Chris Cornell's 10 Best Songs

I remember in 1994 when Kurt Cobain died how unmoved I was, even as everyone on the radio that day acted like the musical world had come to an end. I remarked to somebody that day something to the effect of, "When Chris Cornell dies, I'll be this upset."

That day has arrived, and although I'm certainly not at that level of despair, I'm sad as one of my favorite rock vocalists and one of the best things to come out of the Seattle grunge scene has passed away. Chris Cornell was only 52 years old when he committed suicide just hours after a Soundgarden concert in Detroit.

Normally people put this statement at the end of articles about celebrities who have committed suicide, but I want to get this out right here at the top: If you're considering suicide, you're not alone, and you can receive help and hope. Please read these words from my friend Kira Davis (who has faced her own demons of depression), and click here to get help, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-275-8255 or text the organization at 741-741.

Cornell had an astounding four-octave vocal range, and he put it to use in so many different vehicles -- from the grunge of Soundgarden, to the bone-shaking rock of Audioslave to a spotty solo career and tons of guest appearances. He was a gifted songwriter, weaving intelligent lyrics with Biblical and literary references into rock poetry. Here are his ten best songs. Enjoy!

10. "I Am the Highway" (Audioslave, 2002)

When I first heard that Cornell was teaming up with most of Rage Against The Machine, I had a feeling that I wouldn't ever listen to them. RATM is one of the bands whose politics are so execrable to me that I won't listen to them. But a friend of mine played some of Audioslave's self-titled album, and I loved a couple of the songs.

"I Am The Highway" was one of those songs. The Biblical allusions and the storyline that suggests the Prodigal Son set the lyrics apart from the political storm I was expecting. The big, expansive sound was unlike most anything I had heard. And, of course, the icing on the cake is Cornell's vocals. This wouldn't be half the song it is with anyone else singing lead, and that speaks to the power of Cornell's voice.