Chris Cornell covers The Beatles for Paul McCartney’s birthday – video

Soundgarden and Audioslave singer brings his stripped-back 'Songbook' tour to the London Palladium

Chris Cornell played an intimate acoustic show last night (June 18) at London’s Palladium theatre, covering the likes of Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, and paying tribute to Paul McCartney – in honour of his 70th birthday.

Cornell told the crowd: “It’s Paul McCartney’s birthday today. He’s 70. He was knighted. You know why he was knighted? He paid taxes…which I’m not sure is worth it. People call me sir sometimes, and I didn’t pay shit…but I love him though.”

During the two and a half hour set, Cornell played stripped down, acoustic versions of songs spanning his entire musical career, including hits such as ‘Black Hole Sun’ and ‘Like A Stone’, as well as most of the tracks from his latest solo record, ‘Songbook’.


A talkative Cornell struck up conversations with audience members, who were calling out song requests for him to play. At one point he said the setlist assistance was “more constructive than Parliament”.

After mistakenly hearing one of the requests as ‘Transylvania’, he proceeded to write a short song on the spot, featuring the lines: “It has a bad rep because of Count Dracula/But I say, that was a long time ago/We need to let it go/Do they have a football team?“.

Before playing ‘Wide Awake’, a track off of Audioslave’s third record ‘Revelations’ which was written in response to Hurricane Katrina, Cornell said that although it’s not no longer a “hot topic”, the government’s response to the situation was “disgusting and sickening” and he therefore needs to continue to remind people about it.

To close his show, he covered The Beatles‘ 1967 track ‘A Day In The Life’. You can watch footage of him performing the song below:

Chris Cornell played:
‘Scar On The Sky’
‘As Hope And Promise Fade’
‘Ground Zero’
‘Wide Awake’
‘Can’t Change Me’
‘Man Of Golden Words’/’Comfortably Numb’ (Pink Floyd cover)
‘Never Far Away’
‘All Night Thing’
‘Hunger Strike’
‘Sweet Euphoria’
‘Fell On Black Days’
‘Burden In My Hand’
‘When I’m Down’
‘Call Me A Dog’
‘I Am The Highway’
‘Thank You’ (Led Zeppelin cover)
‘Say Hello 2 Heaven’
‘Like A Stone’
‘Doesn’t Remind Me’
‘Blow Up The Outside World’
‘Cleaning My Gun’
‘Billie Jean’ (Michael Jackson cover)
‘Getaway Car’
‘Black Hole Sun’
‘A Day In The Life’ (The Beatles cover)

Soundgarden recently played their first UK show in 15 years at Download Festival. You can watch a video interview with Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron ahead of their comeback slot, as they discuss reuniting as a band and the sound of their next record, by clicking on the player below.


Soundgarden will be headlining this summer’s Hard Rock Calling festival in London.