Soundgarden is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1984 by lead singer 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 seminal bands in the creation of grunge, a style of alternative rock that developed in Seattle, and was one of a number of grunge bands signed to the record label Sub Pop. Soundgarden was the first grunge band to sign to a major label (A&M Records, in 1988), though the band did not achieve commercial success until they popularized "grunge" in the early 1990s with Seattle contemporaries Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam.
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. On January 1, 2010, Cornell alluded to a Soundgarden reunion. On April 5, 2010, it was announced that Soundgarden would play Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 6–8, 2010. A secret reunion concert under the name "Nudedragons" was held at the Showbox at the Market in Seattle on April 16, 2010. It was Soundgarden's first show since 1997.
As of 2010, Soundgarden had sold over nine million records in the United States, and an estimated twenty one million worldwide.