Linkin Park Remembered
A brief note on the band Linkin Park after the tragic news regarding the death of the band’s frontman Chester Bennington.
When the nu metal wave arrived from US shores, Linkin Park found themselves included in this number featuring an assortment of bands making and breaking the latest news in the UK music press, not to mention BBC’s Top of the Pops performances and video outings on various music programmes. In fact, nu metal was everywhere, and the bands associated with this scene could do no wrong.
But there was something different about the band Linkin Park who started out life in Agoura Hills, California, under the name Xero before changing to Hybrid Theory and later settling on Linkin Park, which was in honour (of sorts) to Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park, because they managed to successfully mix various ingredients together including an assortment of genres i.e. rap and rock, alternative rock, indie and yes, pop music.
Once all of the pieces were in place and a deal with Warner Bros. was finalised in 1999 (lead singer Chester Bennington was recruited to the band around this time) it wasn’t until the following year that Linkin Park released their debut album ‘Hybrid Theory’ (2000). The success of this debut album was on a large scale with figures reporting sales reaching in excess of four million during its first year alone, which saw ‘Hybrid Theory’ receive the honour of best-selling album the following year. Furthermore, it was the likes of ‘Crawling’, ‘Papercut’, ‘One Step Closer’ and personal favourite, ‘In The End’, that, despite being successful singles, became the core songs of the entire album as they propelled Linkin Park’s name into the (for those listening) public’s imagination. In fact, Linkin Park were in the enviable position where they could have selected any number of songs from ‘Hybrid Theory’ as playback revealed a long player crammed with a commercial appeal, yet there was something different about these songs and that was the sociological commentary and personal references that seemed at odds with the global status Linkin Park were quickly acquiring.
After the huge success of ‘Hybrid Theory’, the follow-up ‘Meteora’ proved just as successful despite critics pointing out its main flaw and that was that the band had merely repeated the same formula as the first LP and, in the process, ended up with a carbon copy of ‘Hybrid Theory’ with slightly less impact. While some may comment, “Well, if it’s not broke, why fix it?” Linkin Park certainly had to change their tactics for the next album if they were going to continue being taken seriously or, for their own sake, carry on as a unit.
Thankfully, Linkin Park appeared to take on board any criticism aimed their way during ‘Meteora’ as the band started to experiment, tentatively at first, via the Rick Rubin produced album ‘Minutes To Midnight’ (2007), before opening the floodgates of creativity with the pursuing and rather excellent ‘A Thousand Suns’ (2009) that saw Rick Rubin on production duties again.
More albums followed for Linkin Park, but one thing remains firmly lodged in the mind regarding this band in the aftermath of the official confirmation of lead singer Chester Bennington’s demise, and that is his talent as a singer where he managed to transform the perception of such a role in terms of the genre that Linkin Park were rooted in. It was Bennington’s ability to combine a deep guttural vocal with something far sweeter when the moment arose and, more notably, he genuinely could SING; something of which was discussed at great length with a diehard Metal head who was more into the black variety of said genre, but fully identified the singing capabilities of Linkin Park’s frontman and yes, the very same FACT that indeed Chester Bennington could actually hold a tune. The main point however, was that Linkin Park had the ability to appeal to a whole variety of music lovers, and this is something they achieved to a great extent.