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New Chris Cornell songs on tap as Soundgarden, widow settle

Soundgarden and Vicky Cornell, widow of the band’s late frontman, Chris Cornell, announced Monday that they have settled a lawsuit, allowing for the release of songs Cornell recorded with the rockers before his 2017 death.

Vicky Cornell sued Soundgarden in federal court in 2019 over royalties from recordings her husband made before taking his own life. She said they were intended to be a solo project, but the band contended they 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,” said a statement posted to Vicky and Chris Cornell’s Instagram accounts. “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.”

Cornell, the band’s lead singer, died in 2017 at age 52. He was found dead inside a Detroit hotel room hours after performing with Soundgarden at a concert. A coroner’s autopsy ruled the death a suicide by hanging.

Months before his death, Cornell made the seven disputed recordings in his Miami Beach home studio, according to the lawsuit, whose defendants included the band’s guitarist Kim Thayil, drummer Matt Cameron and bassist Ben Shepherd.

After a contentious back-and-forth between the band and Vicky Cornell, resolution seemed possible in June 2021 when both sides agreed to return control of Soundgarden’s social media accounts to the band, the Seattle Times reported.

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

Separately, Cornell’s family settled a lawsuit in 2021 with a doctor who they alleged overprescribed anti-anxiety drugs such as Ativan to Cornell before he died. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Known for his brawny and soulful vocals, Cornell formed Soundgarden with bandmates Thayil and Hiro Yamamoto in 1984 in Seattle. Despite several lineup changes, the band helped define the grunge music scene in the mid-1980s and into the ‘90s alongside other Seattle-based groups including Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Soundgarden, which earned two Grammys, disbanded in 1997 but reunited in 2010.

During their hiatus, Cornell stayed busy, recording solo work and forming the supergroup Audioslave with members of Rage Against the Machine. Cornell’s solo work included the opening-credits theme song for the 2006 James Bond movie “Casino Royale.”

After reuniting, Soundgarden in 2012 released its sixth and most recent studio album, “King Animal.” When released, the seven newly-freed tracks will be the band’s first output in more than a decade.

Cornell has writing credits on all of the unreleased songs, including sole credit on “Cancer” and “Stone Age Mind.” He wrote “Road Less Traveled,” “Orphans” and “At Ophians Door” with Cameron, “Ahead of the Dog” with Thayil and “Merrmas” with Shepherd.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared on LA Times

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