To grasp the scope of Chris Cornell‘s history on Billboard‘s charts is to bear in mind that the versatile and groundbreaking rocker charted plenty of material under various billings.
Cornell, who was found dead Wednesday (May 17) in his Detroit hotel room, may be best known for his work as the multi-octave-spanning frontman of Soundgarden, one of the bands at the forefront of ’90s grunge, but on Billboard‘s Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart alone, the late rock singer’s stacked discography includes entries by three bands along with his solo efforts.
Chris Cornell’s Biggest Alternative Songs Hits
1, “Like a Stone,” Audioslave, No. 1 peak (two weeks), May 17, 2003
2, “Black Hole Sun,” Soundgarden, No. 2), July 2, 1994
3, “Burden in My Hand,” Soundgarden, No. 2, Sept. 21, 1996
4, “Be Yourself,” Audioslave, No. 1 (four weeks), April 9, 2005
5, “Pretty Noose,” Soundgarden, No. 2, June 22, 1996
6, “Doesn’t Remind Me,” Audioslave, No. 3, Oct. 1, 2005
7, “Show Me How to Live,” Audioslave, No. 2, Sept. 6, 2003
8, “I Am the Highway,” Audioslave, No. 3, Feb. 21, 2004
9, “Hunger Strike,” Temple of the Dog, No. 7, Aug. 15, 1992
10, “Blow Up the Outside World,” Soundgarden, No. 8, Dec. 14, 1996
Cornell first earned a Billboard No. 1 as part of Soundgarden, when the band’s fourth album Superunknown debuted atop the Billboard 200 dated March 26, 1994. Shortly after, the band achieved its first No. 1 song, as “Black Hole Sun” topped Mainstream Rock Songs for seven weeks beginning July 16, 1994.
But Cornell’s chart history extends further back. Soundgarden first appeared on a chart when sophomore album Louder Than Love debuted at No. 168 on the Billboard 200 dated Jan. 27, 1990. Two years later, Temple of the Dog, the one-off band that Cornell formed with future members of Pearl Jam (including a then-unknown Eddie Vedder as a backup vocalist) to honor deceased Mother Love Bone frontman (and Cornell’s roommate) Andrew Wood, released its self-titled album. The record eventually reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200 in September 1992, while two singles, “Hunger Strike” and “Say Hello 2 Heaven,” reached the top five (Nos. 4 and 5, respectively) on Mainstream Rock Songs. “Strike” also struck a No. 7 peak on Alternative Songs.
While Cornell scored six of his nine No. 1s on Mainstream Rock Songs, and both of his Alternative Songs leaders, with Soundgarden, he also soared with supergroup Audioslave, with Cornell on vocals backed by the instrumentalist members of Rage Against the Machine. “Like a Stone,” the band’s second single, led Mainstream Rock Songs for 12 weeks and Alternative Songs for two in 2003. 2005’s “Be Yourself” topped the tallies for seven and four weeks, respectively.
Chris Cornell’s Biggest Billboard 200 Albums
1, Superunknown, Soundgarden, No. 1 peak (one week), March 26, 1994
2, Audioslave, Audioslave, No. 7, Dec. 7, 2002
3, Temple of the Dog, Temple of the Dog, No. 5, Sept. 5, 1992
4, Out of Exile, Audioslave, No. 1 (one week), June 11, 2005
5, Down on the Upside, Soundgarden, No. 2, June 8, 1996
As for his solo career, Cornell collected four top 10s on Mainstream Rock Songs, leading at last for two weeks in 2015 as featured on country act Zac Brown Band‘s career-left-turn hard-rock single “Heavy Is the Head.” Later that year, he followed with his highest-charting unaccompanied solo hit, the No. 2-peaking “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart.” On Alternative Songs, Cornell reached the top 10 solo with “Can’t Change Me” in 1999.
On the Billboard 200, Cornell landed eight top 10s: three each with Audioslave and Soundgarden and once each with Temple of the Dog and as a soloist. Two titles topped the chart: Soundgarden’s Superunknown in 1994 and Audioslave’s Out of Exile in 2005.
One of Cornell’s final charted songs before his death bowed shortly after Prince‘s passing in April 2016: Cornell’s cover of the Prince-penned (and Sinead O’Connor-popularized) “Nothing Compares 2 U” gained renewed attention, hitting the Mainstream Rock Songs chart for four weeks and peaking at No. 34, in May 2016. As of this morning (May 18), the track ranked at No. 1 on the Billboard + Twitter Trending 140.
Chris Cornell’s Biggest Billboard Chart Hits recaps on the Alternative Songs and Billboard 200 charts are based on actual performance on the respective weekly charts, through the May 27, 2017, rankings. Songs and albums are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at lower ranks earning proportionally less. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, eras are weighted to account for different chart turnover rates over various periods.