Down in a Hole

Down in a Hole
"Down in a Hole"
Single by Alice in Chains
from the album Dirt
Released 1993
Format CD
Recorded March–May 1992 at Eldorado Recording Studios, Burbank, California; London Bridge Studio, Seattle, Washington; One on One Studios, Los Angeles, California
Genre Grunge, heavy metal, alternative rock
Length 5:38
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Jerry Cantrell
Producer Alice in Chains, Dave Jerden
Alice in Chains singles chronology
"What the Hell Have I"
"Down in a Hole"
"No Excuses"
Dirt track listing
"Rain When I Die"
(Track 3)
"Down in a Hole"
(Track 4)
(Track 5)
Music video
"Down in a Hole" on YouTube

"Down in a Hole" is a single from Alice in Chains' album Dirt (1992). It is the fourth song on most pressings of the album and twelfth on others. 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 A minor - G major - D 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.[1]

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.[2] "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."[3]

Music video

"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. "Down in a Hole" being from Dirt was the first video featuring Mike Inez.

Live performances

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, an electric version of "Down in a Hole" featuring new vocalist William DuVall on lead vocals is included on Japanense version of Black Gives Way to Blue as a bonus track.

Cover versions

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.[4] A cover of the song is also featured on Adams' 2007 EP Follow the Lights.

The song was parodied on Opie and Anthony and spoofed the film Silence of the Lambs. It is sung by Buffalo Bill to a trapped fat woman in the hole.

Track listing

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

Chart (1993) Position
US Mainstream Rock Tracks[5] 10
Irish Singles Chart[6] 29
UK Singles Chart[7] 36


  1. ^ Liner notes, Music Bank box set. 1999.
  2. ^ Strong, M. C. (1998). The Great Rock Discography. Giunti. pp. 87. ISBN 8809215222. 
  3. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Down in a Hole". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  4. ^ "Down in a Hole".
  5. ^ "Artist Chart History – Alice in Chains". Billboard charts. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  6. ^ "Irishcharts: searchable database". Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  7. ^ Roberts, David, ed (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). HIT Entertainment. ISBN 1-90499-410-5. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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