Alice in Chains has one of the darkest, most-influential catalogs in rock.
AIC’s catalog spans six studio albums, three EPs, three live releases and a handful of singles scattered within various compilations. When looking at the catalog as a whole, it seems insane that after a number of years of eligibility, the band has yet to even be nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, it certainly wouldn't be the first time the Rock Hall overlooked obvious greatness.
The origins of Alice in Chains date back to 1987, when guitarist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney formed the band in Seattle. Bassist Mike Starr was then recruited for the band, followed by powerhouse singer Layne Staley. While Soundgarden was the first Seattle “grunge” band to sign with a major label, Alice in Chains wasn’t far behind. They signed with Columbia Records in 1989. Shortly thereafter, they released their debut album Facelift. The album boasts “Man in the Box,” which was one of the first mainstream hits from the scene.
AIC’s catalog, unlike their peers, features the utilization of EPs. Sap was released in Feb. 1992, while Jar of Flies arrived in Jan. 1994. Jar of Flies has the distinction of being the first EP in music history to debut atop the Billboard 200 chart.
Between these two EPs came Dirt, which is considered the band’s great masterpiece. It features “Rooster,” “Them Bones,” “Angry Chair,” “Would?” and “Down in a Hole.” The album has since been certified 5x platinum in the United States.
It’s impossible to discuss AIC without mentioning the loss of Staley and Starr. Staley sadly died in April 2002 at age 34, while Starr died in March 2011 at age 44. Both the singer and the bassist died from overdoses and had struggled with addiction for years. Starr’s issues with drugs led to his ouster in 1993. He’d be replaced by Mike Inez, who’s been in the band ever since. Alice In Chains was on hiatus for nearly a decade before reforming with William DuVall as its singer. They would eventually release 2009’s Black Gives Way to Blue, 2013’s The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here and 2018’s Rainier Fog.
We celebrate Alice in Chains by ranking their 30 best songs. Scroll through the gallery below to see if your favorites made our list and where they ranked.