The recorded material was slow and melodic, musically different from the aggressive rock music of Soundgarden. Cornell approached Wood's former bandmates, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament—who were still figuring out how to continue without Mother Love Bone—with the intention of releasing the songs as a single. Ament described the collaboration as "a really good thing at the time" for Gossard and him that put them into a "band situation where we could play and make music." The band's lineup was completed by the addition of Soundgarden (and later Pearl Jam) drummer Matt Cameron and future Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready. They named themselves Temple of the Dog, a reference to a line in the lyrics of the Mother Love Bone song "Man of Golden Words."
The release of a single was soon deemed a "stupid idea" by Cornell and dropped in favor of an EP or album. The album was recorded in only 15 days, produced by the band themselves. Gossard described the recording process as a "non-pressure-filled" situation, as there were no expectations or pressure coming from the record company. Eddie Vedder, who had flown from San Diego, California to Seattle, Washington to audition to be the singer of Mookie Blaylock (which eventually became Pearl Jam), ended up providing backing vocals. "Hunger Strike" (About this sound sample (help·info)) became a duet between Cornell and Vedder. Cornell was having trouble with the vocals at practice, when Vedder stepped in. Cornell later said, "He sang half of that song not even knowing that I'd wanted the part to be there and he sang it exactly the way I was thinking about doing it, just instinctively."
The songs on the 1991 Temple of the Dog album are both of Andrew Wood, and of Chris Cornell, and of the rest of the band. The album’s lasting impact and the robust individual musical journeys that followed are the result of fully embracing the spirit of collaboration both in music and in life – that is the Temple of the Dog lesson. And as with everything in Seattle, these words, this music, and the loss, belonged to everyone. They still do. And always will.