Soundgarden were part of the Seattle music scene before that was something to be proud of. From the start, they had a working-class toughness about them that filtered through to their music, as you'll see in our list of Soundgarden Albums Ranked Worst to Best.

They were rooted in the past. Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin were early signposts for the band. With Chris Cornell's larynx-shredding vocals and Kim Thayil's chugging guitars, they pretty much helped shape heavy music in an era when most hard rock was dominated by spandex-clad halfwits disguised as musicians.

It took a few records for them to nail down that sound. But once they settled in – 1991's Badmotorfinger, released mere weeks after Nirvana's Nevermind changed the course of modern rock 'n' roll, is their first truly great album – they didn't stick around. For their next LP, 1994's Superunknown, they turned grunge expectations upside down by applying some Beatles-inspired psychedelic touches to their songs.

It was a short but often stunning career that dodged pigeonholing at a time when everyone was slapping labels on their music. Were Soundgarden a grunge band? Sure. But they were also alt-rock pioneers, classic-rock descendants, heavy-music torch bearers and, foremost, a great rock 'n' roll group.

They made only six LPs, one of which – 2012's King Animal – appeared 16 years after a mid-'90s breakup. They're not all essential, but none of them is an embarrassment either. Check out our the list of Soundgarden Albums Ranked Worst to Best and it becomes clear: They remained true to their music the entire time.

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