(As is a customary opening during theme weeks) Here it is! Annuva Cover!
This time it is Soundgarden, Temple Of The Dog, Audioslave and James Bond’s chief piper Chris “Car stereo speakers blowing out car widows cameo in Singles” Cornell. *For full Singles reference see yesterdays post.
As much as Led Zep were loved by the 70’s & 80’s metal community. They were absorbed by the kids in the 90’s. No longer an option as an “I was there man” band, they took on an alchemy. Led Zeppelin were cornerstones of rock and roll. So were Sabbath, The Clash and The Pistols. Long gone. Obviously never returning but obviously the deepest influences.
Without Sabbath and Zeppelin there would be no Soundgarden. That’s not a controversial opinion. That’s just basic mathematics. Without Soundgarden it’s debatable if we’d ever have been properly gifted Chris Cornell. That talent would perhaps have found another way. He is an elemental force in Rock And Roll’s rich tapestry. I’ve been fortunate enough to stand in the space where his bands have performed live and seen the art form elevated. That voice is most often compared (when being ranked) as comparable to all the greats. Deep Purple’s many leaders, Dio, Ozzy, Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, JP’s Rob Halford and more often than all other metal vocalists, Robert Plant.
The notes he can reach, the ease with which he can ‘shake it’ or ‘get on a snake’. It is clear Percy and Chris are cut from a similar cloth. The closest comparisons though lay not in the chest beaters, the screams and the hollerings. They lay in the more gentle moments. These long haired wild men have soul. Not a little bit. An excess of the stuff.
Thank You hinted in the early days of the original band to a side of them that was more plaintive, reflective, genteel and accomplished. It’s track 4 on Led Zeppelin 2. So it’s almost in the primordial soup of the heavy rock genre. It’s sandwiched between The Lemon Song and Heartbreaker. Yet it lays the foundations for Led Zep III and Stairway and yesterdays post and and and and. So much good stuff. Hearing Chris Cornell’s reason at the top of this take makes perfect sense. Hearing him sing it makes everything right.
Chris left us well before his time. We still have Percy thank goodness, but the pathos added to his take on Thank You does make one wonder why it is not on his posthumous album No One Sing like You Any More (available on Vinyl this month). Chris singing Led Zep sort of shifts focus (if not ownership) of the song. That ominous ‘Volume One’ in the Cornell album title might be a tell.
Elsewhere on that cold cash in (or fan healing experience) are versions of Prince’s Nothing Compares To You, Guns N’ Roses Patience and ELO’s Showdown. All good songs. But Thank You by Led Zep comes preinstalled in rock and roll folk as an emotional touchstone. We remember Bonzo and Holidays and Grandparents through Thank You. And now we remember Chris too.
No One Does Sing Like Him Anymore. Except maybe Robert Plant. And millions of rock fans