We all knew Chris Cornell from his amazing solo music and his time with Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog, but there was a lot more to him than that. To mark what would've been his 53rd birthday, here are 18 things you might not have known about the late singer:


1. Chris’s real name was Christopher John Boyle.

 

2. Chris’s dad was a pharmacist and his mom an accountant.

3. Cornell had five siblings: two older brothers and three younger sisters.

 

4. Chris was a loner and, while rock music helped him with his anxiety around others, during his teenage years he went through a severe depression, dropped out of school and rarely left his house.

5. Before becoming a rocker, Chris worked at a seafood wholesaler and was a sous chef at a seafood restaurant.

 

6. In the early 80s, Chris was part of a cover band called The Shemps that played around Seattle. At one point, the group featured future Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil.

 

7. From 1986 to 1987, Cornell was a member of the satirical Western swing band Center for Disease Control Boys.

 

8. In 1992, Chris and Temple of the Dog members Mike McCready, Jeff Ament and Matt Cameron recorded the song “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)” under the name M.A.C.C. for the 1993 album Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix. The band name was an acronym for its members’ last names.

9. Chris contributed vocals to Alice Cooper’s songs “Stolen Prayer” and “Unholy War,” which he also wrote, from the shock rocker’s 1994 album The Last Temptation.

 

10. In 1999, Chris began his solo career by releasing, Euphoria Morning.

 

11. Chris was the first American male artist to write and perform the theme song to a James Bond movie. The track was “You Know My Name” and it accompanied the opening credits for 2006’s Casino Royale.

 

12. In 2007, Chris was involved in a motorcycle accident when he was rear-ended by a truck in LA. He said he was catapulted 20 feet into the air but thankfully was able to walk away from the accident with only cuts and bruises.

13. “The Keeper,” the song Chris wrote for the 2011 movie Machine Gun Preacher, was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

 

14. Chris co-wrote American Idol winner David Cook’s first single, “Light On.”

 

15. Chris had a cameo in the 1992 movie Singles.

16. A decade ago, Cornell owned the Paris restaurant Black Calavados, but it has since closed.

 

17. Chris was an avid reader. One of his favorite authors was Sylvia Plath.

 

18. Chris sold over 30-million albums worldwide.

Rest in peace, Chris.

Photo Credit: Getty