Jerry Cantrell’s Farewell To Layne Staley Through An Alice In Chains Song

Layne Staley significantly contributed to Alice In Chains and the rock scene with his distinctive singing style throughout his life. After the grunge movement became prominent in the ’90s, he was often named among the genre’s trailblazers. The singer also helped the band build a strong reputation in the music scene with his harmonized vocals with bandmate Jerry Cantrell.

However, Staley struggled in his life while AIC’s popularity increased, which fueled his drug addiction. He started to have issues continuing the band’s performances as he struggled with mental health. These problems became so apparent that they even made their way into some of their songs’ lyrics.

Unfortunately, the vocalist passed away on April 5, 2002, due to an overdose, leaving behind many people who adored him. Of course, in the rock scene, his bandmates were affected the most by Staley’s sudden passing, and Jerry Cantrell wrote ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’ as a farewell to the vocalist.

Jerry Cantrell Wrote ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’ For Layne Staley

Alice In Chains released its first album without Layne Staley, ‘Black Gives Way to Blue,’ in 2009. In this record, William DuVall made his initial appearance with the band sharing vocal duties with Jerry Cantrell. The title track held a special place in the band members’ hearts, as it was a homage to their late friend Staley. Jerry Cantrell wrote and sang the piece, and Elton John also contributed to it by delivering the piano.

In a past interview with Metal Hammer in 2016, Cantrell stated that they had to make this song to commemorate their fellow musician and to say a proper goodbye to him. As he revealed, they had initially done it privately but later decided to share it with everyone. Cantrell expressed his fondness for this song and noted that it was ‘really tough’ to listen to it no matter how many years had passed.

Jerry Cantrell said the following about the song:

“That song really set it in stone because we had to properly address Layne’s death and say goodbye to our friend. We had done it privately, but if we were going to do this, we had to do it publicly. It’s a beautiful song, and it’s still really tough for me to listen to.”

You can check out the song below.