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Chris Cornell’s 12 Most Amazing Vocal Performances

Updated July 20, 2018 2.6k votes 463 voters 8k views12 items

List RulesVote up the most amazing Chris Cornell performance.

Chris Cornell, one of rock's most iconic vocalists, took his own life on May 18th, 2017 in his hotel room in Detroit following a Soundgarden show. The legendary frontman left a legacy of incredible songs, years of success in several bands, and most importantly, his iconic voice.

Some of Cornell's most amazing vocal performances feature his signature range, which stretches from a rich low register to soaring high notes sung with force and intensity. At other points in his career, Cornell's greatest vocal work was highlighted by more understated singing that showed off just how versatile he was.

Let's take a look at some of the most incredible vocals from the legendary Chris Cornell. 

  • 1

    "Outshined" (1991)

    Video: YouTube

    "Outshined" is a beloved song in the Soundgarden catalog, and featured the band performing a complex composition with challenging vocals from Cornell. The song's odd time signature finds Cornell weaving his vocals throughout the guitar riffs in interesting ways, making it one of the band's most intelligent compositions.

    Following Cornell's death, Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine performed a cover of the song in tribute to his friend.

    "Now, I don't sing like Chris, I could never sing like Chris, but we're gonna sing a song right now. And if you know the words, sing with me. If you don't know the words, then just make noise," he said prior to his cover. 

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  • 2

    "Hunger Strike" (1992)

    Video: YouTube

    One of his most memorable performances, "Hunger Strike" was a duet between Cornell and a then-unknown Eddie Vedder in the supergroup Temple Of The Dog. It was notably Vedder's first time on a record, but Cornell's vocals stand out for their intensity and, of course, the iconic high note he hits in the chorus.

    The song was performed by Cornell and the members of Pearl Jam over the course of many years and with several different projects. It was last performed by Cornell when he reunited with his Temple bandmates for a reunion tour in 2016. 

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  • 3

    "Burden In My Hand" (1996)

    Video: YouTube

    1996's "Burden In My Hand" is a classic cut from the Soundgarden catalog, with a slightly bluesy and upbeat composition that might not sound like a typical Soundgarden song at first - until Cornell's high register kicks in. It's a brilliant Led Zeppelin-esque song that was slightly new territory for the band at the time. 

    "Kill your health and kill yourself / And kill everything you love," Cornell sings, pushing his voice to the point of screaming without overdoing it. "Burden" is a great example of both Soundgarden's versatility and Cornell's versatile vocal abilities. 

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  • 4

    "Show Me How To Live" (2002)

    Video: YouTube

    "Show Me How To Live" not only features Cornell's signature intense vocal range, but also finds him achieving a strange effect with his voice. At the end of the song on the studio recording, he weaves between several notes and hits his throat at the same time for a bizarre effect that makes his voice sound almost computer manipulated. 

    The effect, as one review noted, is similar in style to the vocals of legendary Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The moment makes "Show Me How To Live" a particularly unique part of Cornell's vocal legacy. 

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