The inspiration for the 1994 hit song came to Chris Cornell by accident.
“I had misheard a news anchor, and I thought he said ‘black hole sun,’ but he said something else,” Cornell recalled during a 2014 conversation with Entertainment Weekly. “So I was corrected, but after that I thought, ‘Well, he didn’t say it, but I heard it,’ and it created this image in my brain, and I thought it would be an amazing song title. It was a thought-provoking phrase, and it became that song.”
“I spent a lot of time spinning those melodies in my head so I wouldn’t forget them,” he remembered while speaking to Uncut. “I got home and whistled it into a Dictaphone. The next day I brought it into the real world, assigning a couple of key changes in the verse to make the melodies more interesting. Then I wrote the lyrics and that was similar — a stream of consciousness based on the feeling I got from the chorus and title.”
He guessed later that the song was probably written in less than 15 minutes.
Watch it being performed live here:
YouTube / Kattiven Sergenten
Check out a demo version here:
YouTube / Soundgarden