The tragic Led Zeppelin song Chris Cornell used to close his final show

Led Zeppelin was a band extremely close to Chris Cornell’s heart. Their music had been there with him through crucial stages in his life and had been an ever-reliable source of companionship whenever Cornell needed it most. Fittingly, when the Soundgarden frontman performed live for the first time, he bowed out by covering one of their tracks.

On many occasions, Cornell spoke about his love of the group and even sparked a friendship with guitarist Jimmy Page. For a short time, it seemed possible that Led Zeppelin would reunite with Cornell as their singer after Robert Plant refused to get on the road. However, the Soundgarden singer shut down the newspaper reports and explained why he couldn’t step into Plant’s shoes.

“I would never do anything like that whether I were approached or not,” Cornell said. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me at all. I would not want to go see me performing Led Zeppelin songs with the two other guys that used to be in a band called Led Zeppelin while Robert Plant is out somewhere touring.”

He added: “That’s not a ticket I would buy. God bless ’em, but that’s not Led Zeppelin. I find it completely depressing. I’d never do anything like that. I mean just out of respect to the legacy of the band.”

While the offer was seemingly illegitimate, even if it was real, Cornell had no interest in accepting the invitation. While the opportunity would have been extremely profitable for the musician, but the legacy of Led Zeppelin mattered more to him than money.

In 2017, Cornell was tragically found dead in his hotel room shortly after a performance at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. The concert was part of a Soundgarden tour and saw the band deliver a greatest hits set before bringing the show to a close in an unusual style. Ordinarily, Soundgarden closed with ‘Slaves and Bulldozers’, which was the plan for the Detroit show. However, this night, Cornell mixed things up by singing Led Zeppelin’s heartbreaking ‘In My Time Of Dying’.

The blues track, which has a running time of over ten minutes, appeared on Led Zeppelin’s sixth album, Physical Graffiti. Technically, it was a cover of an old gospel song by Blind Willie Johnson, but the English rock group transformed ‘In My Time Of Dying’ to a whole new realm and introduced the creation to an entirely new generation.

Sadly, his life was over just hours after Cornell finished the Led Zeppelin cover. News of his death rocked the musical world, and Page posted on Twitter: “RIP Chris Cornell, incredibly talented, incredibly young, incredibly missed.”

Additionally, the Led Zeppelin guitarist sent a message which played during the Soundgarden tribute show for Cornell in 2019. He said of the group: “I also want to [note] the input that you put into Soundgarden, from the records. Because I got hooked on your music from the first album. I also came to hear you play. I was always astonished at the way you all glued together. I mean, it was just really what, for me, bands are all about.”

Watch Cornell’s final performance below.

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