Linkin Park
Linkin Park
Background Information
Origin Agoura Hills, California
Genre Alternative Rock
Nu Metal
Rap Rock
Alternative Metal
Years active 1996-present
Label(s) Warner Bros.
Machine Shop
Chester Bennington
Rob Bourdon
Brad Delson
Dave Farrell
Joe Hahn
Mike Shinoda
Former Members
Kyle Christener
Scott Koziol
Mark Wakefield

Linkin Park is an American rock band from Agoura Hills, California. Formed in 1996, the band rose to international fame with their debut album, Hybrid Theory, which was certified Diamond by the RIAA in 2005 and multi-platinum in several other countries.[1] Its following studio album, Meteora, continued the band's success, topping the Billboard 200 album chart in 2003, and was followed by extensive touring and charity work around the world.[2] In 2003, MTV2 named Linkin Park the sixth greatest band of the music video era and the third best of the new millennium behind Oasis and Coldplay.[3]

Having adapted the nu metal and rap metal genres to a radio-friendly yet densely layered style in Hybrid Theory and Meteora,[4][5][6] the band explored other genres in their next studio album, Minutes to Midnight, which was released in 2007.[7][8] The album topped the Billboard charts and had the third best debut week of any album that year.[9][10] The band has collaborated with several other artists, most notably with rapper Jay-Z in their mashup EP Collision Course, and many others included on Reanimation.[5] The band's most recent studio album, A Thousand Suns, was released on September 8, 2010. Linkin Park has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and has won two Grammy Awards.[11][12][13]


Early years (1996–99)Edit

Originally consisting of three high school friends, Linkin Park’s foundation was anchored by Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson, and Rob Bourdon.[14] After graduating from high school, the California natives began to take their musical interests more seriously, recruiting Joe Hahn, Dave "Phoenix" Farrell, and Mark Wakefield to perform in their band, Xero. Though limited in resources, the band began recording and producing songs within Shinoda’s make-shift bedroom studio in 1996.[14][15] Tensions and frustration within the band grew after they failed to land a record deal.[14] The lack of success and stalemate in progress prompted Wakefield, at that time the band's vocalist, to leave the band in search of other projects.[14][15] Farrell also left to tour with Tasty Snax and other bands.[16][17]

After spending a considerable time searching for Wakefield's replacement, Xero recruited Arizona vocalist Chester Bennington. Jeff Blue, the vice president of Zomba Music, had referred him to the band in March 1999.[18] Bennington, formerly of Grey Daze, became a standout among applicants because of his unique singing style. The band changed its name from Xero to Hybrid Theory.[16] The newborn vocal chemistry between Shinoda and Bennington helped revive the band, inciting them to work on new material.[14] The band’s renaissance culminated with a change in name; from Hybrid Theory, the band once again changed its name, this time to Linkin Park, a play on and homage to Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park.[14] However, despite these changes, the band still struggled to sign a record deal. After facing numerous rejections from several major record labels, Linkin Park turned to Jeff Blue for additional help. After failing to catch Warner Bros. Records on three previous reviews, Jeff Blue, now the vice president of Warner Bros. Records, helped the band sign a deal with the company in 1999. The band released its breakthrough album, Hybrid Theory, the following year.[18]

Hybrid Theory (2000–02)Edit

Main article: Hybrid Theory

Linkin Park released Hybrid Theory on October 24, 2000.[19][20] The album, which represented half a decade’s worth of the band’s work, was edited by Don Gilmore.[14] Hybrid Theory was a massive commercial success; it sold more than 4.8 million copies during its debut year, earning it the status of best-selling album of 2001, while singles such as "Crawling" and "One Step Closer" established themselves as staples among alternative rock radio play lists during the year.[16] Additionally, other singles from the album were featured in films such as Dracula 2000, Little Nicky, and Valentine.[16] Hybrid Theory won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for the song "Crawling" and was nominated for two other Grammy Awards: Best New Artist and Best Rock Album.[21] MTV awarded the band their Best Rock Video and Best Direction awards for "In the End".[14] Through the winning of the Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance, Hybrid Theory’s overall success had catapulted the band into mainstream success.

