Chris Cornell’s death has music fans mourning the loss of one of the greatest grunge rock singers of all time, but some previously unreleased music by the late singer is now available. In his early years as part of Soundgarden, Cornell famously made a cameo in the movie Singles. But some fans may not realize how heavily Chris was involved in the Cameron Crowe film, or that Crowe initially wanted to see him as a star in the 1992 movie. Matt Dillon played Seattle grunge rock wannabe Cliff Poncier in the movie, but in a new interview with Rolling Stone, Crowe revealed that he saw Chris Cornell as leading man material.
The director revealed that Chris Cornell was very close to producers when they made the Singles soundtrack, which just dropped its 25th-anniversary deluxe release. Cornell and Crowe remained good friends until the singer was found dead in a Detroit hotel room just one day before the reissued soundtrack was released.
“Chris Cornell was another guy who was close to us when we were making the record,” Crowe told Rolling Stone.
“I really loved Soundgarden; they were my favorite band. I originally thought Chris could play the lead, but then I think that turned into too big of a commitment for everybody and so he became the guy he is in the movie, but in the course of making the movie he was close to all of us. He was always around.”
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) May 18, 2017
Not only did Chris Cornell provide his own music for the original 13-song Singles soundtrack, but he discovered the then-little-known band Smashing Pumpkins for a slot on the score with the song “Drown.”
“It was Chris Cornell who said, ‘We just got back from Chicago, we played a great show with this band Smashing Pumpkins, and you should check them out,'” Cameron revealed.
“And I checked them out, and I really loved them. I spoke to Billy Corgan and asked him if he could send any new songs that we could consider for the movie. And he sent I think three songs, and ‘Drown,’ was the last thing on it.”
— Legacy Recordings (@SonyLegacyRecs) April 22, 2017
The Singles creator went on to say that Cornell even made a spinoff Cliff Poncier cassette, titled Poncier, that included the soundtrack song “Seasons” as well as an early incarnation of a future Soundgarden hit. According to Spin, the Poncier EP Includes an early solo acoustic version of “Spoonman,” recorded two years before the song was released on Soundgarden’s 1994 album Superunknown. Other songs included are “Flutter Girl,” “Nowhere But You,” and “Missing.”
“I put on the cassette,” Crowe said.
“And holy sh*t, this is Chris Cornell, as Cliff Poncier, recording all of these songs, with lyrics, and total creative vision, and he has recorded the entire fake, solo cassette. And it’s fantastic. And ‘Seasons’ comes on. And you just can’t help but go, ‘Wow.’ This is a guy who we’ve only known in Soundgarden. And of course he’s incredibly creative, but who’s heard him like this? And we got to use ‘Seasons’ on the soundtrack, and Chris did some of the score. And some of the unreleased score is on the new version of the album.”
The deluxe Singles reissue not only includes Cornell’s solo song “Seasons” and Soundgarden’s blistering “Birth Ritual,” but it also contains the rare Chris Cornell songs “Ferry Boast #3” and “Score Piece #4,” as well as the previously unreleased Poncier EP Chris wrote in honor of the film.
In a recent interview posted by Rolling Stone, Chris Cornell described as “kind of a key factor in what was referred to as the Seattle scene and the Seattle movement.”
While he was a musical advisor on the film and opted not to commit to a starring role, Chris ultimately made a cameo in Singles. Cornell appears in the scene where Cliff Poncier shows off the new car stereo he installed for his neighbor Janet (Bridget Fonda) as they all witness it malfunction and blow the windows out of the car. In the next scene, Chris performs “Birth Ritual” with Soundgarden for a club scene in the film. You can see Chris Cornell in the classic scene below.
The deluxe edition of Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is available now and it includes Chris Cornell’s 1992 EP Poncier.
[Featured Image by Buda Mendes/Getty Images]