This Sunday, Martin Scorsese’s Vinyl puts a cap on its coke-fueled first season — and like all good things that must come to an end (until season two, anyway), its send-off includes a helluva closing number. All season long, artists have covered rock standards for the series that run the gamut from the ‘60s through even the ‘90s (though the show is one long homage to ‘70s hedonism). We’ve heard takes from Julian Casablancas, Iggy Pop, Jenny Lewis, and dozens more — some more random than others — as well as Sturgill Simpson’s theme song. Now, it’s Chris Cornell’s turn at the American Century mic.
Premiering today on Vulture, Cornell has covered “Stay With Me Baby,” first sung by the great soul singer Lorraine Ellison in 1966. Bette Midler, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Mary J. Blige, and many others have famously taken on the song. (It even recently popped up on American Idol’s final season, courtesy of La’Porsha Renae.) But Cornell’s version stays mostly faithful to the grittier Terry Reid version, though he surprisingly tones down the grunge, if only by Cornell standards. The result is a tour de force vocal performance that any fan of Cornell’s bluesier solo work will want to hear.
“I was very honored to be asked to record a version of ‘Stay With Me Baby’ for Vinyl,” Cornell tells Vulture. “I get to pay tribute to Terry Reid, whose version of the song has been a favorite of mine for many years, and be included on a great soundtrack with an amazing group of artists.” The full season one soundtrack — including covers from Charli XCX, Elvis Costello, Nate Ruess, Trey Songz, Nile Rodgers, and more — is out April 15. The season finale of Vinyl airs on HBO on April 17.