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Album: Black Gives Way To BlueReleased: 2009
This song is a tribute to the band's late frontman Layne Staley, who died of a drug overdose in 2002. In a FMQB radio special, in which the band members discussed the album with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich of Metallica, guitarist Jerry Cantrell explained: "It's a really intense song and a really open-hearted song because of Layne and the experience that we all went through. It's [about] facing up to that stuff and all the good and all the bad and moving forward together. It speaks to [the fact that] things were pretty black for us. It's pretty literal, and things are starting to get a little lighter."
Elton John sings and plays the piano on this track. The recording was done in Vegas, where John was wrapping his Red Piano concerts. The collaboration was born when Cantrell thought the track could use a little piano. He recalled in publicity materials: "We were thinking about adding piano to the track and a friend suggested we call Elton. I remember laughing and saying, 'Yeah, I'll get right on that.' But I decided it was worth trying and wrote him an email explaining what that song means to us—that it's a real, raw open-hearted song for Layne. We sent him the track and got a call shortly after saying he thought it was beautiful and that he wanted to play on it. He was finishing his 'Red Piano' run in Vegas, so we flew there and hung out for a few hours. Walking into a studio and seeing the sheet music for that song on Elton's piano made it meaningful on so many different levels. The whole experience was pretty magical."
The Black Gives Way to Blue album was Alice In Chains' first new studio album in nearly fourteen years. The band and producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, Foo Fighters) began recording it in October 2008r at Studio 606 in Northridge, California and finished mixing it the following summer at Henson Studios in Hollywood.