Soundgarden is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1984 by singer Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Matt Cameron became the band's full time drummer in 1986 while bassist Ben Shepherd became a permanent replacement for Yamamoto in 1990.

Soundgarden was one of the seminal bands in the creation of grunge, a style of alternative rock that developed in Seattle, and was one of a number of grunge bands signed to the record label Sub Pop. Soundgarden was the first grunge band to sign to a major label (A&M Records, in 1988), though the band did not achieve commercial success until they popularized "grunge" in the early 1990s with Seattle contemporaries Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam.

Soundgarden achieved its biggest success with the 1994 album Superunknown, which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and yielded the Grammy Award-winning singles "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman". In 1997, the band broke up due to internal strife over its creative direction. On January 1, 2010, Cornell alluded to a Soundgarden reunion. On April 5, 2010, it was announced that Soundgarden would play Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 6–8, 2010. A secret reunion concert under the name "Nudedragons" was held at the Showbox at the Market in Seattle on April 16, 2010. It was Soundgarden's first show since 1997. The band is currently working on a new album, which is slated for release in the spring of 2012.

As of 2010, Soundgarden had sold over 9 million records in the United States, and an estimated 21 million worldwide.


The band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1984 by singer/drummer Chris Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. A year later, Scott Sundquist took over drum duties after Cornell chose to concetrate on vocals. He was replaced by Matt Cameron the next year. The band released their debut album, “Ultramega OK” in 1988, followed by “Louder Than Love” a year later. The latter achieving underground success, spawning the singles “Loud Love” and “Hands All Over.” In 1990, Yamamoto left after a rift with the other members, replaced briefly by former Nirvana guitarist Jason Everman, then permanently by Ben Shepherd. With the “classic“ lineup now in place, The band‘s 1st taste of commercial success came with “Badmotorfinger“ in 1991. It’s success came largely due to the explosion of the Grunge movement, with Soundgarden being one of the “Big 4” of the genre, alongside Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam. It featured the singles “Outshined” and ”Rusty Cage.” The band capitalized on this success by opening up for Guns N Roses on the 1992 leg of their Use Your Illusion tour. The band’s 4th album, “Superunknown” dropped in 1994. It featured many of Soundgarden’s most memorable songs including “Black Hole Sun,” “Spoonman,” “The Day I Tried To Live,” “Fell On Black Days,” “4th Of July,” “My Wave” and the title track amongst others. It was also just as successful as “Badmotorfinger.” In 1996, The band released their 5th album, “Down On The Upside.” It featured the hit singles “Blow Up The Outside World,” “Burden In My Hand,” and “Pretty Noose.” The band announced their breakup the next year after an argument about their direction. Cameron became the drummer for Pearl Jam, a role in which he still assumes to this day, and Cornell pursued a successful solo career. In 2010, the band announced reunion shows at Lollapalooza. The band also contributed the song “Live To Rise” to the “Avengers” soundtrack. The band released their 6th album, “King Animal” in 2012, supported by the single “Been Away Too Long.” The band continued touring and recording until Cornell’s suicide in May 2017, putting the band’s future in doubt and leaving Thayil as the only founding member.

Current Members[edit | edit source]

  • Kim Thayil (Lead Guitar) (1984-1997, 2010-Present)
  • Matt Cameron (Drums) (1986-1997, 2010-Present)
  • Ben Shepherd (Bass) (1990-1997, 2010-Presentj

Past members[edit | edit source]

  • Chris Cornell (Vocals) (1984-1997, 2010-2017); Rhythm Guitar (1985-1997, 2010-2017); Drums (1984-1985)
  • Hiro Yamamoto (Bass) (1984-1990)
  • Scott Sundquist (Drums) (1985-1986)
  • Jason Everman (Bass) (1990)

Songs[edit | edit source]

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