It was two years ago on May 18th 2017 that the frontman of Soundgarden and Audioslave left us. Now they are asking NASA to honour his memory…
It has been twenty-five years already since Soundgarden, the famed grunge band from Seattle, came out with their ultimate masterpiece, their fourth album “Superunknown”.
And it’s been two years since that fateful May 18th 2017 when frontman Chris Cornell took his own life in a luxurious hotel in Detroit just a few hours after performing live in concert with his group. He would have turned 53 in July of the following year.
The shock and grief is still palpable among those who loved his music, so much so that last week, a bizarre petition was launched asking NASA to name the black hole (the famous Powhei) photographed for the first time on April 10th last after the Soundgarden frontman.
This is what Giuliana Jarrin, the fan who came up with the idea, wrote on the platform Change.org: “I ask NASA, the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration and all the astronomers and scientists involved in this discovery, to name this black hole after Chris Cornell. This would be a “surreal” and amazing way to honor his life and his contribution to music.”
In no time at all, Jarrin’s petition got over 50 thousand signatures. The required number for a peitition on Change.org to reach whoever it is addressed to.
Cornell, who in 1994 with Soundgarden recorded the iconic “Black Hole Sun” (on “Superunnknown”), is actually up against Albert Einstein – a subject who, given the scientific context, could be said to have a better claim to the prestigious space dedication.
Meanwhile NASA has kept quiet on the matter. Though it wouldn’t be the first time the academic world took inspiration from pop culture when naming asteroids, meterorites and other discoveries made in space.
As far as the artistic legacy of Chris Cornell is concerned, “Black Hole Sun” has definitely entered the collective imagination seeing as how the video (see below) is one of the most often played of all time on MTV. It won a Grammy in 1995 for “Best Hard Rock Performance” and still in 1994, occupied the number one position on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs charts for twenty-six weeks in a row.
In an interview he gave in 2014 to Rolling Stone, the Seattle frontman was deeply sceptical about the hugely successful ballad “Black Hole Sun”.
“At the time I wasn’t even sure that ‘Black Hole Sun’ was a song suited to Soundgarden. None of us were, me or my bandmates (guitarist Kim Thayil, bass-player Ben Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron, now playing with Pearl Jam., ed.). Then, when we had recorded it, we changed our minds. But we would never have imagined it would become such a hit single. The lyrics are surreal and esoteric besides the fact that they were written really fast”.
But what is “Black Hole Sun” actually about? Again Cornell explains: “It’s just flow of consciousness. I wasn’t trying to say anything in particular with that track.”.
But the public evidently saw it differently, and Chris – who, apart from Soundgarden was also the unforgettable voice behind Temple Of The Dog and Audioslave as well as a respected solo artist from the late 90s to 2012 – is still sorely missed and the rock scene has yet to get over his premature demise.