Audioslave‘s self-titled debut album is now 20 years old.
First released on November 18, 2002, the record introduced the world to the hard rock supergroup, made up of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk. It marked the first new, original music from the Rage trio since the “Killing in the Name” outfit broke up in 2000, while Cornell had begun a solo career following Soundgarden’s split in 1997.
Combining Cornell’s grunge wail with the funk metal instrumentation of Rage, Audioslave provided a sound not heard in either party’s previous bands. Speaking with ABC Audio around the album’s 15th anniversary, Morello described Cornell as a “unique and extraordinary crafter of melody.”
“You could literally throw anything at him, whether it was one chord or a riff or any chord progression, and he would some craft some beautiful, Cornell-ian melody out of it, kind of like out of the ether,” Morello said.
Fans heard just that in singles including “Cochise,” “Like a Stone,” “Show Me Hot to Live” and “I Am the Highway.” The album is now certified triple Platinum by the RIAA.
Audioslave released two more albums — 2005’s Out of Exile and 2006’s Revelations — before breaking up in 2007. They reunited for a one-off show in 2017, and future Audioslave shows seemed like a possibility until Cornell’s death later that year.
Following Cornell’s passing, Morello, Commerford and Wilk would often perform “Like a Stone” in the late vocalist’s honor with their Prophets of Rage project. Meanwhile, the 2019 Cornell tribute show was named after “I Am the Highway.”
In October of this year, the “Like a Stone” video hit 1 billion views on YouTube.
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