Late SOUNDGARDEN and AUDIOSLAVE vocalist Chris Cornell is one of the many artists whom HEART singer Ann Wilson pays tribute to with her new collection, “Immortal”, due out September 14.
The album will feature Wilson‘s versions of classic songs by such icons as Cornell, David Bowie, Tom Petty, Glenn Frey, George Michael, Amy Winehouse, Leslie Gore and many others. The song she chose to honor Cornell was AUDIOSLAVE‘s “I Am The Highway”. You can now listen to the track below.
“The AUDIOSLAVE number is my favorite Chris Cornell song,” she previously said. “It’s just all about, I’m not the thing, I’m the bigger thing, I’m not your magic carpet ride in the sky. It’s a really great song. It has a lot of particular meaning to me because Chris was my friend. The words in ‘I Am The Highway’ talk about dissatisfaction, and alienation, and someone who is just on their way. They’re not going to hang out with the friends and liars.”
She added that Cornell never completed embraced his “rock star” status.
“Whenever I hear that song, I think about Chris a lot, because he was always at odds with his success,” she said. “The expectations that were put on him being the voice of a generation, and a superstar of the ’90s and 2000s and stuff was too much for him. It was really uncomfortable, and he wasn’t just bragging about being uncomfortable, he was. It was too much. He basically was a real pure being, and complicated, but really pure, childlike. He had one foot in wanting to be famous, and one foot in just being so uncomfortable there, that he was caught somewhere in the middle. He was so beautiful and handsome, but tender. He was a really, really good person. But this world was just… he went as far as he could go.”
Sadly, Wilson recalled to Rolling Stone how she commiserated with LINKIN PARK frontman Chester Bennington upon finding out about Cornell‘s suicide. On May 18, 2017 — the day Cornell killed himself in the early morning hours — they were both booked as musical guests on ABC‘s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Wilson, who didn’t know Bennington that well, explained: “Someone came into my dressing room and said, ‘Chester would like to talk to you.’ He was really upset.”
Wilson continued: “So I went in. He was really a mess. So anxious and sad and had to go onstage in a minute. I think that Chris‘s departure hit (him) hard because he recognized the impulse. He had been hit by this news. There was a lot of fear there. I said to him, ‘Let’s just breathe here and look in each other’s eyes and go, ‘We’re still here right now, let’s just do this.’ A couple of weeks later, he was gone.”
Chester Bennington also took his own life, on July 20, 2017 — just two months after Cornell on what would have been the latter’s 53rd birthday.