Godfathers of grunge and the winners of two Grammy Awards, Soundgarden, was formed in Seattle, Washington , in 1984. They play alternative metal, grunge and alternative rock music. The band members are Ben Shepherd, Matt Cameron, Kim Thayil, and Chris Co rnell. Cornell is the lead vocalist; Thayil is the lead guitarist, with Cameron on drums and Shepherd on bass guitar. Grunge, a style of alternative rock, originated from Seattle, and Soundgarden was instrumental in not only its creation but its popularity as well. It goes to the band’s credit that it along with legendary bands like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Nirvana , all Seattle based bands, made grunge music a household name. Soundgarden has sold over twenty million records worldwide and over nine million records in the US alone.
The band was name after “A Sound Garden”, a sculpture of a wind-channeling pipe, located next to Magnuson Park , Seattle, in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration property. Initially, Cornell played drums along with vocals, but later solely concentrated on singing. The band toured all over the US and impressed their audiences, helping them turn into Soundgarden fans. They signed up with a record label, Sub Pop , and soon after their first single “Hunted Down” was released in 1987. It didn’t take them too long to be noticed by major record label companies.
Soundgarden released its debut album Ultramega OK , in 1988. The album was released by a relatively smaller record label SST Records . Steve Huey of Allmusic described the album as “Stooges/MC5-meets-Zeppelin/Sabbath sound.” This album got them a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 1990. In order to promote their debut album, the band undertook an extensive tour of the United States as well as of Europe. After touring successfully both in the US and Europe, the band signed up with a major record label, A&M Records . It took the band a mere one year to release their second album, Louder Than Love . The album was such a hit that it found a place on the Billboard 200, reaching position no. 108.
Badmotorfinger was the band’s third album, which was released in 1991. Steve Huey reviewed the album as the one that “takes a quantum leap in focus and consistency.” This album, like its predecessors, was a hit. It was nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal performance and was one of the top 100 selling albums of 1992. By this time, the band had cemented their position in the world of rock but the album that made them a household name was Superunknown , their fourth, which was released in 1994. The album reached the very top of the Billboard 200 with singles like “Fell on Black Days”, “My Wave”, “Black Hole Sun”, “The Day I Tried to Live”, and “Spoonman”. It was described as mysterious and dark, dealing in subjects like depression, suicide, and substance abuse. It had shades of Indian and the Middle Eastern music. Apart from winning two Grammys, it also won a Clio Award. Superunknown was also a certified five times platinum in the US.
In 1996, the band’s fifth and to date the last album was released. Down on the Upside , unlike its predecessors, was less dark, heavy and marked a shift from the band’s earlier emphasis on grunge. Some of the most memorable singles of the album were “Blow Up the Outside World”, “Burden in My Hand”, and “Pretty Noose”, which was also nominated for a Grammy in 1997. The album was a huge success worldwide as well, with reaching no. 6 position in the UK charts. During the same year unfortunately, the band broke up.
In 2010, Cornell, signaled that Soundgarden might be reuniting. It was also announced that the band would play Lollapalooza in Chicago. The band undertook a secret reunion concert under the name “Nudedragons” at the Showbox at the Market in Seattle. Interestingly, it was a badly worded tweet that got them together again. The tweet was misinterpreted by the band’s fans and there was such an overwhelming response from them and the promoters that it got the four back into the studio. Presently, they are working on their new album, expected to be released sometime later this year or early next year.
Called “The grunge legends” by The Guardian newspaper, Soundgarden will soon be coming to your town. They may or may not be performing in your town after this. So do not miss out on this once in a life time opportunity and buy your Soundgarden Tickets now!
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