Reach Down

Album: Temple Of The Dog (1990)

Songfacts®:

  • Along with "Say Hello 2 Heaven," this is one of two songs Chris Cornell wrote in memory of Andy Wood a few weeks after his death. Wood, who died from a drug overdose in 1990 at age 24, was the lead singer of Mother Love Bone and good friends with Cornell. The Soundgarden frontman formed Temple of the Dog with Wood's bandmates Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament to record an album's worth of material they came up with in reaction to Wood's death. This project led to the formation of Pearl Jam.
  • Mike McCready told Rolling Stone: "With 'Reach Down' I remember that Chris was like, 'Hey, let's make a super-long song that's the first song on the record that will piss off the record company. Let's make it the first single.' The demo itself was pretty long with Chris playing drums, guitar, bass and singing. I wanted it to be as true to the demo as possible. There's a guitar part that follows his vocal. I wanted to emulate that. I did a couple of guitar passes, but I didn't go as hard as I could because I was very intimidated by this big song. I felt like I could play pretty great. I was way into Stevie Ray Vaughan and I loved blues and all that, but I wanted to be sure I wasn't overstepping my bounds until Chris just said, 'Hey, just go for it.'

    I remember I then did it in one take, or at least I think it was one take. I got so into it that my headphones fell off my head towards the end, like the last solo. I just kept playing an E and I could barely hear the speaker. I was like, 'Well, I can't do any better than that.' I just kind of went somewhere else. It was very cathartic."
  • Jeff Ament said in the same Rolling Stone interview: "We were really into Neil Young and Crazy Horse at the time. I think 'Reach Down' was our attempt to write a 9-minute Crazy Horse song.

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