Five months after their break-up, Seattle's Soundgarden
will release their first career-spanning greatest hits album, A-Sides
(Nov. 4), which will also contain one previously unreleased song, "Bleed
Together," from 1996's Down on the Upside sessions.
The singles collection from the pioneering grunge/metal band, which broke up in
April of this year, spans the group's singles from "Nothing To Say," taken off
their debut 1987 Sub Pop EP Screaming Life, to "Blow Up The Outside
World" from their final studio album, 1996's Down on the Upside. "Bleed
Together" will be the first single from the 17-track collection.
Also included are songs from their 1989 major-label debut on A&M Records,
Louder Than Love ("Hands All Over," "Loud Love" and "Get on the Snake")
as well as tracks from from 1991's Badmotorfinger ("Jesus Christ Pose,"
"Outshined" and "Rusty Cage"). "Rusty Cage" was later covered by country legend
Johnny Cash on his 1996 album Unchained.
The band's most fruitful period is represented by several songs from 1994's
breakthrough album, Superunknown (including the mega-hit "Black Hole
Sun," "Day I Tried to Live," "Spoonman" and "Fell On Black Days") and four
tracks from Down on the Upside ("Pretty Noose," "Burden In My Hand,"
"Blow Up The Outside World" and "Ty Cobb").
Documenting the band's early years on SST records is the song "Flower" off
1988's Ultramega OK.
Soundgarden were one of the first bands signed to the influential Sub Pop label,
early home to Nirvana, Tad and Green River, as well as one of the original
metal/punk hybrid acts from what would become the Seattle grunge scene of the
late '80s and early '90s.
Fronted by singer Chris Cornell and anchored by the aggressive guitar work of
Kim Thayil, the group formed in 1984 with an original line-up that included
bassist Hiro Yamamoto and singer Cornell on drums (soon replaced on drums by
After their debut EP on Sub Pop, 1987's searing Screaming Life,
Soundgarden followed with another EP, 1988's Fopp, after which they
became one of the first grunge bands to sign to a major label. Their
over-the-top, '70s-rock-inspired sound garnered a Best Metal Performance
Grammy in 1990 for Louder Than Love.
New bassist Ben Shepard joined the clan for 1991's Badmotorfinger, the
album that set the group up for their breakthrough, 1994's Superunknown.
That album debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, bagged them two more
Grammys and gave birth to their biggest hit to date, "Black Hole Sun," as well
as the radio tracks "Spoonman" and "Fell On Black Days."
Soundgarden surprised fans earlier this year by announcing their break-up. It
came two months after an announcement the band would be taking the summer off
from touring, the first time they'd done so since 1988, reportedly to work on
new material, although rumors of a possible break had already begun to surface.
The last date of their 1996/1997 tour, a Feb. 9, 1997 show at the Blaisdell
Arena in Honolulu, was their last live gig. Soundgarden's albums have sold
more than 20 million copies. -- Gil Kaufman
[Wed., Sept. 24, 1997, 3:30 p.m. PDT]