Legendary rockers from Seattle, Soundgarden hit the jackpot with their 1994 albumSuperunknown, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album charts and its success was driven largely by timeless singles like “Black Hole Sun” and, of course, “Spoonman”.
Chris Cornell (who tragically passed away earlier this year) wrote the song based on a fictional song title created by Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam, who had been inspired by a Seattle street known as Artis the Spoonman. That song title was of course, “Spoonman”.
At the time of writing the song, Chris knew of Artis, but did not know him personally. Chris said in a 2014 interview that “the song was based entirely on the title, so what’s happening musically is the attitude of supporting this guy who stands on a street corner and plays the s— out of some spoons”.
When the song was finally ready to be recorded, Artis the Spoonman was invited to play his spoons in the recording. He accepted and so, the “Spoonman” we all know and love was born. The song outdid “I’m Broken” by Pantera and “99 Ways to Die” by Megadeth, to win the Grammy for Best Metal Performance in 1995.
Not bad for a song centered around a man playing spoons!