Soundgarden was an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1984 by lead singer and drummer Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Matt Cameron became the band´s permanent drummer in 1986 while bassist Ben Shepherd became a permanent replacement for Yamamoto in 1990.
Soundgarden was one of the key bands in the creation of grunge, a style of alternative rock that developed in Seattle and was based around the band´s record label Sub Pop. Soundgarden was the first grunge band to sign to a major label, though the band did not achieve commercial success until Seattle contemporaries Nirvana and Pearl Jam popularized grunge in the early 1990s.
Soundgarden achieved its biggest success with the 1994 album, Superunknown, which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and yielded the Grammy Award–winning singles "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman". In 1997, the band broke up due to internal strife over its creative direction. Soundgarden has sold eight million records in the U.S., and an estimated twenty million albums worldwide.