Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard: Chris Cornell is the GOAT

Chris Cornell holding an acoustic guitar in 2009
(Image credit: Joby Sessions/Total Guitar Magazine)

Was Chris Cornell the greatest rock musician of all time? According to Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, Cornell may very well be the G.O.A.T.

Gossard worked with Cornell on Temple of the Dog, the supergroup formed in the wake of Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood's death. And Gossard remembers how Cornell was able to write masterful songs despite his grief, and cut through the heavy sound that was dominating the music scene at the time.

And having seen Cornell's genius up close, Gossard believes the late Soundgarden man may indeed have been the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time).

Temple of the Dog's self-titled 1991 album featured Gossard and Cornell, along with Jeff Ament, Mike McCready, Matt Cameron and Eddie Vedder. It was released just four month's before Pearl Jam's debut Ten.

Gossard tells Riff TV: "The more you listen to Chris and the more you dig in to what he did when he was here, I'm just more and more impressed by him and in awe of his natural talent. We made that Temple of the Dog record and we rehearsed like four times.

"He showed us the songs, we kind of knew how to play them. Him and Matt Cameron — Matt Cameron was just unbelievable — they just showed us how to make a record in five days. I listen to that record and I don't even remember playing half of it, and it's probably one of the best records I've ever been involved with."

Cornell's dedication to the record, and his ability to pivot away from the heavy grunge sound that was so central to the time, greatly impressed Gossard.

He adds: "He was so generous to give us the opportunity to make a record after we had lost our singer in Mother Love Bone to a heroin overdose. It was a horrible time.

"He loved Andy. He lived with Andy and spent a lot of time with him. He was just like, 'Let's make a record together.' He wrote these beautiful, sensitive songs at a time when all of it was heavy. He was like, 'I can do a ballad, I can do a love song, I can do this stuff that's outside the genre'. At the time, it was very different.

"He's the great...he's the G.O.A.T maybe."

Cornell took his own life aged 52 on May 18, 2017 in a Detroit hotel room, following a Soundgarden gig at the city's Fox Theatre.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.