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Chris Cornell found another home for his music in movies

Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Right from his earliest days as lead singer of Soundgarden, it seemed as if Chris Cornell had come from central casting for rock-and-roll lead singer, a lean, long-haired sex god with an expressively outsized voice.

As there was always something so panoramic about his singing, it was a natural progression for Cornell's music to make its way to the big screen.

Cornell earned a Golden Globe nomination in 2012 for the song "The Keeper" from the little-remembered Gerard Butler action-drama "Machine Gun Preacher." That song found Cornell in a fairly straightforward singer-songwriter mode that didn't quite capture his particular gifts.

Much better was the song "Seasons," which he contributed to Cameron Crowe's 1992 romantic comedy "Singles," based on the Seattle music scene. Lightly psychedelic, tinged with the folkier side of Led Zeppelin (to which he was so often compared), the song brings out the more soulful side of Cornell's persona. (Crowe has said he once considered Cornell for the role that eventually went to Matt Dillon. Cornell nevertheless made a cameo appearance.)

It was his song for the first James Bond picture starring Daniel Craig, 2006's "Casino Royale," that would prove to be Cornell's greatest contribution to a movie. Co-written with the film's composer. David Arnold, "You Know My Name" placed Cornell in a new context, where the theatrical bombast and throaty rumble of his singing made for a surprisingly good fit.

If "Casino Royale" was meant to be a rougher reboot of the Bond franchise, casting Cornell in the role of a grunge Shirley Bassey, finding the grit rubbing against the glamour, was unexpectedly inspired.

Even as he continued touring and putting out albums, Cornell was often drawn back to contributing songs for movies. Cornell sang the title song to the recently released film "The Promise," starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac.

(c)2017 Los Angeles Times

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