Heart's Ann Wilson shares her memories of "complicated, dynamic, troubled" Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell

Ann Wilson / Chris Cornell
(Image credit: Ann Wilson: Robin Marchant/Getty Images / Chris Cornell: Todd Williamson/Getty Images for EB Kids )

Heart vocalist Ann Wilson has shared warm memories of her friend, Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, and admitted that the singer's death in 2017 "knocked the wind out of everybody who knew him."

Wilson was speaking to music journalist Eamon O'Neill for an interview promoting her forthcoming solo album, Fierce Bliss, which is set for release on April 29. In the course of the conversation the singer speaks of the friendships which developed among the Seattle music community - "Everyone knew everybody else, and there wasn’t really like a generational separation between musicians," she remembers - and reveals that she was charmed and honoured when Chris Cornell inducted Heart into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2013.

"I didn’t know that he was going to induct us," Wilson admits, "so when it came and Chris was up there doing it, it was really emotional because it was so personal and so intimate."

"He was such a sweet soul," she continues, "complicated, dynamic, troubled. And just to see him up there just glowing, and giving this thing was really moving to me, I remember that. And I had no idea that he even cared about our band that much. We knew each other as friends, but we never talked together about Heart before, so it was kind of a cool moment."

Five years on, following Cornell's passing, Wilson paid her own tribute to her friend by covering Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun with Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell at the 2018 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony.

"It was a very poignant, I guess, closure, in a way, of the circle, for sure," she tells O'Neill, going on to speak about the singer's passing in May 2017. "It pretty much knocked the wind out of everybody who knew him, because although there were hints of it over the years that he was deeply unhappy, no one expected that. So it took a minute to absorb that loss."

Elsewhere in the interview, Wilson suggests that Heart may record new music for release in 2023 to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

“It’s going to be a very cool event," she says, "and yeah, we’re going to make a really good thing out of the big birthday celebration, and maybe even an album, so we’ll see. It’s happening, I just can’t talk about it yet because it’s so early.”

You can read the full interview with Ann Wilson on the eonmusic webite.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.