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"Black Rain" is a single by the American rock band Soundgarden, featuring lyrics written by frontman Chris Cornell and music written by bassist Ben Shepherd and guitarist Kim Thayil. The single debuted at number 24 and number 14 on the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart and the US Billboard Rock Songs chart respectively in August 2010.[1] It is also Soundgarden's only song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #96. The song appears on the compilation album Telephantasm and on the music video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and Guitar Hero Live. It was the first single that Soundgarden had released since 1997.[2]

"Black Rain"
Soundgarden black rain.png
Single by Soundgarden
from the album Telephantasm
  • "Black Rain" (Album version)
  • "Beyond the Wheel" (Live)
ReleasedAugust 17, 2010
FormatCD single, 7" Vinyl
Recorded1991, 2010
GenreHeavy metal, grunge, alternative metal, progressive metal
4:09 (Radio edit)
Songwriter(s)Ben Shepherd, Kim Thayil (music)
Chris Cornell (lyrics)
Soundgarden singles chronology
"Bleed Together"
"Black Rain"
"The Telephantasm"

Origin and recordingEdit

The song was mostly recorded during sessions for Badmotorfinger in 1991. According to Kim Thayil, it was never properly finished - "There was drums and bass and some rhythm guitar and some scratch vocals and that was about it." - because the band did not like the arrangement, but was eventually salvaged by the "magic of Pro Tools",[3] leading him to say that "[In] many ways, it's a new song"[4] In 2010, the band reworked the original recording with Down on the Upside co-producer Adam Kasper, who was working with the band on archival material. Cornell noted that when they listened to the original recording for the first time after almost two decades, he immediately remembered the problems he had with the song. Cornell explained that the original version of the song was much longer, and that he was unhappy with how it was arranged. He was also dissatisfied with the lyrics in the chorus. After so many years, however, Cornell noted that the issues seemed "easy to resolve". For the new mix, the music was re-arranged, the chorus vocals were re-written and re-recorded by Cornell, and new guitar overdubs were added.[5]


The verse is notable for being in the time signature 9/8. In an interview with USA Today, Cornell noted that "Black Rain" captures "that super heavy version (of the band) we were finally realizing to its fullest potential about 1991."[6]

Release and receptionEdit

"Black Rain" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.[7]

Music videoEdit

The music video for the song, the first for Soundgarden in over a decade, premiered on on September 20, 2010. It was directed by Brendon Small of Metalocalypse and is the first artist-driven music video to be based on the show. Virtual band Dethklok also make cameo appearances in the video.[8]

Track listingEdit

Radio promo
1."Black Rain (Radio edit)"4:09
2."Black Rain (Album version)"5:24
7" vinyl single included with Super Deluxe versions of Telephantasm
1."Black Rain"5:24
2."Beyond the Wheel" (Live at Showbox, 2010)5:38


Chart (2010) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[9] 90
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[10] 44
Canada Rock (Billboard)[11] 8
UK Rock and Metal (Official Charts Company)[12] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 96
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[14] 14
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[15] 10
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[16] 20
US Rock Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[17] 9


  1. ^ Chart Highlights - Retrieved August 17, 2010
  2. ^ Unreleased Soundgarden Track Due On 'Guitar Hero' -
  3. ^ Kim Thayil: 'We Really Kinda Grew Up Together'
  4. ^ "Kim Thayil Tells Stories of Soundgarden’s Best Songs". Rolling Stone. September 28, 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  5. ^ Interview: Chris Cornell. Archived September 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine WAAF Radio. September 13, 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  6. ^ Soundgarden - Black Rain
  7. ^ clarefromscotland (December 2, 2010). "Chris Cornell [Unofficial] News: Soundgarden's "Black Rain" nominated for Grammy". Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  8. ^ "Soundgarden Gets Animated In 'Black Rain' Clip". Billboard.
  9. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  10. ^ "Soundgarden Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  11. ^ "Soundgarden Chart History (Canada Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  12. ^ "Official Rock & Metal Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  13. ^ "Soundgarden Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  14. ^ "Soundgarden Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "Soundgarden Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  16. ^ "Soundgarden Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  17. ^ "Soundgarden – Chart history – Billboard Rock Digital Song Sales". Billboard. Retrieved November 4, 2017.

External linksEdit