I Am The Highway

Album: Audioslave (2002)
Charted: 66
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Songfacts®:

  • 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."

Comments: 6

  • Mflo from HawaiiJenni Layne from Hiram, Ga. You obviously know nothing about depression or suicide or his music. Your comments are exactly the pervasive stench in society. You think this has something to do with being selfish? That it has something to do with him thinking that he didn't realize that he had millions of fans and people that loved him? You call him an idiot. In the world of pervasive, perfect, curators of pictures. The world gives empty love and we are all numb because of it. You see you can be surrounded by people and still be alone, numb. To have so much love for everyone, daughter, Son, Wife, Mother, Father and still feel empty. Everyday finding the energy to put on the mask of joy struggling to find a reason to live. Always afraid someone will see through it and somehow will become infected with a numbness you can't understand. That he likely realized that he should feel and be what everyone else tells him he should be. Happy. That you think depression is just a matter of being happy for what you have and the people that love you. Shows you know nothing about him or what he was struggling with and may you never know it.
  • Jenni Layne from Hiram, GaHe didn't commit suicide OR die by suicide, and it is so upsetting when everyone immediately buys the reports and paid examiners. There have been people who have made certain everyone knows they will never kill themselves, who then are reported to have done just that, and no one objects to their lies. Chris loved his kids and wanted to be there to watch them grow into amazing humans. He was loved by all. You don't kill yourself when everybody loves you everywhere you go. That is common sense, and especially if you have ever felt the pain of suicidal thoughts. You are not selfish. You really believe you will not be hurting anyone by ending your life because no one really loves you at all. Chris was a brilliant man, and he would have had to be an idiot to believe no one would be hurt by his passing. And here we are, stuck in this world where you get a report that you died one way, and everyone assumes it is true. Even his own wife? I guess she never really knew his mind....or she was involved somehow.
  • AnonymousChris Cornell died because of The Forgotten Children along with others he knew of the pedophilia running ramped in the industry and the world do him justice by recognizing your self speak out against it don't go quietly LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!!!
  • Circe801 from Simewherei feel that this is not a song about a love relationship, but of a relationship with humans he has known. i know what it's like to be an outsider, and prefer to remain one.
    in Cgris' lyrics he refers to "pigs" at least twice. people ARE pigs.
    RIP, beautiful man...
  • Anne from Boston, MaChris Cornell, beautiful soul, may you be resting in peace.
    Chris Cornell did not commit suicide. He died by suicide. Cause of death was suicide. Let’s drop the word “committed” - it’s Archaic, harmful and offensive.
  • Alberto Rodriguez from Palm Beach Florida One of the most beautiful songs ever written about redemption and separation from a person who never appreciated you. A pearl. Love you Chris. My brother.
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