3 Eternal Classic Rock Songs by Alice in Chains

When it comes to the grunge movement of the late 1980s and early ’90s, bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden are always mentioned. But the other group in the “big four” is sometimes left off the list and they may be the most grungiest of all. That’s right, Alice in Chains provided the Pacific Northwest and beyond heavy rock, emotive lyrics, and a sonic darkness no other band could.

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Along the way, the Seattle-born band wrote and released a number of popular songs and some of those have stood the biggest test: time. Here below, we wanted to dive into a trio of those songs. Three tracks that will last forever into the future. Indeed, these are three eternal classic rock Alice in Chains songs.

[RELATED: The Earnest Origins of Alice in Chains]

“Would?” from Dirt (1992)

While this song was released on the band’s seminal album Dirt in 1992, it first appeared on the soundtrack for the Seattle-based 1992 movie Singles, which also featured cameos by Alice in Chains members. As far as the substance of the song, it was written as a tribute to fallen grunge brother Andrew Wood of the band Mother Love Bone, who died of a heroin overdose in 1990 just days before the release of his band’s debut LP Apple. On the song, dynamic lead singer Layne Staley belts,

Into the flood again
Same old trip it was back then
So I made a big mistake
Try to see it once my way

Am I wrong
Have I run too far to get home?
Have I gone
And left you here alone?

Am I wrong
Have I run too far to get home? Yeah
Have I gone
And left you here alone?

“Man in the Box” from Facelift (1990)

This Grammy-nominated song was inspired by two things: censorship and cattle raised in boxes. Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell said he went out to dinner with record executives who told him about the origins of veal, which came from baby cows raised in boxes. So, this song about men in boxes, unable to be themselves, was born. On the track, the banshee-voiced lead singer Staley sings,

I’m the man in the box
Buried in my shit

Won’t you come and save me?
Save me

Feed my eyes
(Can you sew them shut?)
Jesus Christ
(Deny your maker)
He who tries
(Will be wasted)
Oh, feed my eyes
(Now you’ve sewn them) shut

“Rooster” from Dirt (1992)

Another from the seminal 1992 record Dirt, this song was written by Cantrell about his father, a Vietnam War veteran whose childhood nickname was “Rooster.” The song is all about the perils of war and how it can snuff out a person’s vibrancy and individuality. The result is perhaps the band’s most famous song. On the track, Staley sings,

Ain’t found a way to kill me yet
Eyes burn with stinging sweat
Seems every path leads me to nowhere
Wife and kids, household pet
Army green was no safe bet
The bullets scream to me from somewhere

Here they come to snuff the rooster
Yeah, here come the rooster
You know he ain’t gonna die
No, no, no, you know he ain’t gonna die

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