Fell on Black Days (song)

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"Fell On Black Days"
Single by Soundgarden
from the album Superunknown
B-side "Kyle Petty, Son of Richard" / "Fell on Black Days" (video version)
Released 1994
Format CD single, Vinyl
Recorded July–September 1993 at Bad Animals Studio, Seattle, Washington
Length 4:42
Label A&M
Writer(s) Chris Cornell
Producer(s) Michael Beinhorn, Soundgarden
Soundgarden singles chronology
"My Wave"
(1994)
"Fell on Black Days"
(1994)
"Pretty Noose"
(1996)
Superunknown track listing
"My Wave"
(Track 2)
"Fell on Black Days"
(Track 3)
"Mailman"
(Track 4)

"Fell on Black Days" is a song by the American rock band Soundgarden. Written by frontman Chris Cornell, "Fell on Black Days" was released in 1994 as the fifth single from the band's fourth studio album, Superunknown (1994). The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song was included on Soundgarden's 1997 greatest hits album, A-Sides and the 2010 compilation Telephantasm as the Superunknown version on the single disk version and the video version on the Deluxe Edition.

Composition[edit]

The majority of "Fell on Black Days" was written by frontman Chris Cornell. The time signature of the song is in 6/4.[1] Cornell said, "On 'Fell on Black Days; the drums are totally straight, even though the riff is in six, so it doesn't feel quirky at all."[1] Guitarist Kim Thayil has said that Soundgarden usually did not consider the time signature of a song until after the band had written it, and said that the use of odd meters was "a total accident."[1]

Lyrics[edit]

Cornell on "Fell On Black Days":

"Fell on Black Days" was like this ongoing fear I've had for years...It's a feeling that everyone gets. You're happy with your life, everything's going well, things are exciting—when all of a sudden you realize you're unhappy in the extreme, to the point of being really, really scared. There's no particular event you can pin the feeling down to, it's just that you realize one day that everything in your life is FUCKED![2]

Release and reception[edit]

"Fell on Black Days" was released as a single in 1994 in various versions with the previously unreleased B-sides "Kyle Petty, Son of Richard" and "Motorcycle Loop". Several versions of the single featured an original demo version of the song. This demo is completely different from the more familiar version. It features different lyrics and music, with considerably heavier drop-D guitar. Only the chorus contains lyrical similarities to the final version. Soundgarden performed this version live on Pearl Jam's January 8, 1995 Self-Pollution satellite radio broadcast, a four-and-a-half hour long pirate broadcast out of Seattle, Washington which was available to any radio stations that wanted to carry it.[3]

It appeared on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 Airplay chart, peaking at number 54 in its tenth week and remaining on the chart until its twentieth week. The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 13 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Outside the United States, the single was released commercially in Australia and the United Kingdom. In Canada, the song reached the top 70 on the Canadian Singles Chart and remained in the top 70 for two weeks. "Fell on Black Days" reached the top 50 in the Netherlands and in Ireland it was a moderate top 20 success.

The song was featured in the second season of the TV show Supernatural in Season 2, Episode 5 "Simon Said," and in Season 8, Episode 6 "Southern Comfort".

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Fell on Black Days" was directed by Jake Scott, who would later direct the music video for "Burden in My Hand".[4] The black-and-white video consists of a filmed live performance of the band in a studio, with Brendan O'Brien producing the recording. The video was filmed at Seattle's Bad Animals Studio in October 1994. The video was released in November 1994.[4] It is available on the CD-ROM Alive in the Superunknown. The video version of the track can be found on the "Fell on Black Days" single, Songs from the Superunknown, and the Deluxe Edition of the band's 2010 compilation album Telephantasm.

