album since. In her stead, Timbaland recorded FutureSex/LoveSounds, the album that made JT a serious pop star. Basking in that success, JT turned away from music and began repeatedly hosting Saturday Night Live. Timbaland was still making mad crooked beats but who was going to sing them? Madonna? Bjork? Duran Duran? All respect to the boys who made "Hungry Like the Wolf," but these were all people who just wanted to add that Timbaland "Get Ur Freak On"-touch to their well-established sound. What Timbaland needed was somebody who wasn't fronting. Somebody who was willing to dive in the deep end of Mosley's funky grooves, somebody who knew there was some untapped soul sitting at the bottom of that sea.

Cornell, on the other hand, had just broken up Audioslave, the arena-playing supergroup consisting of him and everybody from Rage Against the Machine who wasn't Zack de la Rocha. At the time, he told Rolling Stone, "there's a lot I want to do and I don't want to juggle that with a band." The solo album that followed, Carry On, was a curious affair. Written off by critics as a soft-spoken go at Dylan territory and mostly remembered for the Casino Royale-theme song packed at the end, it also included such stuff as an earnest go at MJ's range (covering, what else, but "Billie Jean"). There was soul shimmering underneath the hammy guitar solos and clapped-on prog drumming. Cornell just needed someone to get it out.

A lifelong rockstar, Cornell was drawn to Timbaland precisely because of how important a hiphop producer, particularly one of Mosley's caliber, has in crafting a sound. "He's somebody who's also a musical genius and a songwriter," Cornell told MTV, "[He] comes in with actual musical ideas." At first, Cornell had the same idea as many—give the weirder elements of Carry On a funky touch, tune down the rock band. Timbaland refused: original material or nothing. Scream was written and recorded in six weeks. There's like one feature and it's JT.

"That bitch ain't a part of me, no that bitch ain't a part of me," Cornell emphasized on "Part of Me." In the emotional space of the jilted lover motif, Cornell discovers the trance-like allure of dancefloor bangers. In the music video, which features a Method Man-cameo, Cornell sits and watches people dance in San Jaun, EL Paso and Queens.

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Chris Cornell, singer and guitarist of the Soundgarden group and then a member of Audioslave , died in Detroit rock city on Wednesday , May 17. The sudden and yet unexplained death was announced by his agent Brian Bumbery at the AP news agency.

Only days ago, on May 16, Chris Cornell tweeted pictures of his second-last concert in Kansas City. His final public appearance was on stage the very next day.

Chris became a rockstar in 1994 with Soundgarden's explosive hit "Black Hole Sun." In 2001 he formed Audioslave which released 3 grammy award-winning studio albums and was the first American group to ever play outdoors in Cuba. Soundgarden reformed in 2010 and was touring at the time of Cornell's death.

Chris is remembered by his wife, 2 daughters and 1 son.