During this time, Linkin Park received many invitations to perform on many high-profile tours and concerts including Ozzfest, Family Values Tour and KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas.[16][22] The band also formed its own tour, Projekt Revolution, which featured other notable artists such as, Cypress Hill, Adema, and Snoop Dogg.[18] Within a year’s stretch, Linkin Park had performed at over 320 concerts.[14] The experiences and performances of the precocious band were documented in its first DVD, Frat Party at the Pankake Festival, which debuted in November 2001. Now reunited with former bassist Phoenix, the band began work on a remix album, dubbed Reanimation, which would include works from Hybrid Theory and non-album tracks also.[16] Reanimation debuted on July 30, 2002, featuring the likes of Black Thought, Jonathan Davis, Aaron Lewis, and many others.[23] Reanimation claimed the second spot on the Billboard 200, and sold nearly 270,000 copies during its debut week.[24]

Meteora (2002–04)Edit

Main article: Meteora

Following the success of Hybrid Theory and Reanimation, Linkin Park spent a significant amount of time touring around the United States. The band members began to work on new material amidst its saturated schedule, spending a sliver of their free time in their tour bus' studio.[25] The band officially announced the production of a new studio album in December 2002, revealing its new work was inspired by the rocky region of Meteora in Greece, where numerous monasteries have been built on top of the rocks.[26] Meteora features a mixture of the band's previous nu metal and rapcore styles with newer innovative effects, including the induction of a shakuhachi (a Japanese flute made of bamboo) and other instruments.[14] Linkin Park's second album debuted on March 25, 2003 and instantly earned worldwide recognition,[14] going to #1 in the US and UK, and #2 in Australia.[15]

Meteora sold more than 800,000 copies during its first week, and it ranked as the best selling album on the Billboard charts at the time.[27] The album's singles, including "Somewhere I Belong", "Breaking the Habit", "Faint", and "Numb", received significant radio attention.[28] By October 2003, Meteora sold nearly three million copies.[29] The album's success allowed Linkin Park to form another Projekt Revolution, which featured other bands and artists including, Mudvayne, Blindside, and Xzibit.[14] Additionally, Metallica invited Linkin Park to play at the Summer Sanitarium Tour 2003, which included well-known acts such as Limp Bizkit, Mudvayne and Deftones.[30] The band released an album and DVD, entitled Live in Texas, which consisted of audio and video tracks of some of the band's performances in Texas during the tour.[14] In early 2004, Linkin Park started a world tour titled the Meteora World Tour, supporting bands on the tour included Hoobastank, P.O.D. and Story of the Year.

Meteora earned the band multiple awards and honors. The band won the MTV awards for Best Rock Video for "Somewhere I Belong" and the Viewer's Choice Award for "Breaking the Habit".[31] Linkin Park also received significant recognition during the 2004 Radio Music Awards, winning the Artist of the Year and Song of the Year ("Numb") awards.[31] Although Meteora was not nearly as successful as Hybrid Theory, it was the third best selling album in the United States during 2003.[16] The band spent the first few months of 2004 touring around the world, first with the third Projekt Revolution tour, and later several European concerts.[16]

Side projects (2004–06)Edit

Following Meteora's success, the band postponed working on a new studio album for the next few years. Instead, Linkin Park continued to tour and work on many side projects. Bennington appeared on DJ Lethal’s "State of the Art" and other work with Dead by Sunrise, while Shinoda did work with Depeche Mode.[16] In 2004, the band began to work with Jay-Z to produce another remix album, entitled Collision Course. The album, which featured intermixed lyrics and background tracks from both artists' previous albums, debuted in November 2004. Shinoda also formed a new band, Fort Minor, as a side project. With the aid of Jay-Z, Fort Minor released its debut album, The Rising Tied, to critical acclaim.[32][33] At the same time, the band's relationship with Warner Bros. Records was deteriorating rapidly on account of several trust and financial issues.[34] After months of feuding, the band finally negotiated a deal in December 2005.[35]

Linkin Park also participated in numerous charitable events, most notably raised money to benefit victims of Hurricane Charley in 2004 and later hurricane Katrina in 2005.[16] The band donated $75,000 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation in March 2004.[36] They also helped relief efforts for the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami victims by staging several charity concerts and setting up an additional fund called "Music for Relief".[37] Most notably, however, the band participated at Live 8, a series of charitable benefit concerts set up to raise global awareness.[38] Alongside Jay-Z, the band performed on Live 8's stage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|Philadelphia, to a global audience.[38] The band would later be reunited with Jay-Z at the Grammy Award Ceremony 2006, during which they performed "Numb/Encore", en route to winning a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.[39] They would later go on to play at the 2006 Summer Sonic music festival, which was hosted by Metallica in Japan.[40]

