The band that made Chris Cornell fall in love with music

The late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell‘s life revolved around music from an early age. Ever since his childhood, music was a source of escapism and an opportunity to briefly drift off into another realm away from other stresses. While most children would be busy playing outside, Cornell was content with the company of his record player.

Cornell’s indoctrination into music was thanks to his family, namely his elder brothers. As someone born in 1964, the Seattle native was too young to live through Beatlemania and the hysteria of the 1960s, but like millions, he was shaped by the music made during that era. His first love affair was with The Monkees, who were responsible for starting his journey into artistry.

During an interview with BBC 6 Music, Cornell explained: “There was some Monkees records lying around the house, that kind of caught my ear when I was about four or five, something like that when I (first) heard Monkees albums.”

Even though he could barely walk or speak, Cornell had already grown an appetite to move on from The Monkees and see what other music was out there. Naturally, the next step in his evolution was to listen to The Beatles, and this discovery changed his life in unimaginable ways.

Cornell explained: “Then, somewhere in there, by the time I was eight, I think, I ended up with the entire Beatles catalogue, and then that’s when I really got into music where it became important to me. I sort of became a music geek and sit in my bedroom as an activity and just listen to records alone for hours and hours.”

Elaborating on that era of his life, Cornell compared his love of the Fab Four to a formal education in his chosen art form. He remarked: “I think that period, which lasted a couple of years where it was just Beatles, I think it was like music college for me, in a way. Not just writing, but recording, singing, record producing, everything, without realising it because I’d listened to it all so much and so intently. It all seemed to just get in there somehow subconsciously because I wasn’t thinking about it. I didn’t think I’d ever be a musician, write songs or be a singer.”

When probed upon if there was one specific song that had a significant impact on him at that early age, Cornell responded: “Well, there are different stages of it, but Sgt Pepper’s I really got into, but that was without the knowledge that was an album of any importance to anyone. And then, I remember listening to Abbey Road with headphones. That was the first headphone experience I had, and you know, you plug headphones in and turn it up really loud; it’s an amazing experience.”

Although his music taste continued to develop over time as he became fond of new genres, Cornell’s love of The Beatles never faded. On 126 occasions throughout his career as a solo artist, he covered their song ‘A Day In The Life’, highlighting his adoration of the band. Listen to his version of the classic track below.

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