Alice in Chains was an influential grunge rock group initially formed by lead singer Layne Staley (1967-2002) in the mid-1980s as Alice N’ Chains before changing the spelling. Along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, Alice in Chains was one of the most commercially successful bands to break out of the Seattle, Washington grunge music scene. Unlike many of their peers, the Alice in Chains sound owed more to heavy metal than to punk or ’70s rock. The band became associated with the grunge movement due to their Seattle roots and introspective, sometimes morbid, lyrical content.
Alice in Chains has sold more than ten million albums in the United States, released two number-one albums and 19 top 40 singles, and has received six Grammy nominations. The band was ranked number 34 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Alice in Chains has had a large impact on many bands, such as Godsmack, who, according to Jon Wiederhorn of MTV, “have sonically followed Alice in Chains’ lead while adding their own distinctive edge”. Godsmack singer Sully Erna has also cited Layne Staley as his primary influence. Staind has covered Alice in Chains’ song “Nutshell” live, which appears on the compilation The Singles: 1996-2006, and also wrote a song entitled “Layne”, in Staley’s dedication, on the album 14 Shades of Grey. Other bands that have been inspired by Alice in Chains include Taproot, Puddle of Mudd, Smile Empty Soul, Creed, Nickelback, Cold and Tantric. Metallica, who originally influenced Alice in Chains, in turn said they always wanted to tour with the band, citing Alice in Chains as a major influence on the vocal melodies for Metallica’s eighth studio album St. Anger.