Tom Morello On How Chris Cornell Wrote “Like a Stone”


Chris Cornell, known for his work with Soundgarden, Audioslave, and as a solo artist, is often considered one of the best rock singers ever. He was ranked #17 on Billboard’s “50 Greatest Rock Lead Singers of All Time” list in 2023. A quick Google search for “greatest rock singers” shows his picture between Robert Plant and Freddie Mercury.

In a recent interview at Hellfest 24 with Loud TV, guitarist Tom Morello from Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine talked about how easily Cornell could write songs, especially one Audioslave classic.

“Part of the brilliance of Chris Cornell was that no matter what you threw at him, whether it was like a complicated, heavy riff or a very, very simple and sparse chord progression, he instantly came up with some brilliant melody, haunting or terrifying melody,” Morello explained (transcribed by Ultimate Guitar). “That was very much the case with ‘Like a Stone.'”

Morello recounted the creation of the song, saying:

“The first time that we were writing it, he sang not the words, but sang the melody that you hear on the record, and I played the solo that you hear on the record. So it was one of those songs that it felt like it was almost ‘unearthed’ in a way, and we just tapped into something that was very soulful.”

Morello also shared how he honors Cornell at every performance:

“At every show I play, I always include something in memory of Chris. We might perform ‘Like a Stone’ today, spoiler alert,” he said.

Chris Cornell tragically took his own life on May 18, 2017, at the age of 52, shortly after a Soundgarden concert at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. Audioslave, the band formed by Cornell along with former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk, split in 2007 after releasing three albums. However, they reunited for a one-off performance on January 17, 2017, at Prophets of Rage’s Anti-Inaugural Ball at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles, California, just a few months before Cornell’s untimely death.

It’s really an undisputed fact that Cornell’s impact on music and his legacy with Audioslave continues to be remembered and celebrated. His ability to create unforgettable music and his powerful performances have left a huge impact on the rock genre, earning him a place among the greatest rock singers of all time.

Some also feel that the next Chris Cornell is here in 2024.