5 Songs You Didn’t Know Chris Cornell Wrote for Other Artists

Even though they had been around since the early 1980s, Soundgarden gained more attention in the ’90s grunge scene with their 1991 album Badmotorfinger and 1994 breakout Superunknown. And behind each and every Soundgarden album were lyrics predominantly penned by late frontman Chris Cornell.

By 1991, Cornell also wrote the entire Pearl Jam-collaborated Temple of the Dog tribute album, honoring Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood who died a year earlier. When Soundgarden broke up, Cornell began releasing his own solo material with his 1999 debut, Euphoria Morning, through his fourth album Higher Truth in 2015. From 2001 through 2006, Cornell also wrote and recorded with Audioslave and released three albums with the band, featuring members of Rage Against the Machine, including Tom Morello.

Cornell also contributed to a number of films with his song “Seasons” and Soundgarden’s “Birth Ritual” featured in the 1992 Gen-X romantic drama Singles. He also penned “Someone to Die For” for the 2004 Spider-Man 2 soundtrack, which was performed by Ours frontman Jimmy Gnecco with Queen‘s Brian May on guitar.

His “You Know My Name” was also used as the theme song for the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale. Cornell also wrote “The Keeper” for the 2011 crime drama Machine Gun Preacher, followed by “Misery Chain” for 12 Years a Slave in 2013, and more.

“The inspiration part just seems to kind of sort itself out,” said Cornell of songwriting in 2015. “It’s just a matter of trying to push myself in different directions and everything else just kind of does what it’s supposed to do, which is not to say that it’s not a challenge because it is, but that’s always been part of making albums and touring. I don’t know if it would be easy to stay focused if wasn’t some kind of a challenge around every corner.”

Along with other collaborations with Heart, Alice in Chains, Alice Cooper, the Everly Brothers, and Rita Wilson, among many others, Cornell also penned a number of songs outside his core catalog.

Here’s a look at five songs Cornell wrote specifically for other artists.

1. “The Message,” Flotsam and Jetsam (1992)
Written by Chris Cornell, Edward Carlson, Eric A. Knutson, Jason Ward, Kelly Smith

Credited as Christopher Cornell, he co-wrote the track “The Message” for Flotsam and Jetsam’s fourth album Cuatro. The album was a continuation of a more progressive sound for the band, following their previous album When the Storm Comes Down.

Wolves devour
The full moon heart
Screams bloodless howls
And starves for the dawn
As teeth and jaw
Sink in like needles
There’s no love lost
For a helpless pawn

Taking care of business
Selling rock candy and suicide
The message in the battle of the colors
Eyes for eyes, brothers for brothers

Taking care of business
Selling rock candy and suicide
Buying low and selling high
Business booms when cold lead flies

2. “Stolen Prayer,” Alice Cooper (1994)
Written by Chris Cornell and Alice Cooper

Cornell wrote two songs for Alice Cooper‘s 1994 album, The Last Temptation, “Unholy War” and “Stolen Prayer,” and contributed backing vocals on both tracks. Conceptually, the album centered around Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare character Steven, and a storyline of songs around a mystery showman who convinces him to join his traveling show. Author Neil Gaiman also wrote a comic series around the Cooper album.

I walk the streets alone
On feeble bones I ride
My sins are etched in stone
I got no place to hide
Well, I was unshakable
In what I did believe
I feel so breakable
But have I been deceived

You showed me your paradise
And your carnival of souls
But my heart keeps telling me
That ain’t the place to go
Well, I’m not invincible
So I want you to leave
Well, I’m so convinceable
But have I been deceived

3. “Light On,” David Cook (2008)
Written by Chris Cornell and Brian Howes

After David Cook won season 7 of American Idol, his first official single was “Light On,” which Cornell co-wrote with Canadian musician and producer Brian Howes. The song appeared on Cook’s self-titled debut in 2008 and charted at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Try to leave a light on when I’m gone
Even in the daylight, shine on
And when it’s late at night you can look inside
You won’t feel so alone

You know we’ve been down that road
What seems a thousand times before
My back to a closing door
And my eyes to the seasons

That roll out underneath my heels
And you don’t know how bad it feels
To leave the only one
That I have ever believed in

4. “Promise,” Slash (2010)
Written by Chris Cornell and Slash

For Slash’s eponymous solo debut, Cornell co-wrote one track for the guitarist and is the featured singer. “Promise” revolves around perseverance and the power of everlasting love.

Slash also features former Guns N’ Roses members Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler, along with Duff McKagan and other contributions from Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, Lemmy Kilmister, Ian Astbury, Fergie, and Adam Levine, among others.

If I had nothing to my name
But photographs of you
Rescued from the flames
That is all I would ever need
As long as I can read
What’s written on your face

The strength that shines
Behind your eyes
The hope and light
That will never die

One promise you made
One promise that always remains
No matter the price
A promise to survive
Persevere and thrive
As we’ve always done

5. “Island of Summer,” Andrew Woods (2011)
Written by Chris Cornell and Andrew Wood

Just months before his band Mother Love Bone released their debut album, Apple, singer Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose on March 19, 1990, at the age of 24. In tribute to his lost friend and former roommate, Chris Cornell wrote “Reach Down” and “Say Hello 2 Heaven,” both of which were used on the Temple of the Dog album, featuring Mother Love Bone members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, and the remaining members of their new band Pearl Jam.

While Cornell and Wood were roommates, they also recorded a song together, “Island of Summer,” which wasn’t released until Wood’s posthumous 2011 album, Melodies & Dreams, a collection of his unreleased demos and recordings.

Island Of Summer
From My Dream, I Find You Before I Wake
Before I Wake
Before I Wake
A Whoo Ooo

Remember Leaves And Fields Of Green
A Dozen Winters
Rub Your Cold Shoulder Next To Me

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