In one of the more intriguing collaborations of the week, Elton John has provided vocals and piano to the title track of Alice in Chains' Black Gives Way to Blue, out on September 29. The track is a tribute to the band's former frontman, Layne Staley, who was killed by a lethal speedball in 2002. The collaboration was born when singer-guitarist Jerry Cantrell decided that the song needed some piano parts and a friend suggested that he call Elton John.
Cantrell initially laughed off the idea of the collaboration, but then "decided it was worth trying and wrote Elton an e-mail explaining what the song meant to us- that it's a real, raw, openhearted song for Layne." After hearing the song, John indicated that he wanted to work with the group, claiming that he had been "an admirer of Jerry Cantrell" for a long time and "couldn't resist" the offer. The track was recorded in Vegas as John wrapped up his Red Piano concert series. Cantrell claims that "the whole experience was pretty magical."