Chris Cornell – An Appreciation

This is not something I ever thought I’d be writing, and doing so makes me deeply sad, but it must be done. Chris Cornell’s departure from this life came as a massive shock to all of us who love his music, so what must it have been like for his family and friends? Our thoughts and best wishes are with them; last week they woke up to find themselves living in a nightmare.

Of course, people are asking the question, why? There is much speculation but there are no definite answers yet. Perhaps there never will be. Chris suffered from depression and anxiety; everyone does to varying degrees, it’s what makes us human. Perhaps Chris simply had a horrible moment where he couldn’t see the future. Sometimes seeing the future is all anyone has to keep going.

Such a tragic loss. If depression and anxiety were cancer or a virus, they would be taken so much more seriously, treated with so much more research, resources, compassion and understanding, and they badly need to be. So, look out for each other, and even if you have no one to do that, look out for yourself, you matter to you.

Normally, when I write a piece I research it intensely, not so here. Everyone knows Chris’s music. He was a special rare talent, a man who felt deeply and had the gift to articulate it. He could weave joy and pain into a tapestry to clothe those not as blessed with his ability to express but with an equal ability to feel. Feelings are what it’s all about: we are not rocks and stones, but made of emotions, sometimes too much so to bear.

There is a term ‘earworm’. I do not like it; it’s used to sell us things we don’t need by marketers. Chris’s music was never that. It came from the soul and lodged itself in our souls.

Inside my heart, I will always be able to hear “Black Hole Sun” and I thank Chris with all the same heart for that. He gave the world a beautiful gift, one that will keep on giving long past his untimely departure from us.

Mental Health Helpline (Ontario, Canada)

Getting Help – Canadian Mental Health Association – US Department of Health & Human Services

Mental Health Ireland

Feature photo: Chris Cornell @ Festival SWU / Paulínia.
Credit: | Eduardo Gabriel.

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (