[[caption-width-right:338:L-R: Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Music/ChrisCornell, Ben Shepherd]]

->''"Black hole sun,\\
Won't you come,\\
And wash away the rain?\\
Black hole sun,\\
Won't you come,\\
Won't you come?"''
-->-- "'''Black Hole Sun'''"

Soundgarden is a UsefulNotes/{{Seattle}} {{Grunge}} / AlternativeMetal band formed in TheEighties and popular in TheNineties. Their name comes from a sculpture in Seattle, "A Sound Garden". The band was recognized as one of The Big Four of Grunge (along with Music/{{Nirvana}}, Music/PearlJam and Music/AliceInChains), though they didn't become successful until the genre fully took off with the release of Nirvana's ''Music/{{Nevermind}}'' and Pearl Jam's ''Music/{{Ten}}''. Their 1994 album ''Superunknown'' is considered a masterpiece of the movement. Their music is largely characterized by {{Epic Riff}}s, Music/ChrisCornell's distinctive voice, complicated arrangements that highlight the band's instrumental proficiency, and common usage of UncommonTime, producing a sound many reviewers have described as being Music/LedZeppelin [[JustForFun/XMeetsY meets]] Music/BlackSabbath.

The group broke up in 1997 due to [[CreativeDifferences internal conflict]], leaving Cornell to form the SuperGroup Music/{{Audioslave}} with the former members of Music/RageAgainstTheMachine, and later a solo career with polarizing results. Cornell also co-wrote "You Know My Name" with Music/DavidArnold for the ''Film/JamesBond'' film ''Film/CasinoRoyale2006''. His music at that time veered into a more pop / hip-hop-oriented direction, causing much backlash among the fanbase. Cameron currently drums for Pearl Jam, and has since the Yield tour (he wasn't involved with the Temple of the Dog reunion mentioned below). Thayil played with Music/JelloBiafra and [[Music/{{Nirvana}} Krist Novoselic]] as the "No WTO Combo" after the Seattle riots of November 1999, and contributed to Music/DaveGrohl's side-project Probot. Shepherd recorded a solo album, ''In Deep Owl'' (which Cameron also played on), but it didn't see the light of day until 2013.

In January 2010, Cornell announced through his website that "The Knights of the Sound Table ride again"; the band officially reunited later that year. A new song, "Live to Rise", played during the end credits of ''Film/TheAvengers2012''. In addition, their first new album since their breakup, ''King Animal'', was released in November 2012.

Sadly, the reunion came to a sudden and tragic end in 2017. Chris Cornell [[AuthorExistenceFailure committed suicide after a concert in Detroit, Michigan]] on May 17, allegedly fueled by years of drug and alcohol abuse, leaving the future of the band - and the in-progress session for their seventh album - in doubt.

Related Acts:
+Temple of the Dog (Cornell and Cameron)
+Music/PearlJam (Through both TOTD and Cameron)
+Music/{{Audioslave}} (Cornell)
+Hater (Shepherd and occasionally Cameron)
+Wellwater Conspiracy (Cameron)

[[AC: Core line-up:]]
* Chris Cornell: Vocals; previously played drums until the band hired Scott Sundquist to play drums, allowing him to focus on just singing. He also contributed rhythm guitar to their songs later.
* Kim Thayil: Lead Guitar
* Ben Shepherd: Bass; replaced Hiro Yamamoto in 1990.
* Matt Cameron: Drums; replaced Sundquist.

[[AC: Discography:]]
* ''Screaming Life'' EP (1987)
* ''Fopp'' EP (1987)
** These two were later compiled into ''Screaming Life/Fopp'' in 1990.
* ''Ultramega OK'' (1988), the debut they weren't very happy with, thanks to recording outside of Seattle with an outside producer (Drew Canulette) instead of Jack Endino (famous for working with every grunge band, ever, at the start).
-->'''Cornell''': With ''Ultramega OK'' we really liked the songs on that record but we were disappointed in the production.
* ''Louder Than Love'' (1989), a somewhat less stressful recording in spite of Hiro Yamamoto's isolation and eventual departure. Received good reviews but sank on the charts due to distribution problems and MoralGuardians throwing a hissy fit over "Big Dumb Sex" and slapping it with a Parental Advisory sticker. This and their next album were produced by Terry Date.
* ''Loudest Love'' EP (1990)
* ''Badmotorfinger'' (1991), marks the debut of Shepherd and is their first really successful album thanks to being synchronized with the {{Grunge}} explosion of the same year. "Jesus Christ Pose", "Outshined", and "Rusty Cage" were all fairly big hits, and while they were never released as singles, "Slaves & Bulldozers" and "Searching with My Good Eye Closed" are both longtime fan favorites.
* ''Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas'' (1992), released as a special edition second disc of ''Badmotorfinger'' sold only during Lollapalooza tour, 1992.
* ''Superunknown'' (1994), the band's breakthrough and biggest success, going straight to #1 on the charts. Contains their biggest hits "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman". Cornell didn't like working with producer Michael Beinhorn because of his obsession with capturing the perfect sounds (commenting that by the time they had recorded a song they'd already rehearsed it to death), but admitted the sound created by him and engineer Brendan O'Brien played a part in the album's success.
* ''Songs from the Superunknown'' EP (1995)
* ''Down on the Upside'' (1996), their last pre-breakup album. This time they opted to self-produce to avoid the tediously slow frustration of ''Superunknown''. It didn't have anywhere near the same impact as their predecessor but was reasonably well-received.
* ''[[GreatestHitsAlbum A-sides]]'' (1997), a greatest hits album rushed out after the band disbanded.
* ''Telephantasm'' (2010), another greatest hits album, including some unreleased songs. The two-disc version features all of their videos.
* ''Live on I-5'' (2011), a collection of live tracks from a 1996 tour, and a few covers.
* ''King Animal'' (2012), the first since the band's reformation.
* ''Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path'' (2015), a collection of mostly rare recordings. The regular edition is triple, Originals, Covers and Oddities. A one-disc edition with just the Originals CD (and even then, with a few songs missing) also exists.

!!Soundgarden provides examples of:
* AllThatGlitters: "Pretty Noose".
* AlbumTitleDrop: ''Down on the Upside'' has one in "Dusty." Chris said he wanted to put that name to the song, but Ben Shepherd had already baptized it as "Dusty".
* AnimatedMusicVideo: "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K913KVe3kH8 Black Rain,]]" animated by Creator/{{Titmouse}} Inc.
* BadassBiker[=/=]AllBikersAreHellsAngels: Parodied in the video for "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTaVHM6HGuQ "By Crooked Steps"]], directed by Music/DaveGrohl, where it's a gang that rides ''Segways.''
* BadassBeard: Kim Thayil's WizardBeard. Chris also wore a goatee for most of the band's run.
* BigRockEnding: "Jesus Christ Pose". "My Way" has one [[StopAndGo right after the song seems to end.]]
* {{Bowdlerize}}: One of the songs done for Creator/TheBBC's Friday Rock Show was Music/{{Fear}}'s [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLV-ne2bvjM "I Don't Care About You", changing the chorus from]] "I don't care about you! [[PrecisionFStrike Fuck you!]]" to "I don't care about you! No way!".
* CarefulWithThatAxe: Chris Cornell was ''made'' of this.
* ChangedForTheVideo: The video version of "Fell on Black Days" is a studio recording session [[StudioChatter (the producer even says "This is the master of 3" while the band's warming up)]] rather than the version on ''Superunknown''.
* [[ClusterFBomb/{{Music}} Cluster F Bomb]]:
** The chorus of "Big Dumb Sex": "Heeeey, I know what to do! I'm gonna fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck you!"
** The chorus of "Ty Cobb" uses "Hard-headed, fuck you all!" repeatedly.
* CommonTime: They use it rather less frequently than might be expected.
* CoverAlbum: The "Covers" CD of ''Echo of Miles'' has most songs by other artists Soundgarden recorded along the way.
* CoverVersion: "[[Music/JohnLennon Two Minutes]] [[Music/YokoOno of Silence]]" (as "One Minute of Silence"), with tongue firmly in cheek. (Cornell joked that the band "appreciated the Lennon arrangement so much".) Taken a bit more seriously, "[[Music/TheBeatles Come Together]]", "[[Music/{{Devo}} Girl U Want]]", "[[Music/TheRollingStones Stray Cat Blues]]", "Smokestack Lightnin'" by Music/HowlinWolf, a version of "[[Music/BlackSabbath Into The Void]]" with lyrics from Chief Sealth, and "[[Music/BodyCount Cop Killer]]".
* CrucifiedHeroShot: "Jesus Christ Pose" has several, mostly from Cornell as he's singing. There's also multiple shots of both a scantily-clad woman and a metal skeleton on a cross.
* DoomMetal:
** They've flirted with this numerous times (which can be owed to their Music/BlackSabbath influence); "Outshined", "Slaves & Bulldozers", "4th of July", and "Gun" are some of the most prominent examples.
** They are also considered to be the UrExample of Stoner Rockó 1988's ''Ultramega OK'' featured all the usual aspects of what would become stoner rock, and it was released years before the likes of Music/{{Kyuss}} or Music/{{Sleep}} even formed.
** The demo for "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMak5Bwcw0I Beyond the Wheel]]" has to be heard to be believed. It's so slow, plodding, and heavy that it almost doesn't even sound like the same band.
* DrivenToSuicide:
** "Blow Up the Outside World" makes mention of this with the line "Nothing seems to kill me, no matter how hard I try".
** A sad RealLife case in Chris Cornell, who was found dead in his bathroom after a show.
* EldritchAbomination: Featured in the video for "Black Rain".
* EpicRocking: They have several songs over six minutes long. The longest is "Like Suicide" at 7:02.
* EverythingIsAnInstrument: "Spoonman." [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Take a guess]]. Based on a Seattle musician, Artis the Spoonman, who provides the spoon percussion in the song.
* FakeOutFadeOut: "Somewhere".
* GreenAesop: "Hands All Over"
* GrowingUpSucks: "Bones of Birds" is about what happens when ChildrenAreInnocent doesn't fit anymore ("When kids learn about the real world, it's never a good thing.")
* GuestStarPartyMember: During 2014, Matt Chamberlain had to fill in the drums as Matt Cameron was busy touring with Pearl Jam (a band Chamberlain ''also'' filled in for many years before).
* HesBack: "Been Away Too Long"
* HearingVoices: "The Day I Tried To Live". "Black Saturday" also has a brief mention of this as a senility symptom.
* HumongousMecha: The band pilots a strange version of one in the video for "Black Rain."
* ImpaledPalm: The crucified woman in the video of "Jesus Christ Pose".
* ImportantHaircut: Cornell cutting his hair around the time of ''Superuknown''. He's grown it back out since the band reformed.
* IntercourseWithYou: "Big Dumb Sex", a parody of [[UnusualEuphemism such lyrics]] present in HairMetal (unfortunately, [[MisaimedFandom it became popular with them anyway]] due to Music/GunsNRoses).
* JustForFun/IReadThatAs: ''Superunknown'''s title came from Cornell misreading a VHS cover titled "Superclown".
* LongRunnerLineUp: Even if the band is not so active nowadays given Chris and Matt have busy side projects, the current quartet completed 10 years together: 1990 (Ben joined) to 1997 (breakup) and since 2010.
* LoudnessWar: Averted with the recordings released during their first incarnation, but sadly ''King Animal'' falls prey to this.
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: One can take "Blow Up The Outside World" as this.
* LyricalDissonance: A few tracks hide disturbing lyrics under enthusiastic performances.
* MercyKill: "Like Suicide". Chris Cornell wrote the lyrics based on an incident where a bird flew into his house's window and was severely injured, and he killed it with a brick to end its suffering.
** "Black Saturday" is someone asking AFriendInNeed to kill them if they become really inept (inspired by Chris talking with his friends).
* MetalScream: Cornell, in his prime, had a four-octave range, making him one of the most versatile singers in rock music. One of these abilities was his famous belting-style choruses.
-->"Save me... '''with your HA-A-A-A-ANDS!'''"
** His roar at the end of "Jesus Christ Pose" and the prechoruses and choruses of "Slaves and Bulldozers" have to be heard to be believed.
** Let's also not overlook the verses of "Superunknown".
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rei5VFFtO8 "Birth Ritual"]], to the point [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFzT1QSv-7w 2015 Chris couldn't even attempt to repeat it]].
-->"Late for the biiiirth... ritual! [[BigWordShout Rituaaaal! RITUAAAAAL!]] '''[[PunctuatedForEmphasis RI-TU-AAAAAAAL!]]'''").
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness: Generally a 5 ("Head Down") to 6 ("Let Me Drown", "My Wave"). "Black Hole Sun" and the gentler tracks of ''King Animal'' are arguably a (high) 3. A few other tracks like "Jesus Christ Pose", "Slaves & Bulldozers", and "4th of July" arguably reach an 8.
* MurderBallad: "Burden in My Hand" is one about a man killing his former lover in the desert (but with some regret)
* NewSoundAlbum: With ''Superunknown'', the band took on more psychedelic influences and a more accessible sound.
* NightmareSequence: "Worse Dreams"
* NumberOfTheBeast: Parodied and played with in "665" and "667", including a SubliminalSeduction about SantaClaus (as opposed to [[HeavyMetal metal]] bands singing about {{Satan}}).
* PerformanceVideo: "Flower", "Hands All Over", "Loud Love", "Outshined", "Rusty Cage", "My Wave", "Fell on Black Days"
* PopStarComposer
* {{Portmanteau}}: The band's name, and the albums ''Badmotorfinger'', and ''Superunknown'' (which manages to make a quadruple "S" portmanteau: Soundgarden - ''Superunknown'', "Superunknown", "Spoonman").
* PrecisionFStrike:
** Right before the solo in "Gun", Cornell says, "Fuck it up!"
** The songs mentioned under ClusterFBomb above double as a PrecisionFStrike in contrast to the rest of the band's catalog - the two along with "Gun" are the only three by them which use the F-Bomb. (and even if their released version of [[Music/{{Fear}} "I Don't Care About You"]] is {{Bowdlerize}}d, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrK0L0ed8y8 when performed live]] the Precision "Fuck You!"s are intact).
** Also found on "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEaT447uW8M Kyle Petty (Son Of Richard)]]", doubled up with "shit" for good measure.
* {{Remaster}}: ''Screaming Life[=/=]Fopp'', ''Ultramega OK'', ''Badmotorfinger'', and ''Superunknown'' have received remasters, most of which have been packed with demos, live versions, and other unreleased material.
* TheRunnerUpTakesItAll: Despite peaking at #2 on the Billboard Alternative Rock Tracks chart, "Black Hole Sun" ranked #1 on the year-end chart in 1994, due in part to longevity on the list.
* SelfBackingVocalist: Chris Cornell handled almost all of the vocals on their studio albums. On stage, Matt does some backing vocals to compensate.
* ShoutOut:
** ''Badmotorfinger'' is a reference to Montrose's song "Bad Motor Scooter".
** The video for "Black Rain" features a kid playing the song on ''VideoGame/GuitarHero'' and an appearance by [[WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}} Dethklok]].
* SpecialGuest: Artis the Spoonman in the song named after him (he even complained the band forgot to thank him during the Grammys) and [[Music/PearlJam Mike McCready]] in "Eyelid's Mouth".
* StepUpToTheMicrophone: Ben Shepherd sings "Half", and his predecessor Hiro Yamamoto did so in "Circle of Power".
* StopAndGo: "Black Rain" has an instrumental coda after it seems to end.
* SurrealMusicVideo: The [[NotableMusicVideos highly notable]] video to "Black Hole Sun" featuring a StepfordSuburbia filled with {{stepford smiler}}s whose faces twist and contort (using VisualCompression) to form [[SlasherSmile massive grins]] and gigantic eyes. As you can imagine, this quickly crosses far into the UncannyValley. Eventually, as the lyric goes ("till you all just disappear"), the world of the video gets sucked up into a literal Black Hole during a storm.
** The video for "Jesus Christ Pose" may also count.
* TakeThat: "New Damage" is a subtle dig at the [[UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush right-wing government of the U.S. at the time]].
* TitleTrack: ''Superunknown'' is the only straight example. The nearest is "Loud Love" from ''Louder Than Love''.
* UncommonTime: The band claims that most of their examples of this ("Rusty Cage", "Spoonman", etc. etc. etc.) were actually ''accidental'' -- for example, they didn't realize that the verses in "Spoonman" were in 7/4 until they were done writing the song. The explanation was that they just went along with Cameron's grooves without consciously thinking about what time signatures they were in.
* WalkingShirtlessScene: Prior to ''Superunknown'', Cornell frequently went shirtless or with an open button-down shirt.
* WordSaladLyrics
* {{Yarling}}: On occasion, though not as much as other {{grunge}} acts. Usually it's when Ben Shepherd sings.