Website last updated: 7-5-2024

Chris Cornell (1964-2017) - Life Is Gone In A Spin Of A Wheel

By: Ajay Chowdhury
Chris Cornell Casino Royale You Know My Name
FSWL is very sad to report the passing of another member of the 'James Bond family', American singer and songwriter Chris Cornell aged 52 (born in Seattle on 20th July 1964). Cornell wrote and performed the excellent theme song for Casino Royale in 2006. We send our deep condolences to his family and thank him for his contribution to the 007 phenomenon.

Eon Productions producer Barbara Broccoli reacted to his death via social media:

"Chris Cornell ushered in the new era of Bond with his adrenaline fuelled song "You Know My Name" for Casino Royale. He was a gentleman and a true artist and we loved every moment of our collaboration with him. Michael and I and the entire Bond family mourn his tragic loss.”

Daniel Craig has also commented on the passing of Chris: "This is very sad news, my thoughts are with his family."

David Arnold, composer of the music in Casino Royale and a friend Chris, commented:
"I'm just incredibly sad. I've only happy memories of him. A kind, caring, loving man. Sending my love to his family."

Also Caterina Murino (Solange in Casino Royale):

"My life career changed in 2006 and Chris made the soundtrack of my new path. All my prayers to his soul and to his family."

And Jeffrey Wright (Felix Leiter in Casino Royale):
"Man, what? Wow., wow. Too soon. Great singer. Super nice dude."

Chris Cornell obituary for FSWL by Ajay Chowdhury:
Chris Cornell, alternative rock legend, whose theme song ‘You Know My Name’ graced Daniel Craig’s debut as 007 in Casino Royale has passed away at the tragic young age of 52. Co-written with David Arnold, the anthemic tune had intriguing lyrics and a powerhouse rock vocal. It was bombastic Bond at its best and became a worldwide hit in the winter of 2006.

Chris Cornell was the singer-songwriter and founding member behind Temple of the Dog, Soundgarden and Audioslave. Ranked 12th in MTV's “22 Greatest Voices in Music” survey ahead of such icons as David Bowie, Steven Tyler and Bruce Springsteen, Cornell has been called “the single most dynamic rock-and-roll force produced by the Grunge Revolution of the early ’90s.”

As a result of this, he was suggested by Sony’s Head of Music, Lia Vollack, to reposition the Bond franchise in the era of Daniel Craig’s Bond. With hits like ‘Black Hole Sun’, he was capable of writing evocative songs laced with mystery. In an interview for SOME KIND OF HERO: The Remarkable Story of the James Bond Films, Chris Cornell said his theme song, ‘You Know My Name’ was, ”based on [Ian Fleming's] CASINO ROYALE so I had that and I was given a script and was allowed to see a rough edit. The theme song for Live and Let Die (1973) had a big impact on me as a kid as did Sean Connery’s James Bond. I wanted [my song] to live in the film. I ended up speaking with David Arnold for a long time. I loved the idea that if I came up with a melody that’s in the first few minutes of the movie and that reverberates throughout the rest of the film.” The song’s co-writer and film’s composer, David Arnold explained to us why Cornell was a good fit “You try and find someone that sounds like the character. Chris obviously had a voice that could kick a wall down, something that Daniel could physically do, so it felt like that was an interesting match.” Chris Cornell and David Arnold often played the song together whilst doing live promotion for the track in late 2006 and latterly live in concerts.

Chris Cornell in the studio recording You Know My Name
Cornell’s songs have been featured in many other blockbuster films, such as Miami Vice, Collateral, Mission Impossible: II, Great Expectations, True Romance, Singles and The Basketball Diaries. He later wrote ‘The Keeper’ for Marc ‘Quantum of Solace’ Forster’s 2011 film Machine Gun Preacher which earned him a Golden Globe nomination and ‘The Promise’ for the upcoming movie about the Armenian genocide of the same name.

Cornell’s representative, Brian Bumbery, said his death was “sudden and unexpected.” His family have asked for privacy.”

Editor's Note:
SOME KIND OF HERO: The Remarkable Story of the James Bond Films by Matthew Field & Ajay Chowdhury, now updated to include a detailed account of the making of SPECTRE (2015), is due out in paperback in July 2017 published by The History Press.

Chris Cornell is 'only' the second James Bond main title artist to have passed away with Matt Munro (singer of the theme song for From Russia with Love) being the other.

Photo above:
Chris Cornell with his wife Vicky at Odeon Leicester Square cinema in London for the World premiere of Casino Royale (which FSWL also attended). Copyright © 2006 Danjaq LLC. & Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). All rights reserved.

For more information about Chris Cornell's career, check out his official site.



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