There have been a few times in my life that rock music entered new and in my view good phases. I grew up in what felt like a golden age of rock. Acts such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who, Elton John, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Queen, R.E.O Speedwagon, and Jethro Tull put out a lot of great albums in the early 1970s. Led Zeppelin IV, Houses of the Holy, Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Who’s Next, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Madman Across The Water, Trilogy, Brain Salad Surgery, A Night At The Opera, R.E.O. T.W.O, Aqualung, and Thick As A Brick all came from this era.
Then came disco and a lamentable half decade punctuated by exceptions such as The Wall, and Van Halen. I remember rejoicing the first time I heard Van Halen, because it was so different from what passed for rock at the time. Even Kiss put out songs like “Beth.” The hair band era followed, and while it had its moments, something was missing for me. (Yes, I’m skipping over some good rock music, fans of fill-in-the-blank.)
That something was fixed in the early 90s with the Seattle sound. Among others, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden filled the void with music that felt not only new but also timeless. Perhaps it was hometown pride, but I’d like to think others of my vintage felt the same way. Today we are hearing Chris Cornell in all his iterations as a solo act and with Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, and Audioslave. Recently he’s branched out into beautiful solos such as “The Promise” and collaborations with seemingly poor fits like the Zac Brown Band, and made it work. (Skip ahead to 2:50 if you want to see the meat of it.)
I tend to crank the volume when driving alone. Superunknown got me through the mountains several times, and the highest volume was reserved for“My Wave.”
Based on last year’s interview on KISW’s The Mens Room, he was outwardly in a good place.
He made rock radio a good place. A timeless place.