Saturday, April 23, 1994

Soundgarden “Black Hole Sun” charted

Black Hole Sun


Writer(s): Chris Cornell (see lyrics here)

Released: May 4, 1994

First Charted: April 23, 1994

Peak: 24a US, 25 CB, 16 GR, 13 RR, 17 AR, 2 MR, 12 UK, 5 CN, 6 AU, 5 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 250.0 video, 514.57 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Soundgarden formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1984. The rock band became a cornerstone of the grunge movement in the early 1990s. Their first album, 1988’s Ultramega OK, failed to chart. However, Louder Than Love reached #108 in 1989 and Badmotorfinger got to #39 in 1991 and went double platinum. They exploded with their fourth album, 1994’s Superunknown. The album reached #1 and went six-times platinum.

Five songs from the album reached the top 20 on Billboard’s album rock chart. The highest was third single, “Black Hole Sun,” which got to #1. Billboard named the song #1 of the year for their modern rock tracks chart, even though it only peaked at #2. The song also went to #1 in Iceland and reached the top 10 in Australia, Canada, France, and Ireland. WK It won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. VH1 ranked it one of the 100 greatest hard rock songs.

The band’s lead singer, Chris Cornell, wrote the song while driving home to Seattle. He misunderstood a TV news anchor, thinking he heard “black hole sun.” He thought it would make an amazing song title and liked the juxtaposition of a black hole, “a void, a giant circle of nothing, and then you have the sun, the giver of all life.” SF He said, “It all came together, pretty much the whole arrangement…I spent a lot of time spinning those melodies in my head so I wouldn’t forget them. I got home and whistled it into a Dictaphone.” WK

Cornell said the lyrics were “a stream of consciousness based on the feeling I got from the chorus and title.” WK He also said “lyrically it’s probably the closest to me just playing with words for words’ sake…I have no idea how you’d begin to take that one literally…I was just sucked in by the music and I was painting a picture with the lyrics. There was no real idea to get across.” WK


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First posted 10/2/2022; last updated 2/3/2023.

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