Soundgarden is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1984 by lead singer Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bass player Hiro Yamamoto. Matt Cameron became the band’s permanent drummer in 1986 while bass player Ben Shepherd became a permanent replacement for Yamamoto in 1990.
Soundgarden was one of the seminal bands in the creation of grunge, a style of alternative rock that developed in Seattle, and was one of a number of grunge bands signed to the album label Sub Pop. Soundgarden was the first grunge ensemble to sign to a major label (A&M Records, in 1988), though the lineup did not achieve commercial success until they commercialized “grunge” in the early 1990s with Seattle contemporaries Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam.
Soundgarden achieved its biggest success with the 1994 record Superunknown, which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and yielded the Grammy Award-winning singles “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman”. In 1997, the ensemble broke up due to internal strife over its creative direction. On January 1, 2010, Cornell alluded to a Soundgarden reunion. On April 5, 2010, it was announced that Soundgarden would play Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 6–8, 2010. A secret reunion concert under the name “Nudedragons” was held at the Showbox at the Market in Seattle on April 16, 2010. It was Soundgarden’s first show since 1997. The lineup is currently working on a new album, which is slated for release in 2011 or later.
As of 2010, Soundgarden had sold over nine million records in the United States, and an estimated twenty-one million worldwide.