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Soundgarden in 8 influences and inspirations (infographic)

Here we find Soundgarden´s influence diagram:

soundgarden influencias grunge

2021: it will be four years after the death of Chris Cornell. Besides his success as Audioslave lead singer and his solo career, what stands out the most about him is his original band, the grunge pioneers Soundgarden.

Soundgarden and some of its influences

Especially when breaking into the mainstream with their 1991 album Badmotorfinger, critics linked the Seattle band to the classic heavyweight champions Led Zeppelin. Guitarist Kim Thayil has admitted that Soundgarden used to revisit records of the English band when it came to addressing creative processes: specifically Led Zeppelin IV (1971) and Houses of the Holy (1973).

Especially the first stage of Soundgarden is full of guitar riffs that have Black Sabbath as inspiration. The non-standard tunings, the gloomy and heavy musicality, are a tribute to Tony Iommi‘s band, who caounted with notable lead singers such as Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio.

Kiss is another band that Kim Thayil mentions “made him discover heavy metal.” Also, Soundgarden drummer (and currently part of Pearl Jam), Matt Cameron, explained that Kiss were responsible for showing him the loudest possibilities in rock, that not everything was about The Beatles.

Back in his teens, Chris Cornell said that the Beatles were his inspiration to get started in music. He mentioned to have great affection for albums like Abbey Road, Rubber Soul and Sgt. Pepper. Specifically, the singer highlighted their classic from the white album “Everybody’s got something to hyde (except me and my monkey)”, which could have been a Soundgarden composition (and they actually covered it and it sounds spectacular). One of the things the singer appreciated was the plurality of songwriting mechanisms used by the various members of the Liverpool band.

Which bands were influenced by Soundgarden

Soundgarden was one of the bands that promoted Grunge in the first place, back in the late eighties. Kurt Cobain held them in high esteem – he used to wear Soundgarden t-shirts and can be seen in the documentary Montage of Heck singing the song Outshined. In the biography of Cobain, Heavier than Heaven (2001), by Charles R. Cross indicates that Soundgarden was one of the references that motivated Nirvana to go to a multinational record label.

Guitarist Kirk Hammet has told how the central riff of Enter Sandman was inspired by the album Louder than Love by Soundgarden. His 1991 “black album” was, along with Badmotorfinger, one of the heavy metal releases of the year, in which the genre was updated to be “alternative”.

The Pretty Reckless: Taylor Momsen was very saddened by the passing of Chris Cornell. The Pretty Reckless lead singer has covered Soundgarden songs on several occasions, like Loud Love and Halfway there. And she has even appeared live with Soundgarden to sing Rusty Cage. Needless to say, the frontwoman made splendid renditions of Soundgarden.

The Dillinger Escape Plan: The mathcore and progressive metal band owes their use of tempo changes and unorthodox song structures to Soundgarden. Even Dillinger’s guitarist Ben Weinman had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Kim Thayil to specifically discuss his influence on music from the 1990s onwards.

Lastly, although not on the chart, I’ll mention Garbage‘s Shirley Manson, who explained that the song Fix me Now was inspired by Chris Cornell. The track belongs to the band’s debut album (Garbage, 1995) and according to the singer, during that time she was obsessed with the leader of Soundgarden and the video for Black Hole Sun.

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