The Vocal Ra(n)ge of Chris Cornell - Part 1/4





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Published on Nov 11, 2012

Primarily known for his extremely powerful high register and soulful, sometimes even aggressive style and raspy approach, Cornell is a very rare breed of a voice locked between a baritone and a tenor, resulting in his unique, multi-dimensional singing style. Over the years, Chris has preserved his voice very well, and he still sounds incredible, especially in an acoustic settings.

Cornell' brooding lower register is put to a proper use on songs like "Storm" where he gives almost a Jim Morrison-like vibe to the vocal, adding nice contrast to his higher singing.

Chris' voice has evolved intriguingly over the years, and it remains jawdropping to this very day. An exceptional talent!

1. 0:00 - Strong lows bottoming around G♯2 from the demo version of "Beyond the Wheel", a version tuned a semitone lower than the final studio version. I've found a lot of great stuff since this video that I'd like to have included as well.
2. 0:29 - Solid backing G2s from "4th of July".
3. 0:45 - A G2 off the bonus track "She Likes Surprises".
4. 0:53 - Good F♯2s from the various verses of "Other Side of Town".
5. 1:02 - "Big Dumb Sex" and sung F♯2s found in the backing vocals. (The lead vocals are sung around C♯5)
6. 1:15 - A spoken passage during the live performance of "Techno Ted" bottoming around D2.
7. 1:30 - Strong A2s and two D2s from the studio version of "Beyond the Wheel", one of Chris' most vocally demanding performances (spanning over 3 octaves!).
8. 1:52 - A very strong B1 purposely spoken during an interview!
9. 2:01 - Another B1 from an interview, again purposely demonstrated.
10. 2:14 - Time for the glorious higher notes: a sustained mixed voice B4 (B below tenor high C) off the song "Gasoline".
11. 2:23 - Melody sung around B4, the song is none other than "Rusty Cage" - Notice the wicked vibrato!
12. 2:38 - One of Chris' most passionate performances, "When I'm Down", and some high Cs (C5s).
13. 2:50 - A belted C♯5 off the song "Wave Goodbye", followed by a Jeff Buckley-influenced falsetto singing around the same pitch...
14. 3:06 - Massive C♯5s from "Limo Wreck".
15. 3:29 - Sung C♯5s from "The Day I Tried to Live".
16. 3:42 - A sustained C♯5 (with a trill up to D) from the live performance of "Doesn't Remind Me".
17. 3:53 - D5s from "Hands All Over".
18. 4:09 - Very good E♭5 melody singing during the ending of "Right Turn" by Alice in Chains.
19. 4:22 - Wailed E♭5s from "I Awake".
20. 4:33 - An extremely powerful E5 from The Beatles-cover "Come Together", sounds like a chainsaw!
21. 4:42 - Singing up to an E5 from Temple of the Dog's "Hunger Strike", a memorable duet with Eddie Vedder!
22. 4:52 - An incredible E5 from "Call Me a Dog".
23. 5:12 - A D5 sliding up to an F from the alternate version of "New Damage" with Brian May.
24. 5:23 - A mindblowing D5 (trilling up to F) from the vocal track of "Spoonman". HOLY hell!
25. 5:34 - Wicked D5s, and an F, from "Black Rain".
26. 5:50 - D5s and an F5 from "Birth Ritual".
27. 6:03 - Sustained D5s and F5s from "Slaves & Bulldozers", one of Chris' craziest and most demanding vocal performances.
28. 6:21 - Sung melody around D5, with a couple of F5s thrown there just in case, from "Beyond the Wheel" - Check out the live performances in Sturgis (August, 1993) and Austin (February, 1990) to hear the quintessential live versions of the song. You decide, which one is better!
29. 6:37 - Crazy F5 from "Gun".
30. 6:45 - F♯5s from "Holy Water".
31. 7:00 - BLISTERING high singing up to F♯5 from "Four Walled World", another one of Cornell's craziest performances.
32. 7:21 - My favourite vocal performance by Chris, "Say Hello 2 Heaven" with the incredible final climax featuring the man reaching E5s and a G5, before sustaining an F♯5.
33. 7:45 - The second half of "Reach Down", a true vocal tour de force, with sustained E5s and a G5.
34. 8:12 - Cornell channels Plant here: sung G5s from "Power Trip".
35. 8:31 - Unbelievable live vocals around the same pitch from the live version of "Slaves & Bulldozers"! (Motorvision, 1992)
36. 8:54 - The legendary portamento from "Jesus Christ Pose" up to a high G♯ after a streak D5s. Chris himself claims the whole thing is pitch-altered, but that sounds rather absurd, hearing how natural the slide sounds like.
37. 9:16 - Crazy F♯5 and a sung G♯5 from the live cover of Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown".
38. 9:32 - Melody singing up to freaking G5s and G♯5s from the live version of "Smokestack Lightning", originally by Howlin' Wolf! (1988, Seattle)
39. 9:50 - The studio version: thinner and headier!
40. 10:08 - A G♯5 from "Cold Bitch".
41. 10:16 - A slide up to an A5 from "Full on Kevin's Mom", Cornell's highest full note.
42. 10:20 - A falsetto A5 from "Face Pollution".
43. 10:24 - A deranged screamed part from "Incessant Mace", topping at a falsetto C6.

Enjoy one of the most powerful rock voices ever heard!

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