On Wednesday, May 17, Chris Cornell died in Detroit, where he played his last concert with Soundgarden, the band that helped start the alternative music revolution in the early 90s. Yesterday, it was revealed that his cause of death was suicide by hanging, though this morning, widow Vicky Cornell issued a statement blaming the death on anxiety medicine.
Cornell was one of the most dynamic frontmen in the history of rock. His voice was versatile, and he infused his work with a theatrical yet warm character. With Soundgarden, he could play heavy, complex music as well as more somber and contemplative compositions. After the band broke up in 1997, Cornell embarked on a solo career of melodic rock songs before forming the supergroup Audioslave with former members of Rage Against the Machine, achieving great commercial success in the early to mid-2000s. After Audioslave broke up, he again took the solo artist route, this time collaborating with Timbaland for an R&B album called Scream before reuniting with Soundgarden for a new album and more touring.
Cornell’s music had a deep impact on Latin American audiences. Songs like “Spoonman” and “Black Hole Sun” were staples of early 90s rock radio all over the world, and their videos were favorites of MTV Latino. Audioslave’s music resonated just as much and became part of many a cover band’s repertoire. Bands from Mexico to Argentina have taken inspiration in Cornell and collaborators’ riffs and soaring choruses for their own music, as well as celebrating the songs that made him one of the most consistent songwriters of his generation.
Chris Cornell visited many Latin American countries with his projects throughout the years. In the early 90s, Soundgarden played twice at famed Tijuana venue Iguanas, but it took the band’s reunion to yield a formal tour. They played in Mexico City’s Palacio De Los Deportes arena in 2013, as well as Perú’s Estadio Nacional and Lollapalooza editions in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil in 2014 for the 20th anniversary of their most successful album Superunknown. On the other hand, Audioslave just played two shows in the region, but at least one was historic, as they were the first American band to play an open air show in Cuba, more than a decade before The Rolling Stones visited the island. As a solo artist, Cornell made extensive visits to Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, and Mexico between 2007 and 2016.
Revisit some of those performances below.