Nancy Wilson’s Anticipation About Alice In Chains’ Layne Staley

Sometimes, a rocker’s lifestyle foreshadows how their story will end. Those who lost themselves in the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle revolving around sex, drugs, and rock and roll, have often experienced a heartbreaking downfall. Many iconic names in music history have lost their lives due to substance and alcohol addiction or mental health issues. Some ended up in the 27 Club, including Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Winehouse.

Alice In Chains’ Layne Staley shared the same fate with those rockers. Although he was enjoying great success as the band’s frontman, he fell into the pit of addiction and struggled to climb out. Staley then lost control over his substance use, which cost him his health. Before Staley’s tragic passing, Heart’s Nancy Wilson had a chance to work with him. Even then, she could see what the future held for the singer.

On November 16, 1993, Heart released their eleventh studio album ‘Desire Walks On.’ Although the album mostly features songs co-written by the Wilson sisters, it also includes a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Ring Them Bells.’ Alice In Chains’ Layne Staley collaborated with Heart on this song and shared the vocals with Ann and Nancy Wilson.

At that time, Layne Staley was battling addiction. Alice In Chains had then-recently released their 1992 album ‘Dirt’ and were touring to promote the album. However, the tour didn’t last long due to Staley’s severe substance use. As it appears, Nancy Wilson was aware of Staley’s struggle, and she predicted this wouldn’t end well for the musician.

“Yeah,” Nancy Wilson told Holland’s FaceCulture in 2021, revealing she saw what was coming for Layne Staley. “It was a very interesting situation in the early ’90s in Seattle because many of those guys around that time were battling their own addictions. Even Chris Cornell later, as it turned out, had his own issues later on.”

“But that was the time,” Wilson continued. “And Layne Staley was one sweetheart of a person who you could really see his weakness for his addiction and how much it appeared, from a distance, that he was not going to survive it. And it took a long, long time, but it was obvious that he would not win that contest. So that’s why I wrote the song [‘The Dragon’] when he was still around; I wrote it then.”

Nancy Wilson released her debut solo album ‘You And Me’ in 2021. The album featured a song titled ‘The Dragon,’ which she wrote for Layne Staley around thirty years before. Nancy also put this song in a Roadcase Royale album in 2017. Sadly, Staley didn’t have a chance to listen to it as he passed away from a speedball overdose on April 5, 2002.