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Chris Cornell (1964-2017)

17th May 2017

The Soundgarden, Audioslave and 'Casino Royale' singer has passed away age 52

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Chris Cornell who co-wrote and recorded the track You Know My Name - the theme to 2006’s 'Casino Royale' has died at the age of 52. His representative, Brian Bumbery said his death was “sudden and unexpected.” Just hours earlier, Cornell had played a full, 20-song Soundgarden gig at the city’s Fox Theatre venue.


Cornell grew up in Seattle, Washington. He formed Soundgarden alongside guitarist Kim Thyail and bassist Hiro Yamamoto in 1984. The band was launched at the heart of the grunge movement. Audioslave sold more than 10 million albums in the US alone and was nominated for 9 Grammys, winning two. The band split in 1997 but reformed in 2010. In 2001, Cornell formed Audioslave, which he fronted alongside former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk.

Cornell was considered somewhat of a leftfield choice when he was announced as the artist for the 2006 Bond-reboot. In an interview for our book 'Some Kind Of Hero', Arnold said; “You try and find someone that sounds like the character. Chris obviously had a voice that could kick a wall down, something that Daniel could physically do, so it felt like that was an interesting match.” Cornell told the authors; “It was based on [Ian Fleming's] Casino Royale so I had that and I was given a script and was allowed to see a rough edit. The song ‘Live and Let Die’ had a big impact on me as a kid as did Sean Connery’s James Bond. I wanted [my song] to live in the film. I ended up speaking with David Arnold for a long time. I loved the idea that if I came up with a melody that’s in the first few minutes of the movie and that reverberates throughout the rest of the film.”


In 2015 Arnold told Songwriting Magazine “He came down to the 'Casino Royale' set in Prague, had a meeting and we both said we’d got some bits and pieces. So we agreed to go away, work on the ideas and meet again three or four weeks later. When we met again, in his apartment in Paris, we played the stuff to each other and found we’d kind of written two halves of the same song, which is really spooky.”

Cornell later wrote the track, The Keeper, for Marc Forster’s 2011 film 'Machine Gun Preacher' and earned him a Golden Globe nomination. He most recently released "The Promise," for the upcoming movie about the Armenian genocide of the same name.

Eon Productions reacted to his death via social media: “Chris Cornell was a gentleman and a true artist. Barbara, Michael and the entire Bond family mourn this tragic loss.”

About The Author
Matthew Field is the co-author of Some Kind of Hero: The Remarkable Story of the James Bond Films. He is a regular contributor to both MI6 Confidential and Cinema Retro. He currently serves on the board of directors of The Ian Fleming Foundation.

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Casino Royale (2006) Singer-songwriter Chris Cornell will perform the title song "You Know My Name" for Casino Royale, in collaboration with composer David Arnold

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