I Am The Highway

Album: Audioslave (2002)
Charted: 66
  • On this early Audioslave track, frontman Chris Cornell is claiming his self-worth after being taken for granted in his relationships. "I am not your rolling wheels, I am the highway," he sings. He determines the only person he can rely on is himself, but the road to independence is a long one: "I put millions of miles under my heels, and still too close to you I feel."
  • Ann Wilson of Heart recorded this for her 2018 album, Immortal. The collection of cover songs paid tribute to musicians who recently died (Cornell committed suicide in 2017). Wilson connects "I Am The Highway" to Cornell's inability to deal with fame. She told Tone Deaf: "The expectations that were put on him being the voice of a generation and a superstar of the 90's and 2000's and stuff was too much for him."

    Wilson released a statement explaining why she chose this particular song to honor Cornell: "The song is strong, confident, spiritual. It's about a person who refuses to be tied down to the mundane, who is constantly looking for freedom and independence on a more universal scale, not just ordinary everyday reality. It was the cry of a soul, and it's a beautiful song. Chris and I were friends; we had a lot in common, we were both outsiders in a way. He left us with amazing music."
  • The song opens with the lyric "Pearls and swine, bereft of me," which is a biblical reference to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 7:6, which states: "Do not throw pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet." In other words, don't share anything of value with someone who refuses to appreciate it.
  • Cornell began playing an acoustic version in the middle of the band's live sets and the positive response gave him the courage to bring the approach to some of his other tunes, which prompted his solo acoustic Songbook tour in 2011. He told Walmart Soundcheck: "That song in particular was the first one I stood up in front of a lot of people and played acoustically in Audioslave shows, and it was a kind of scary thing to do. It was an important thing that the band backed me up doing it."
  • This peaked at #3 on the Alternative chart (then known as the Modern Rock chart) and #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
  • This was used on the teen drama One Tree Hill in the 2006 episode "Can't Stop This Thing We've Started."
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