Temple Of The Dog
Temple Of The Dog (1991)
The album that opened the door to grunge rock for me was released thirty years ago today. Temple Of The Dog came together when Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell approached Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament of Mother Love Bone with music that he had written in tribute to Mother Love Bone vocalist Andrew Wood, who died of a heroin overdose on March 19th, 1990.
By the time Temple Of The Dog began recording what would be their only album in November 1990, the group included Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron. It also included two guys who were working on a project with Gossard and Ament at the time: Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready. The four would go on to form Pearl Jam before the year had ended.
My stepsister introduced me to a lot of music in the early 90's, but this was the first album that she played for me that I really connected with. I remember that she used to make mixtapes for me of the songs that I liked, and those tapes almost always included Say Hello 2 Heaven and Hunger Strike. In the years that followed, those tapes also included music from Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and other artists from the Seattle music scene of the early 90's and the bands they inspired. Those bands became the music of my high school years, and it all began with Temple Of The Dog.
As a teenager, my favorite song on the album was Hunger Strike. Over the years, the death of loved ones and the loss of others have had me instead coming back to Chris Cornell's hauntingly beautiful tribute to his late friend and the opening track on the album:
Temple Of The Dog (1991)
Please mother mercyTake me from this placeAnd the long-winded cursesI hear in my headThe words never listenAnd teachers, they never learnMy warmth from the candleThough I feel too cold to burnHe came from an islandThen he died from the streetAnd he hurt so bad like a soul breakin'But he never said nothin' to meSay hello to heaven...New like a babyLost like a prayerThe sky was your playgroundBut the cold ground was your bedPoor StargazerShe's got no tears in her eyesBut fool like a whisperShe knows that love heals all wounds with timeNow it seem like too much loveIs never enoughYou better seek out another road'Cause this one has ended abruptSay hello to heaven...I never wantedTo write these words down for youWith the pages of phrasesOf all the things we'll never doSo I blow out the candle and I put you to bedSince you can't say to me nowHow the dog broke your boneThere's just one thing left to be saidSay hello to heaven...