Minutes to Midnight (2006–08)Edit

Main article: Minutes to Midnight

Linkin Park returned to the recording studios in 2006 to work on new material. To produce the album, the band chose producer Rick Rubin. Despite initially stating the album would debut sometime in 2006, the album was delayed until 2007.[7] The band had recorded thirty to fifty songs in August 2006, when Shinoda stated the album was halfway completed.[41] Bennington later added that the new album would stray away from its previous nu metal sound.[42] Warner Bros. Records officially announced that the band’s third studio album, entitled Minutes to Midnight, would be released on May 15, 2007 in the United States.[43] After spending fourteen months working on the album, the band members opted to further refine their album by removing five of the original seventeen tracks. The album’s title, a reference to the Doomsday Clock, foreshadowed the band's new lyrical themes.[44] Minutes to Midnight sold over 625,000 copies in its first week, making it one of the most successful debut week albums in recent years. The album also took the top spot on the Billboard Charts.[10]

The album's first single, "What I've Done" was released on April 2, and premiered on MTV and Fuse within the same week.[45] The single was acclaimed by listeners, becoming the top-ranked song on the Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts.[46] The song is also used in soundtrack for the 2007 action film, Transformers. Later in the year, the band won the "Favorite Alternative Artist" in the American Music Awards.[47] The band also saw success with the rest of the albums singles, "Bleed It Out", "Shadow of the Day", "Given Up", and "Leave Out All the Rest", which were released throughout 2007 and early 2008. The band also collaborated with Busta Rhymes on his single "We Made It", which was released on April 29.[48]

Linkin Park's touring and live shows have, among other things, included a performance at Live Earth Japan on July 7, 2007.[49] and headlining Download Festival in Donington Park, England and Edgefest in Downsview Park, Toronto, Canada. The band completed touring on its fourth Projekt Revolution tour before taking up an Arena tour around the United Kingdom, visiting Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester, before finishing on a double night at the O2 arena in London. Bennington stated that Linkin Park plans to release a follow-up album to Minutes to Midnight.[50] However, he stated the band will first embark on a United States tour to gather inspiration for the album.[50] In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bennington said that the band had already begun writing new material for the album, and Shinoda too stated that the album could well be released in late 2009. Mike Shinoda also announced a live CD/DVD entitled "Road to Revolution: Live at Milton Keynes", which is a live video recording from the Projekt Revolution gig at the Milton Keynes Bowl on 29 June 2008, which was officially released on 24 November 2008.[51]

A Thousand Suns (2008–present)Edit

In October 2008 Mike Shinoda revealed on his blog that he, Phoenix and Hahn had begun working on two song ideas at Hahn's home, with studio recording to begin in earnest soon.[52] In 2008, Bennington announced that Linkin Park's fourth studio release would be a concept album.[53] The band did not release many specific details about the album. In an interview with MTV in November 2008, Bennington stated, "It sounds a little daunting to me, so, I think my confidence level will drop, but when it was presented to us by this friend of ours, we liked the idea. It was an inspiring idea, and it was something we could relate a lot of the things we like to write about to". He also added that the band planned to begin recording in December for a six-week session. The album was expected in mid 2009, but in late March, Mike Shinoda wrote on his blog saying "We're hoping to have Chester's Dead By Sunrise album out this fall, and the new LP album out early next year."[54]

In December 2008, Digidesign gave the band the opportunity to preview the new Pro Tools 8 software. The experiment resulted in an instrumental song called "Lockjaw" performed by Shinoda and Bourdon.[55]

In April 2009, Shinoda revealed on his blog that Linkin Park would be working on the score for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen with successful film composer, Hans Zimmer.[56] On May 7, it was further confirmed that the song recorded for the film was titled "New Divide", and was released as a single on May 18.[57][58] The music video for "New Divide" was released on June 12, 2009 and was directed by Hahn. On June 22, 2009, the band played a short set after the premiere of the movie. The concert took place on the street in Westwood Village.

In May 2009, Linkin Park announced that they were working on their fourth album to be released in 2010, with the aim for it to be "genre-busting."[59] Shinoda also stated recently in an interview with IGN that the new album would have in comparison to Minutes to Midnight a bigger "thread of consistency" and would also be more experimental and "hopefully more cutting-edge".[60] Additionally Bennington confirmed that Rick Rubin would return to produce the new album.[61]

In July 2009, Linkin Park played at the Wikipedia:Sonisphere Festival in Europe. They also played at the Epicenter music festival In August 2009.

On January 19, 2010, Linkin Park released a new song entitled "Not Alone" as part of a compilation from Music for Relief in support of the Haiti Earthquake crisis. On February 10, 2010, Linkin Park released the official music video for the song on their homepage.

