Down in a Hole

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"Down in a Hole"
Single by Alice in Chains
from the album Dirt
Released August 30, 1993
Format CD
Recorded March–May 1992 at Eldorado Recording Studios in Burbank; London Bridge Studio in Seattle; One on One Studios in Los Angeles
Genre Grunge
Length 5:38
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Jerry Cantrell
Producer(s) Alice in Chains, Dave Jerden
Alice in Chains singles chronology
"What the Hell Have I"
"Down in a Hole"
"No Excuses"
Dirt track listing
"Angry Chair"
(Track 11)
"Down in a Hole"
(Track 12)
(Track 13)
Music video
"Down in a Hole" on YouTube

"Down in a Hole" is a power ballad by Alice in Chains, featured on their album Dirt (1992). It is the twelfth song on most pressings of the album and fourth or eleventh on others.[1] The song was included on the compilation albums Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999) and Music Bank (1999).

Origin and recording[edit]

Songwriter and guitarist Jerry Cantrell was at first hesitant to present the song to the band, feeling that the song was too soft, but after a positive response from the band, they followed through and recorded it. The composition is written in A minor, utilizing Dorian mode, and is centered mainly around Ab minor - Gb major - Db major chord progression, with Layne Staley's and Jerry Cantrell's vocal parts intricately harmonizing.


In the liner notes of 1999's Music Bank box set collection, Jerry Cantrell said of the song:

["Down in a Hole"]'s in my top three, personally. It's to my long-time love. It's the reality of my life, the path I've chosen and in a weird way it kind of foretold where we are right now. It's hard for us to both understand...that this life is not conducive to much success with long-term relationships.[2]

Release and reception[edit]

"Down in a Hole" was released as a single in 1993. "Down in a Hole" peaked at number ten on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The UK single was released in October 1993.[3] "Down in a Hole" reached the top 40 in the UK and the top 30 in Ireland.

Ned Raggett of Allmusic said that "Staley's...half-strangled but still amazingly evocative heartfelt and almost yearning" and that "the end result feels like a ruined man looking for some sort of comfort."[4]

Music video[edit]

"Down in a Hole" became one of the five video-singles from the album. The music video was released in 1993 and was directed by Nigel Dick. The video is available on the home video release Music Bank: The Videos.

Live performances[edit]

Alice in Chains performed an acoustic version of "Down in a Hole" for its appearance on MTV Unplugged in 1996 and the song was included on the Unplugged live album and home video release. Also, another acoustic version of "Down in a Hole" featuring new vocalist William DuVall on lead vocals is included on Japanese version of Black Gives Way to Blue as a bonus track.

Cover versions[edit]

The song was covered by professional baseball player Bronson Arroyo on his 2005 album, Covering the Bases, which lists the song as "Down in the Hole". Fuel acoustically covered the song in 2007 on AM Radio. On his low-key 2007 tour—in support of his album Easy TigerRyan Adams covered the song live with his band, The Cardinals.[5] A cover of the song is also featured on Adams' 2007 EP Follow the Lights. The Christian metal band Demon Hunter perform an acoustic version of the song on the deluxe edition of their album The World Is a Thorn.

Track listing[edit]

CD Single (659751-2)

  1. "Down in a Hole" (radio edit) - 3:53
  2. "Down in a Hole" - 5:40
  3. "What the Hell Have I" - 4:00
  4. "Rooster" – 6:15

12" Single (659751-6)

Side 1

  1. "Down in a Hole"
  2. "A Little Bitter"

Side 2

  1. "Rooster"
  2. "Love, Hate, Love"

7" Single (659751-7)

Side 1

  1. "Down in a Hole" (radio edit)

Side 2

  1. "Rooster"


Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
Irish Singles Chart[6] 29
UK Singles Chart[7] 36
US Mainstream Rock Tracks[8] 10


  1. ^
  2. ^ Liner notes, Music Bank box set. 1999.
  3. ^ Strong, M. C. (1998). The Great Rock Discography. Giunti. p. 87. ISBN 88-09-21522-2. 
  4. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Down in a Hole". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  5. ^ "Down in a Hole".
  6. ^ "Irishcharts: searchable database". Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  7. ^ Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). HIT Entertainment. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  8. ^ "Artist Chart History – Alice in Chains". Billboard charts. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 

External links[edit]