“Fell on Black Days” is a song by the American rock band Soundgarden. Written by frontman Chris Cornell, “Fell on Black Days” was released as the fifth single from the band’s fourth studio album, Superunknown (1994). The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song was included on Soundgarden’s 1997 greatest hits album, A-Sides and the 2010 compilation Telephantasm as the Superunknown version on the single disk version and the video version on the Deluxe Edition.
“Fell on Black Days” is a grunge song, and was written by frontman Chris Cornell. The time signature of the song is in 6/4. Cornell said, “On ‘Fell on Black Days; the drums are totally straight, even though the riff is in six, so it doesn’t feel quirky at all.” Guitarist Kim Thayil has said that Soundgarden usually did not consider the time signature of a song until after the band had written it, and said that the use of odd meters was “a total accident.”
Cornell on “Fell on Black Days”:
“Fell on Black Days” was like this ongoing fear I’ve had for years … It’s a feeling that everyone gets. You’re happy with your life, everything’s going well, things are exciting—when all of a sudden you realize you’re unhappy in the extreme, to the point of being really, really scared. There’s no particular event you can pin the feeling down to, it’s just that you realize one day that everything in your life is fucked!
“Fell on Black Days” was released as a single in 1994 in various versions with the previously unreleased B-sides “Kyle Petty, Son of Richard”, “Motorcycle Loop” and “Fell on Black Days (demo)”. The “demo” version is, in fact, a completely different song, featuring different lyrics (with only the chorus containing similarities to “Fell on Black Days”) and different music, with considerably heavier Drop DGDGBE guitar tuning. Soundgarden performed the “demo” version live on Pearl Jam’s January 8, 1995, Self-Pollution satellite radio broadcast, a four-and-a-half hour long pirate broadcast out of Seattle which was available to any radio stations that wanted to carry it. The “demo” version was retitled “Black Days III” for the Superunknown 20th Anniversary reissues and appeared on the Deluxe/Super Deluxe editions.
It appeared on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 Airplay chart, peaking at number 54 in its tenth week and remaining on the chart until its twentieth week. The song peaked at number four on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 13 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.
Outside the United States, the single was released commercially in Australia and the United Kingdom. In Canada, the song reached the top 70 on the Canadian Singles Chart and remained in the top 70 for two weeks. “Fell on Black Days” reached the top 50 in the Netherlands and in Ireland it was a moderate top 20 success.
The song was featured twice on the TV show Supernatural in the episodes “Simon Said”, and “Southern Comfort”. The Vampire Diaries featured the song in the season 6 episode “Black Hole Sun” which in turn was named after Soundgarden’s hit.
The music video for “Fell on Black Days” was directed by Jake Scott, who would later direct the music video for “Burden in My Hand”. The black-and-white video consists of a filmed live performance of the band in a studio, with Brendan O’Brien producing the recording. The video was filmed at Seattle’s Bad Animals Studio in October 1994. The video was released in November 1994. It is available on the CD-ROM Alive in the Superunknown. The video version of the track can be found on the “Fell on Black Days” single, Songs from the Superunknown, and the Deluxe Edition of the band’s 2010 compilation album Telephantasm.