May 18th, 2017. A sad day for music fans everywhere. Chris Cornell died and left this world, but lucky for us, he left a tremendous music legacy. For the first time, a collection has been released that is a wonderful retrospective view of his entire career.
The 4CD set (64 Tracks) takes you on a remarkable journey through the life of Chris Cornell starting with his early days of Soundgarden from as early as 1987 through to his work with Audioslave and his solo output with one brand new track that had never previously been released. There are also 10 unreleased live tracks with some outstanding performances from throughout his career.
The first CD is basically a greatest hits collection of Soundgarden tracks with the exception of two songs from Temple of the Dog and one solo track The collection spans the late 80’s and the 90’s.
When listening to this disc, I realized two things. One, I had never truly explored Soundgarden. I have their A-Sides collection on vinyl, but nothing really more than that. Two, their early stuff was simply amazing. “Hunting Down” and then into “Kingdom of Come” were so fresh and for 1987/88 were nothing like anything I was listening to at the time. “All Your Lies” was also something that took my breath away. Kim Thayall is a freaking beast on guitar. I have competely been missing out on this band. My mistake. What was also nice is that they added two songs from Temple of Dog and both are what you would expect to be here and would have been lacking without.
Now I didn’t really become a fan of Cornell’s until his work with Audioslave and his solo work. So, this was the draw to the collection for me originally. These songs cover the late 90’s and the 00’s.
The Audioslave songs are fantastic even if a little typical, meaning they are what I would have expected to be on a greatest hits set. It would have been nice with a few more or even some deeper cuts. The solo stuff is also great and has one of my favorites of his “Can’t Change Me”. The “Ave Maria” track was a nice add as it is only on ‘A Very Special Christmas’ compilation. That is one great thing with the set as they do bring in songs he did with other people that weren’t on his own albums. Another reason that makes this set so nice.
Disc three takes from the late 00’s right up to the brand new song, “When Bad Goes Good” released for this package. There are a few live tracks on this disc as well. This one could be my favorite of the three,
The first song is “Promise” that he did with Slash and then it kicks into one of the best versions of the Led Zeppelin classic “Whole Lotta Love” I think I have heard. It is Chris and Carlos Santana. It freakin’ smokes. There are a couple more Soundgarden songs from the later years and the song “Misery Chain” with Joy Williams that was on the soundtrack to ’12 Years a Slave’, really great song.
The previously unreleased song is an unexpected treat. I hope there are more undiscovered songs out there because this one was so good and hard to believe never released. The opening organ and all the instruments were done by Chris and is a brilliant reminder of his utter talent and then a sad reminder of what we have lost.
Now for the real fans of Chris Cornell, you get disc four which has 10 previously unreleased live tracks. This is the collectors wet dream right here (maybe a slight exaggeration). These songs range from over his entire career.
The Soundgarden tracks on here have been released, but doesn’t matter as they are super and should be on here. The standout songs on here for me are “One” (Live at Beacon Theatre). This songs is a mixture of two songs: “One” by U2 is the music and “One” by Metallic is the lyrics. The two together…Unreal!! “Nothing Compares to You” by Prince & Sinead O’Connor is another gem along with “Wide World” sung with Cat Stevens/Yusuf himself.
But what might be the most special song is his cover of “Redemption Song” he sings with his daughter Toni Cornell. Ever the proud papa, Chris takes the backing vocals and lets his daughter belt it out and she does. She has a great voice and you know he was proud. How that moment must be so special for her.
The box set also came with a 48 page booklet full of pictures, song information and letters from some of his dearest friends including Kim Thayall, Matt Cameron, Mike McCready, Tom Morello and Brendan O’Brien (who produced the album as well).
I don’t think I can say enough good things about this set. It is a must for any fan of any of his music. I would give it 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars (only getting a hit because you have to get the Super Deluxe Edition at over $200 to get the DVD and I think is sold out on Amazon at the time of this writing).
This is who Chris Cornell is! This is the treasures he left the world! This is worth getting! This is the end of my review. I will leave you with a few more pictures…