Chris Cornell, who rose to fame as the growling, wailing lead singer for grunge giants Soundgarden, is scheduled to release his first solo album in the next few months.
Cornell was Soundgarden's frontman since the beginning from the band's formation in Seattle in 1984 to its acrimonious split in 1997.
Cornell was born 35 years ago today in San Diego. He took guitar and piano lessons as a child. As a teen in Seattle, Cornell turned to hard drugs and became socially withdrawn (he later chronicled his mental state during this period in his songs). He dropped out of high school to become a cook and began playing drums in cover bands.
Cornell founded a group with his roommate, bassist Hiro Yamamoto, in 1984. He sang and occasionally played drums, and Yamamoto's friend, Kim Thayil, became their guitarist. The group called themselves Soundgarden after a pipe sculpture in a Seattle park.
When Scott Sundquist joined as drummer, Cornell concentrated on being the group's frontman. Matt Cameron replaced Sundquist in 1986. Soundgarden signed to the new indie label Sub Pop and issued the EPs Screaming Life (1987) and Fopp (1988).
Soundgarden signed to another indie, SST, for their debut LP, Ultramega OK (1988). In 1989 the group switched to major label A&M for Louder Than Love (1990), which earned the band a Grammy Award nomination.
MTV put the video for "Outshined," from 1991's Badmotorfinger, into heavy rotation. In addition, Soundgarden's opening slot on Guns n' Roses tour introduced the band to thousands more listeners.
In 1991 Cornell and Cameron took part in band Temple of the Dog with members of Pearl Jam. The project was a tribute to late Mother Love Bone vocalist Andrew Wood.
Soundgarden's increasing visibility culminated with Superunknown (1994), which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Soundgarden won two Grammys for the LP's "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman."
Soundgarden released Down on the Upside in 1996. It sold fairly well, but didn't match the triple-platinum success of its predecessor.
One year later, while still one of modern rock's most powerful ensembles, Soundgarden split reportedly because of arguments between bandmembers. The greatest-hits album A-Sides followed shortly after.
Cornell contributed "Sunshower" (RealAudio excerpt) to the soundtrack of the 1998 film "Great Expectations." He is in the process of completing work on his first solo album, which features members of Eleven. It is scheduled for release in September.
Other birthdays: Kim Carnes, 54; John Lodge (Moody Blues), 54; Carlos Santana, 52; Jay Jay French (Twisted Sister), 45; Michael Anthony (Van Halen), 44; Paul Cook (Sex Pistols), 43; Michael McNeil (Simple Minds), 41; Dig Wayne (JoBoxers), 37; Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam), 33; and Tobi Vail (Bikini Kill), 30.