Having sold 60 million albums worldwide, you’ve probably already heard of Linkin Park. But how much do you really know about them? Formed in 1996 in Agoura Hills, California, this American rock band proves that hard work and never giving up on your dream really does pay off in the end, and for Linkin Park it paid off quite a bit.
Linkin Park was started by rapper/co-vocalist/keyboardist/rhythm guitarist/lead songwriter Mike Shinoda, drummer Rob Bourdon, and lead guitarist Brad Delson, who were all high school friends. Originally, they were called Xero. They recruited Joe Hahn and two other members after high school when they decided to take their music career more seriously. Eventually the two other members left the band because they failed to snag a record deal. Luckily, they eventually found Chester Bennington, who became their lead vocalist due to his very unique sounding voice and style. The band also changed their name to Linkin Park, a nod to Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park.
Even with Bennington’s presence in the band, they still failed to launch a record deal. They faced rejection after rejection from major labels, including Warner Brother Records three times. Bennington called in a favor with Jeff Blue, a music producer who introduced Bennington to the band, and Blue helped the band sign a deal with Warner Brother Records in 1999. At the time, Jeff Blue was the vice president of the huge record label. The following year, they released their debut album, Hybrid Theory.
Linkin Park is an extremely adaptable and diverse band, able to play different genres and styles and still be really good. Their first two albums, Hybrid Theory and Meteora,demonstrated their original style of nu-metal and rap metal. Hybrid Theory was an instant success. Linkin Park was rocket launched into fame. The album was eventually certified diamond by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) in 2005, and went multi-platinum in other countries. “One Step Closer” and “In the End” were probably the biggest hits off the album, and you can still catch these songs on the radio even today. Meteora topped the Billboard 200 Album Chart in 2003. Off that album you may recognize the hits, “Numb,” and “Breaking the Habit,” both songs aggressive, rowdy, and energetic, but so fun to listen to.
They changed musical style in their third album, Minutes to Midnight, which came out in 2007, four long years after Meteora. The band deviated from their nu-metal/nu-rap sound and experimented with more classic fundamentals from rock and hip-hop. “What I’ve Done” was the biggest hit off the album, featuring ferocious vocals from Bennington, and a striped down, raw rock sound from the band. Then their styles changed once again in their next album, A Thousand Suns, which was released in 2010. In this album they played around with a more electric beat and sound, much different than their original nu-metal sound, but still received great feedback.