Chris Cornell was remembered at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards with a moment of silence, but the late Soundgarden frontman’s fans are being extremely vocal about the minute-long tribute. Billboard posted a video of the last minute Chris Cornell tribute, which had Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds offering a few words about the late singer. Cornell was found dead in a Detroit hotel room after a Soundgarden concert last week, and his death was ruled a suicide.
In a short speech, Reynolds talked about how Chris helped shape grunge rock genre and how his work became a lasting influence on the entire music industry.
“Although tonight is a time to celebrate the music and artists of the past year, it’s also a time to remember someone we lost this week,” Reynolds said.
“Soundgarden and Audioslave’s Chris Cornell was a true innovator, a musical architect and a pioneer on the cutting edge of the Seattle grunge movement. He was a prolific songwriter, a legendary performer, a singer who had a voice for the ages and a philanthropic whose Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation helped so many children around the world. Even though Chris is gone, his legacy endures. We send our respects as well as our love to Chris’ family at this time.”
The Imagine Dragons singer then asked the crowd to join him in a moment of silence (which didn’t really happen in the noisy auditorium) as a large monitor screen lit up with a photo of Chris Cornell.
Unfortunately, many of Chris Cornell’s fans were upset with the mini tribute. One fan called the tribute “pathetic” and another said it was “a joke.” Many other fans called the Chris Cornell tribute “lame,” with one questioning why late rapper Biggie Smalls had a five-minute segment dedicated to him, and Chris got only a minute.
That Chris Cornell tribute last night at the BBMA was pathetic. That was all that I was interested in. Props to Imagine Dragons though.— Austin D. (@AustinD70) May 22, 2017
Bands all over the world have been doing amazing tributes but the Billboard Music Awards could only do a "moment" 4 Chris Cornell?? ????— Juriana Salinas (@JurianaSalinas) May 22, 2017
The ill-received Chris Cornell tribute isn’t the first time the Billboard Music Awards has been slammed for an inappropriate remembrance. The high-profile awards show has been criticized in the past, most notably last May year when Madonna was selected to pay tribute to music icon Prince and her performance was panned by diehard fans of the late “Purple Rain” singer.
Most of the fans who were upset by the Chris Cornell tribute meant no disrespect to Reynolds or Imagine Dragons. The issue seems to be more about the length of the tribute, which didn’t include a video or musical remembrance.
Ahead of the live show, Dan Reynolds told a reporter he was asked to say a few words about Chris and his impact on the music industry.
“I think his impact is indefinable,” Dan said.
“I don’t know how I’m going to do it but I’ll try to say some words….This has been a sad week for the industry.”
While the BBMAs didn’t get it exactly right, plenty of Cornell’s peers in the music world did. In the days since his death, Chris Cornell has been remembered by U2, Ryan Adams, Metallica, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many more with Soundgarden covers or onstage dedications during concerts all over the world. Slipknot’s Corey Taylor also led a tribute to Cornell at The Rock on the Range Festival, where Soundgarden was scheduled to headline on Friday night. Also, longtime pal Tom Morello posted a poem he wrote about Chris, while comedian Jim Carrey posted a photo of a guitar Cornell and his band gave him back in the day when they were musical guests on Saturday Night Live.
This is the guitar that Chris Cornell and Soundgarden gave to me the night we did SNL together. A very special man. pic.twitter.com/waPpDdOWvx— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) May 21, 2017
You can see the tribute to Chris Cornell at the Billboard Music Awards below.
[Featured Image by Buda Mendes/Getty Images]