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Who was Chris Cornell?

Christopher John Boyle was born on 20 July 1964 and was a musician, singer and songwriter best known as the lead singer for the American rock groups Soundgarden and Audioslave, and the establisher of Temple of the Dog, a band dedicated to his late friend Andrew Wood. Cornell was additionally known for a number of his solo projects and soundtrack contributions. He passed away in 2017

Net Worth

So just how rich was Chris Cornell? According to authoritative sources, this musician had a net worth of $60 million, accumulated from his over three decades long career in the mentioned field, particularly from releasing “Screaming Life” and “Fopp” among others songs.

Early Life

Cornell was born in Seattle, Washington, where he spent his formative years. His parents were of Irish-Catholic and  Jewish ancestry, and he additionally described both of them as alcoholics. He was the middle child with three younger sisters and two older brothers. Speaking about his education, he was a student of Christ the King Catholic elementary school, and during his time there, performed in front of an audience for the very first time, singing the anti-war song entitled “One Tin Soldier.” He was afterwards a student of Shorewood High School, but was pulled out of the school in seventh grade, basically for questioning the catholic faith.


The band named Soundgarden was established in 1984 by Cornell, Yamamoto and Thayil, who was initially working on drums and vocals. In 1985, the group was joined by Scott Sundquist as the drummer, in order to let Cornell completely focus on his vocal abilities. The band’s initial recordings were three tunes that were part of the compilation named “Deep Six”. Sund quist left in 1986 to spend more time with his family, replaced by Matt Cameron, after which the band signed a deal with Sub Pop, releasing the “Screaming Life” EP in 1987 and the “Fopp” EP in the following year. Even though the group was being approached by important labels, they signed to SST Records, an independent label, in 1988, and launched their debut album under the title “Ultramega OK”, for which they attained a Grammy Award nomination in the category of Best Metal Performance in 1990. Soundgarden subsequently signed a deal with A&M Records, actually the very first grunge band to sign a deal with a major label, and alongside Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains, Soundgarden quickly evolved into one of the most successful groups from Seattle’s grunge scene during the early ‘90s.

Solo Career

In 1998, Cornell started working on content for a solo album made in collaboration with Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider. The album, which was ultimately entitled “Euphoria Morning”, was released in late September 1999, featuring “Wave Goodbye”, an homage to Chris’ late friend, Jeff Buckley, and following which Chris went on a tour, which attracted  high attendances, with Cornell supported by musicians such as Alain Johannes, Rick Makmann and Natasha Shneider. However, his album didn’t live up to the expectations, selling less than 400,000 copies in the US, however, the single “Can’t Change Me” ended up being nominated for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance at the 2000 Grammy Awards, and the singer subsequently recorded the French version of the song.

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The band Audioslave was created after Zack de la Rocha quit Rage Against the Machine and the rest of the members were looking for a singer. Rick Rubin, producer and friend, recommended that they contact Cornell, who was in the process of creating a second solo album, but decided to leave that project aside and work with Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk. Additionally, Morello spoke about Chris, stating “He stepped to the microphone and sang the song, and I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t just sound good. It didn’t sound great. It sounded transcendent.” The established quartet compiled 21 songs over the course of 19 days of rehearsal and began studio work in May 2011, and in November of the following year, they released their debut album entitled “Audioslave”, which was consisted of 14 songs such as “Cochise”, “Show Me How To Live” and “What You Are”. The album actually became the most band’s most successful, earning gold certification from the RIAA.

Temple of the Dog and Soundtrack Contributions

Besides being a member of the aforementioned bands, Cornell was also a part of Temple of the Dog, with whom he released the self entitled album, consisted of 10 tracks such as “Say Hello to Heaven”, “Hunger Strike” and “Pushin Forward Back”. The band held its first tour in 2016, celebrating their 25th anniversary. Chris’ music could also be heard on soundtracks for movies such as “Great Expectations” and “Mission: Impossible 2”, as well as on “Casino Royale”, and his song entitled “You Know My Name” was rewarded with a 2006 Satellite Award for Best Original Song.

Private Life and Social Media

In 1990, after five years of dating Cornell married Susan Silver, the manager of Alice in Chains and his band, Soundgarden. The couple had one child, a daughter named Lillian Jean, born in 2000, but four years later they separated, and during the same year Chris he married Vicky Karayiannia, a publicist. In late December 2008, the singer revealed that he won back the collection of 15 guitars, after a court battle with his ex-wife. Cornell was active on social media such as Twitter, attracting a following of almost two million people.


In May 2017, the singer was found unconscious in the bathroom of the hotel room he was staying in. Initially, his death was ruled out as homicide, however, as the surveillance video showed nobody entering his room, Cornell’s death was eventually proclaimed suicide by hanging. He was 52 when he died.

Source: Biography Tribune

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