Chicago Tribune’s year-in-review proves that 2017 was a trying time for the entertainment industry. There was controversy after controversy, among them the Best Picture mistake at last year’s Academy Awards, the Fyre Festival lawsuit, the “Bachelor in Paradise” scandal, and the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment allegations.
The industry also bade farewell to Mary Tyler Moore, David Cassidy, Jerry Lewis, and Adam Lewis. The Entertainment Daily article ‘Stars We Lost in 2017’ is also filled with venerable names that passed away, including a trio of musical icons—Tom Petty, Chester Bennington, and Chris Cornell.
Cornell’s death, in particular, struck a chord, as it was as unfortunate as it was unexpected. The long-time Soundgarden frontman was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of his hotel room at the MGM Grand in Detroit, mere hours after he performed with Soundgarden at the Fox Theatre on the night of May 17, 2017. Cornell was pronounced dead at 1:30 in the morning on May 18, 2017, as paramedics were unable to revive the 52-year-old singer.
Tributes for Cornell, whose booming baritone, undeniable charisma, and eclectic song writing made him an absolute fan favorite, have continued to this day. Loudwire reported that Prophets of Rage teamed up with System of a Down front man Serj Tankian this March for a cover of “Like a Stone,” to the delight of the audience in attendance. Tom Morello led the tributes stating: "Not too long ago we lost a very good friend of ours, Chris Cornell. Please show him some appreciation."
Prophets of Rage and Serj Tankian team up for "Like a Stone."
There have been many tributes to Cornell, and after his death his peers in the music industry took to social media to pay homage. Audioslave bandmate Tom Morello posted a photo of himself and Cornell, and penned a heartfelt caption, which included these words: “I love you, brother. Thank you for your friendship and your humor and your intellect and your singular and unmatched talent. It was a great honor to know you as a friend and as a band mate.”
The best and most poignant tributes, though, were those onstage as Cornell’s contemporaries dedicated songs for him. Pretty Reckless’s touching cover of “Like a Stone” during their show in Camden, New Jersey was one of the first of such tributes, and it certainly was not the last. Other acts followed, including Slipknot, Aerosmith, Metallica, and Linkin Park, whose frontman, Chester Bennington, was one of Cornell’s closest friends.
Pretty Reckless covers "Like a Stone"
Linkin Park performs "One More Light" on Jimmy Kimmel
Unsurprisingly, one of the most moving tributes to the fallen frontman was given by Eddie Vedder, a fellow grunge pioneer and close personal friend of Cornell. A visibly shaken and teary Vedder led the crowd, themselves filled with emotions, to a stirring acoustic rendition of “Black,” one of Pearl Jam’s greatest, most intimate, and most heartrending songs. As per usual, Vedder adds the “We belong together” near the song’s end, and as he sings it, his voice noticeably cracks, and his emotion becomes even more palpable. Vedder concludes the song by crying out, “Come back, come back, come back.”
Eddie Vedder performs "Black" for his close friend
The onstage tributes to Cornell have continued, even months after his tragic passing, with Charlie Puth closing his December gig at Z100's Jingle Ball by dedicating “See You Again” to the former grunge pioneer. Keith Urban’s New Year’s tribute to the stars who passed away in 2017 included a heart-rending rendition of “Black Hole Sun,” arguably Cornell’s signature song.
That artists are continuing to pay homage to Cornell is not a surprise, as the Soundgarden and Audioslave singer certainly inspired many of his peers. His presence continues to be felt and missed in the music industry.