Soundgarden and Chris Cornell’s widow settle recordings lawsuit

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The widow of singer Chris Cornell and his former bandmates in Soundgarden said they have resolved her lawsuit against them, clearing the way for the release of the band’s final recordings more than five years after his death.

Vicky Cornell sued Soundgarden in federal court in 2019 over royalties from recordings her husband had made that she said were intended to be a solo project but the band contended were part of their partnership with him.

“Soundgarden and Vicky Cornell, on behalf of the Estate of Chris Cornell, are happy to announce they have reached an amicable out of court resolution,” the two sides said in a statement.

“The reconciliation marks a new partnership between the two parties, which will allow Soundgarden fans around the world to hear the final songs that the band and Chris were working on.”

Members of Soundgarden, from left, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Chris Cornell and Ben Shepherd, at the iTunes Festival showcase during the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, in 2014
Members of Soundgarden, from left, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Chris Cornell and Ben Shepherd, in 2014 (Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

Chris Cornell made the seven disputed recordings in his Miami Beach home studio in the months before his death in May 2017 after a Soundgarden concert in Detroit, according to the lawsuit, whose defendants included the band’s guitarist Kim Thayil, drummer Matt Cameron and bassist Ben Shepherd.

It alleged the band was denying hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties from Vicky Cornell and the couple’s two children.

In 2021, Cornell’s family settled a different lawsuit against a doctor they alleged over-prescribed him drugs before his death, which was ruled a suicide.

Soundgarden were founded in 1984, and broke nationally during the rise of Seattle’s grunge music scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Their best-known songs include Black Hole Sun, Jesus Christ Pose, Outshined and Spoonman.

Cornell was also part of the bands Audioslave and Temple of the Dog.

“The two parties are united and coming together to propel, honour and build upon Soundgarden’s incredible legacy,” Monday’s statement said, “as well as Chris’s indelible mark on music history as one of the greatest songwriters and vocalists of all time.”

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