Chris Cornell remembered as 'voice of our generation'
Music’s elite and Hollywood stars have remembered Chris Cornell at a sombre memorial service, which focused on the Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman’s love of family and friends as much as it did on his musical achievements as one of rock’s leading voices.
- Attendees included Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield
- Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, Brad Delson performed
- Fans lined up to lay flowers, take photos of Cornell’s grave site
“Chris was as melodic as The Beatles, as heavy as Sabbath and as haunting as Edgar Allan Poe,” Tom Morello, Cornell’s Audioslave bandmate, said during his eulogy.
“The demons he wrestled with were real, but he harnessed those demons and rode them like a mother-flipping chariot of lightning strapped with Marshall stacks to make some of the greatest rock’n’roll of all time.”
Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington and guitarist Brad Delson performed Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah for the crowd of mourners.
Among those paying respects were Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, Krist Novoselic from Nirvana, Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield of Metallica, Dave Navarro and Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, singer-songwriter Joe Walsh, guitarist Nile Rodgers, rocker Courtney Love and Bush’s Gavin Rossdale.
The crowd also included Brad Pitt, Pharrell Williams, James Franco and Christian Bale.
Four large portraits of Cornell were on display on a platform where Morello, actor Josh Brolin, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, film producer Eric Esrailian and Cornell’s Soundgarden bandmates Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron delivered eulogies under overcast skies at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
They all spoke of the rocker’s compassion and his delight in his three children.
Cameron said he and Cornell had “so many normal dad conversations” about the Cornell kids: Christopher, Toni and Lily.
“Losing my brother and artistic soulmate will always pale in comparison with you three kids losing your dad,” Cameron said.
“Let it be known that I am here for you and will forever be in your lives.”
Linda Ramone opened the service with word that Cornell was buried next to her late husband, punk rocker Johnny Ramone, whose headstone features a statue of him playing guitar.
Cornell’s grave marker, decorated with bouquets of flowers and several red roses, reads: “Voice of our generation and an artist for all time”.
Cornell’s music played before the hour-long service, and afterward as guests visited his grave site in the cemetery’s Garden of Legends section.
Fans queue to see grave site
Scores of fans gathered outside the cemetery during the service awaiting a public viewing of Cornell’s grave site later in the afternoon.
“We had to be here. He was part of our generation,” 49-year-old Marcus Dubray said, breaking into tears. He and his wife were visiting Los Angeles from Sacramento for her birthday when they heard about Cornell’s service.
“I was ready to go to Seattle [for the funeral],” fellow fan Alfredo Perez, 47, said.
Melody Andrade brought her 4-year-old son Jude to memorialise the Seattle rocker.
The pair wore matching T-shirts that read “Say Hello 2 Heaven”, the title of a Temple of the Dog song Cornell wrote.
“I feel like this is just as big as the death of Elvis or John Lennon. That’s why I had to bring my son,” Ms Andrade said.
“There will never be another. He’s a modern-day Freddie Mercury. I needed some closure on this.”
Fans brought flowers and notes and sang Cornell’s songs together. Some listened to his music aloud on their phones.
One fan brought a guitar and strummed Soundgarden songs.
Many left heartfelt notes, guitar picks and one woman left roses wrapped in a flannel shirt.
Cornell, 52, was pronounced dead on May 18 after he was found unresponsive in a Detroit hotel room hours after performing a concert with Soundgarden.
Coroner’s officials said preliminary autopsy results show the singer hanged himself, but full toxicology results remain pending.
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