Chris Cornell Is the Forrest Gump of Music

Without much mental gymnastics, it's easy to connect Chris Cornell to some of the most pivotal figures of the past 25 years of rock music. Simply put: Chris Cornell is the Forrest Gump of the music industry. Just as Gump popped up in the biggest moments in 20th-century history, Cornell has found himself in the middle of iconic pop-culture moments, whether as a solo singer or with his bands Soundgarden and Audioslave.

It's easy to forget just how many places you've seen Cornell appear over the past few decades, but here are four songs that show the true reach of his pop-cultural net.

"Seasons": This beautiful Led Zeppelin-influenced ballad popped up in the 1992 romantic comedy Singles. The movie's soundtrack was a who's who of the early-'90s grunge scene, featuring songs by Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, and Alice in Chains. Cornell also made two cameos in the movie: one time onstage singing "Birth Ritual" with his band Soundgarden and another as an extra stumbling past Matt Dillon.

"Hunger Strike": Cornell recorded this song with the band Temple of the Dog, a supergroup formed in 1990 combining members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden to pay tribute to Andy Wood, the fallen singer from Mother Love Bone, who was also once Cornell's roommate. The group's self-titled album is filled with haunting, brooding songs, but none more so than "Hunger Strike," which plays off the contrasting voices of Cornell and Peal Jam singer Eddie Vedder.

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"Like a Stone": After Zack de la Rocha left Rage Against the Machine and rumors swirled that the other band members wanted to reunite with a new singer, many of the names thrown around came from the world of hip-hop, like Public Enemy's Chuck D. So it was to everyone's surprise that a traditional rock singer like Cornell came in when they reformed as Audioslave. Over three albums, Cornell's lyrics steered clear of the political domains where Rage Against the Machine often lived, and instead dealt mostly with his trademark theme of alienation, as evidenced in the Audioslave's biggest hit, "Like a Stone."

"You Know My Name": While you often think of crooners like Nancy Sinatra, Adele, and Sam Smith being given the right to sing the theme songs for James Bond movies, the producers of Casino Royale went a less traditional route when they booked Chris Cornell for the 2006 movie. "You Know My Name," the song he made for the soundtrack, has more of a rock edge than other Bond songs, but it shows Cornell could have a future as a Vegas lounge singer in his golden years if he so wishes.

Chris Cornell 8 p.m. Thursday, October 29, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org. Tickets cost $50 to $66 plus fees via arshtcenter.org.

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