Happy birthday, Layne Staley: Late Alice in Chains frontman would’ve turned 50 today

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Happy birthday, Layne Staley. The late Alice in Chains frontman would have turned 50 years old today.

Staley was born August 22, 1967, in Kirkland, Washington. In 1987, he joined a band featuring guitarist Jerry Cantrell, drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Starr, which would become Alice in Chains.

The debut Alice in Chains album, Facelift, was released in 1990. With singles like “Man in the Box” and “Sea of Sorrow,” the band introduced the world to their sound of heavy guitars combined with the vocal harmonies of Staley and Cantrell.

Alice in Chains would release two more studio albums with Staley: 1992’s Dirt and 1995’s self-titled effort. In between, Staley, along with Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready, Screaming Trees drummer Barret Martin and bassist Jon Baker Saunders, formed the band Mad Season, which spawned the single “River of Deceit.”

Staley, who had struggled with depression and drug abuse throughout his life, was found dead in his home on April 19, 2002, at age 34. The cause of death was ruled an accidental drug overdose, and an autopsy concluded that Staley had actually died on April 5, the same day Nirvana‘s Kurt Cobain died in 1994.

Alice in Chains reformed in 2005, and they recruited William DuVall to handle lead vocals. They have recorded two albums with DuVall: 2009’s Black Gives Way to Blue and 2013’s The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.

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