Down in a Hole
|"Down in a Hole"|
|Single by Alice in Chains|
|from the album Dirt|
|Released||August 30, 1993|
|Recorded||March–May 1992 at Eldorado Recording Studios in Burbank; London Bridge Studio in Seattle; One on One Studios in Los Angeles|
|Producer(s)||Alice in Chains, Dave Jerden|
|Alice in Chains singles chronology|
|Dirt track listing|
"Down in a Hole" is a power ballad by Alice in Chains, and the last single from their album Dirt (1992). It is the twelfth song on most pressings of the album and fourth or eleventh on others. The single peaked at No. 10 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks, and stayed on the chart for 21 weeks. The song was included on the compilation albums Nothing Safe: Best of the Box (1999) and Music Bank (1999).
Origin and recording
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.
["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.
Release and reception
"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. "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 performance...is heartfelt and almost yearning" and that "the end result feels like a ruined man looking for some sort of comfort."
Stereogum said of the song; "Down In A Hole" is an anthem of loss, revulsion, and depression. But it really is an anthem first and foremost. The verses build slowly to a soaring chorus with an irrepressible melody. Staley's pained howl guides the song, but its power derives from Cantrell's terrific harmonies, which give the piece heft and also a sense of unease."
"Down in a Hole" became one of the five video-singles from the album Dirt. 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. Bassist Mike Inez appears in the video although the original track was recorded with original member Mike Starr.
Alice in Chains performed the song live for the first time on October 5, 1992 at the Coca-Cola Starplex in Dallas, Texas.
On his low-key 2007 tour—in support of his album Easy Tiger, Ryan Adams covered the song live with his band, The Cardinals. A cover of the song is also featured on Adams' 2007 EP Follow the Lights.
In popular culture
"Down in a Hole" was released as downloadable content for the music video game Rocksmith on December 12, 2017, as part of Alice In Chains Song Pack II, which also includes the songs "Rooster", "No Excuses", "Nutshell" and "Heaven Beside You".
CD Single (659751-2)
- "Down in a Hole" (radio edit) – 3:53
- "Down in a Hole" – 5:40
- "What the Hell Have I" – 4:00
- "Rooster" – 6:15
12" Single (659751-6)
- "Down in a Hole"
- "A Little Bitter"
- "Love, Hate, Love"
7" Single (659751-7)
- "Down in a Hole" (radio edit)
- Layne Staley – lead vocals
- Jerry Cantrell – vocals, lead guitar, acoustic guitar
- Mike Starr – bass
- Sean Kinney – drums
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||36|
|US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)||10|
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