The band has produced a video game titled 8-Bit Rebellion!, released April 26, 2010, for the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. The game includes a new song, "Blackbirds", which is unlocked when the player completes the game. Mike Shinoda has also stated that the game will be regularly updated with new content over time.[62]

On June 6, the band revealed that its new album was nearing completion, and announced the first five dates for their first tour for 2010. The tour began in Los Angeles, California on September 7.[63][64][65] Six days later, Shinoda revealed that Linkin Park has almost made its decisions for all of the final qualities for the album, which include the track listing, album title, and cover art.[66]

On July 8, Linkin Park officially announced that their new album, A Thousand Suns, is scheduled to be released on September 14. The album's first single, "The Catalyst," was released on August 2, 2010.[67][68][69] A second song, Wretches and Kings, was released on September 2 to people who pre-ordered the album through Linkin Park's official website (which was in keeping with the band's promise that those who pre-ordered the album through the official website would receive music before any other outlet).[70] On September 8, 2010, the band further debuted two more tracks "Waiting for the End" and "Blackout" on their Myspace Page.[71]

The band, on their official website declared the "Full Experience Myspace Premiere" of the album on September 10.[72] On August 31, 2010, It was announced that the band would perform the single live for the first at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2010.[73] The venue of the debut live performance of the single was Griffith Observatory, an iconic location used in Hollywood Movies.[74][75] However, the venue was held secret till the performance, but was revealed to be a prominent landmark of Los Angeles.[76] "Waiting for the End" was released as the second single of A Thousand Suns. The band is currently supporting the album by their A Thousand Suns Tour which has select dates in various countries.

The band have also released a new compilation exclusively for Linkin Park Underground members entitled Underground X: Demos, which contains multiple unreleased songs and demos.[77]

The band reached #8 in Billboard Social 50, a chart of the most active artists on the world's leading social networking sites.[78] In other Billboard Year-End charts, the band reached #92 in the "Top Artists" chart,[79] as well as A Thousand Suns reaching #53 in the Year-End chart of the Billboard Top 200 albums[80] and #7 in the 2010 Year-End Rock Albums, and "The Catalyst" reaching #40 in the Year-End Rock Songs chart.[81]

Musical styleEdit

Both Hybrid Theory and Meteora combine the alternative metal,[6] nu metal,[16][82][83][84][85] and rap rock[85][86] sound with influences and elements from hip-hop, alternative rock,[87] and electronica, utilizing programming and synthesizers. William Ruhlmann from Allmusic regarded it as "a Johnny-come-lately to an already overdone musical style,"[88] whereas Rolling Stone described their song "Breaking the Habit" as "risky, beautiful art".[89]

In Minutes to Midnight the band experimented with their established sound and drew influences from a wider and more varied range of genres and styles, a process Los Angeles Times compares to a stage in U2's work.[90] In it, only two of the songs feature rapping, and the majority of the album can be considered alternative rock.[91][92]

The vocal interplay between Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda plays as a major part within Linkin Park's music, with Bennington being the lead vocalist and Shinoda as the rapping vocalist. On Linkin Park's third album, Minutes to Midnight, Shinoda sings lead vocals on "In Between", "Hands Held High", and on the B-side "No Roads Left". In The Catalyst, the first single from the band's fourth album, A Thousand Suns Tour, both Shinoda and Bennington sing. On the most of tracks off the record, the band notably used electronic drumbeats along with outro drumbeats. The album has been regarded as a turning point in the band's musical career by notable critics. James Montgomery, of MTV compared the record to Radiohead's Kid A.[93] Shinoda stated that he and the other band members were deeply influenced by Chuck D and Public Enemy, further elucidating "Public Enemy were very three-dimensional with their records because although they seemed political, there was a whole lot of other stuff going on in there too. It made me think how three-dimensional I wanted our record to be without imitating them of course, and show where we were at creatively".[83] The record further features a "Political Element" consisting notable speeches by American political figures.[94]

Band membersEdit

Current members
  • Chester Bennington – vocals (since 1999)
  • Rob Bourdon – drums (since 1996)
  • Brad Delson – lead guitar (since 1996)
  • David "Phoenix" Farrell – bass guitar (1996–1998, 1999, since 2001)
  • Joseph "Mr." Hahn – turntables, keyboard, samples (since 1996)
  • Mike Shinoda – vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboard (since 1996)
Former members
  • Mark Wakefield - vocals (1996–1998)
  • Kyle Christener - bass guitar (1999)
  • Scott Koziol - bass guitar (2000–2001)


Main article: Linkin Park discography

Studio albums


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  • Saulmon, Greg. Linkin Park. Contemporary Musicians and Their Music. New York: Rosen Pub. Group, 2007. ISBN 1-4042-0713-9.
  • Baltin, Steve. From The Inside: Linkin Park's Meteora. California: Bradson Press, 2004. ISBN 0-9603574-1-6.

External linksEdit

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