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A Tribute to a Grunge Rock Legend: Chris Cornell Remembered in L.A.

Tribute show demonstrates what a wide legacy the late musician left behind.

Tim Coffman

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The I Am the Highway Concert was held at the Forum in Los Angeles last week to pay tribute to departed rock icon Chris Cornell. Cornell, who committed suicide in 2017, was one of the founding members of Soundgarden and Audioslave, and helped to bring alternative music to mainstream attention in the 1990s.

Throughout the night, performances from an eclectic array of musicians showcased just how much Cornell’s music meant to artists of all genres.

Metal greats Metallica performed some of their classic hits, along with the Soundgarden gem “All Your Lies.” Many of Cornell’s musician friends from Seattle — such as The Foo Fighters, The Melvins and a reunited version of Audioslave were on hand. A revolving cast of singers to the lead in Audioslave, including Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell and singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile.

While these bands played full tribute sets, others performed one-off covers of Cornell’s songs, which stood as a testament to Cornell’s musical accessibility. Miley Cyrus joined a reformed lineup of Cornell’s early ’90s supergroup Temple of the Dog for “Say Hello 2 Heaven,” while Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine joined a star-studded ensemble of musicians for a cover of Cornell’s “Seasons.”

The performances culminated in an appearance by the surviving members of Soundgarden, who rolled through for some of their greatest hits: “Rusty Cage,” featuring the Pretty Reckless’s Taylor Momsen along with a final performance of the night, the 1990s grunge smash “Black Hole Sun,” performed with Brandi Carlile.

While this night definitely brought to mind the tragic end of a wonderful musician, the tributes seemed to be proof of how Cornell’s music crossed genre barriers and reaffirmed his status as one of the most respected musicians the grunge rock revolution.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Tim picked up the guitar at 10 years old and never looked back. He has been writing about music since 2011 and has loved every single minute of it. Music is his MO every day and he will do whatever he can to make sure that he's involved with it every day of his life.

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