In the early ’90s, Temple of the Dog moved us all with their passionate version of the song “Hunger Strike.” It featured a then emerging Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell and the newly named singer Eddie Vedder for the soon-to-be-huge Pearl Jam. Now, on the 30th anniversary of the song’s initial release, Cornell’s daughter Toni Cornell has posted her heartfelt cover along with a moving passage about her late father.
“‘Hunger Strike’ was released 30 years ago today. It’s not only one of the most iconic songs of all time but one of my personal favorites,” says Toni. “I recorded it for Music Lives to raise money for Covid relief in April 2020 and in tribute to my dad who would have been the first to do everything he could to help. (Full song in reel).”
She adds, “I love you daddy and I’m so proud of what you created, who you are and everything you believed in. This song represents all of that to me. #templeofthedog #chriscornell”
Temple of the Dog emerged in the aftermath of the death of Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood, who sadly died of a heroin overdose in 1990. Chris Cornell, who had been Wood’s roommate, started to write music as a way to cope with the feelings of loss.
“That was the only thing I could really think of to do. The songs I wrote weren’t really stylistically like something my band Soundgarden would be used to playing or be natural for us to do, but it was material that Andy really would have liked, so I didn’t really want to just throw it out the window or put it away in a box,” said Chris Cornell in a 1991 interview with KISW.
From there he reached out to Mother Love Bone’s Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament to see if they would be okay with him recording the songs and gauge their interest in taking part. “It sort of at first was this requiem thing but it ended up just sort of being, ‘Let’s make a record,’ this cool collaboration and that’s what it sort of turned out to be, really,” stated Cornell. Eventually the grouping grew to include Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron and the guitarist in Stone and Jeff’s new band, Mike McCready. Vedder later jumped in for vocal assistance on “Hunger Strike.”
The album initially arrived with little fanfare, but took off with “Hunger Strike” leading the way nearly a year later after both Soundgarden and Pearl Jam emerged in the grunge explosion in the fall of 1991.
Check out Toni’s version above and the video for the original version below:
Temple of the Dog, “Hunger Strike”