The song — issued on what would have been Cornell’s 56th birthday — was recorded in 2016 at Los Angeles’ Henson Studios as the singer worked on a solo album. While teaching his daughter Toni how to play the 1988 ballad, he decided to record the song on his own as a tribute to Guns N’ Roses’ reunion announcement.
Cornell’s version is built on fingerpicked acoustic guitar, a sparkle of synth and programmed drums. According to the YouTube credits, it was mixed by Brendan O’Brien, who also worked on Soundgarden’s 1994 LP, Superunknown.
You can listen to the song below.
The estate also released a video featuring photos of the singer, including some captured at home by friend and photographer Steven Lyon. Cornell’s children, Toni and Christopher, produced the clip.
“One of Chris’s engineers recently reminded me of Chris’ recordings from sessions in 2016,” the singer’s widow, Vicky Cornell, wrote in a statement. “‘Patience’ was one of them. Listening to it again after so many years it was hauntingly beautiful; it brought it all back in a rush of bittersweet memories.”
She noted that Cornell’s birthday was the “perfect time to share this and celebrate” the musician: “It is true a man is not dead while his name is still spoken … and, through his art, an artist’s soul still burns just as bright as ever upon all those that look up to him and his memory. Releasing music that was special to Chris keeps a part of him here with us- his heart and his soul. His love and his legacy.”
She continued with thanks to “Axl, Slash and Duff for continuing to honor Chris in their live shows. And to all of Chris’s fans, thank you for holding him in your hearts and always sharing your love for Chris with us. I want to thank our children too; for you are a reflection of your father, both his strength and his kindness. … The memory of your smile still makes my heart, broken as it is, beat as fast as the first time we met. We love you, Chris. Happy birthday.”
To honor their father, Toni and Christopher Cornell also launched two national initiatives focused on addiction. “Stop the Stigma,” a partnership with the Addiction Policy Forum and the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation, is an educational pilot program aimed at high schools throughout the country. In August, they will kick off a podcast exploring how stigma is harming efforts to combat addiction.
“Losing our dad was like losing our universe. We miss him every day,” Toni and Christopher wrote in a statement. “With our father’s memory, and his constant presence in our lives, we are so proud to be working on a project like this that can make a real difference. His music saved lives and his legacy will continue to do so. No family should have to go through what we did. With this national campaign, we will be able to give people and kids what they need to better understand addiction, the stigma that surrounds it, and how we can work together to end it.”