Chris Cornell and fan connection[edit]

Rarely during Chris's song book tour in 2011 he would bring up fans to play the song. However on May 21, 2013 during a show in Camden, NJ a young fan in the pit held up a sign asking if he could play guitar or drums on any Soundgarden song. Chris at first told him no and that he cannot. However after a change of heart Chris asked if he could play it, and the kid known as Kyle came up climbing up onto stage not nervous at all, used Chris's Gretsch that he used to record Fell on black days with, and began to tell the audience how the young man was a true fan, gentleman, and seemed to support the band. The band played the song, and the fan nailed the part exactly, getting praise from the audience, and the band themselves were surprised and shocked. Afterwards the fan ran off of stage.[5]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Chris Cornell, except where noted:

Promotional CD (US)
  1. "Fell on Black Days" (radio edit)
Promotional CD (US)
  1. "Fell on Black Days" (alternate mix)
  2. "Fell on Black Days" – 4:42
CD (UK)
  1. "Fell on Black Days" – 4:42
  2. "Kyle Petty, Son of Richard" (Cornell, Kim Thayil) – 4:06
  3. "Fell on Black Days" (video version) – 5:26
CD (UK)
  1. "Fell on Black Days" – 4:42
  2. "Girl U Want" (Gerald Casale, Mark Mothersbaugh) – 3:29
  3. "Fell on Black Days" (demo) – 4:01
CD (Europe)
  1. "Fell on Black Days" – 4:42
  2. "Motorcycle Loop" (short version) (Thayil) – 1:32
  3. "Girl U Want" (Casale, Mothersbaugh) – 3:29
  4. "Fell on Black Days" (demo) – 4:03
CD (Europe)
  1. "Fell on Black Days" – 4:42
  2. "Kyle Petty, Son of Richard" (Cornell, Thayil) – 4:06
  3. "Birth Ritual" (Cornell, Matt Cameron, Thayil) – 5:51
  4. "Fell on Black Days" (live) – 4:52
CD (Europe)
  1. "Fell on Black Days" – 4:42
  2. "My Wave" (live) (Cornell, Thayil) – 4:34
7" Vinyl (Europe and UK)
  1. "Fell on Black Days" – 4:42
  2. "Motorcycle Loop" (Thayil)
  3. "Kyle Petty, Son of Richard" (Cornell, Thayil) – 4:07
CD (Australia)
  1. "Fell on Black Days" – 4:42
  2. "Kyle Petty, Son of Richard" (Cornell, Thayil) – 4:07
  3. "Fell on Black Days" (demo) – 4:04
  4. "Motorcycle Loop" (short version) (Thayil) – 1:34
  5. "Fell on Black Days" (live) – 4:52
    • Recorded live on August 16, 1993 at Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan.
CD (Australia)
  1. "Fell on Black Days" – 4:42
  2. "Kyle Petty, Son of Richard" (Cornell, Thayil) – 4:07
Jukebox 7" Vinyl (US)
  1. "Fell on Black Days" – 4:42
  2. "My Wave" (Cornell, Thayil) – 5:12

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1994) Position
US Billboard Hot 100 Airplay[6] 54
US Mainstream Rock Tracks[7] 4
US Modern Rock Tracks[7] 13
Canadian RPM Singles Chart[8] 66
Chart (1995) Position
Irish Singles Chart[9] 14
UK Singles Chart[10] 24
Dutch Singles Chart[11] 45

Accolades[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
The Movement New Zealand "The 77 Best Singles of the 90s"[12] 2004 52

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Rotondi, James. "Alone in the Superunknown." Guitar Player. June 1994.
  2. ^ True, Everett. "Journey into the Superunknown". Melody Maker. March 19, 1994.
  3. ^ Gaar, Gillian G. "Radio Free Vedder". Rolling Stone. February 23, 1995.
  4. ^ a b "Soundgarden music videos". Music Video Database. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  5. ^ Soundgarden with fan "Fell on Black Days" on YouTube
  6. ^ "Billboard.com / Soundgarden / Longplay". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-02-19. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b "Soundgarden Artist Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  8. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 60, No. 13, October 17, 1994". RPM. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  10. ^ "EveryHit.com". Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  11. ^ "Dutch Single/Album Chart / Soundgarden / Longplay". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  12. ^ "The 77 Best Singles of the 90s". The Movement. Retrieved 2008-05-06.