The name “Linkin Park” brings to mind a picture of a group of funky, tattooed boys, heavy metal music, and lyrics with deep meanings. A band that is widely known and loved by every hip-hop fan, Linkin Park re-invented hip-hop music and took it to a new level. Winner of many accolades and awards, Linkin Park has ruled the hearts of millions of people all over the world for years. But fame never came on a platter to them, they have hit numerous roadblocks and seen massive failures before becoming one of the world’s most loved band.

1. The band was established by three high school friends, Mike Shinoda, Rob Bourdon, and Brad Delson. They roped in Joe Hahn, Dave “Phoenix” Farrell, and Mark Wakefield later on.  However, unsuccessful attempts and a standstill in the band’s activities resulted in Wakefield and Phoenix’s exit.





Linkin Park Band
Image credit: SAN1713911/wikimedia

Three friends, Mike Shinoda, Rob Bourdon, and Brad Delson who went to Agoura High School in California turned to harness their musical interests after graduating. They established a band of their own named “Xero” along with Joe Hahn, Dave “Phoenix” Farrell, and Mark Wakefield. Though they managed to record a few songs and a demo tape, they could not strike a successful deal with any record label. Such sluggish activity led to the exit of band’s lead vocalist, Mark Wakefield. His exit was followed by Phoenix’s departure on a tour with another band named Tasty Snax and eventual exit from Linkin Park.(source)

2. Before rising to fame as “Linkin Park”, the band had changed its name twice. They began their journey with the name “Xero” and changed it to “Hybrid Theory” before adopting the name “Linkin Park.” 





Xero linkin park
Image credit: music.wikia.com

The band was not founded as “Linkin Park.” They started off with the name “Xero.” The reshuffling of band members due to the exit of a few old members and entry of new members also saw a name change from “Xero” to “Hybrid.” The band witnessed a lot of transformation in these early years which ended with its final name change to “Linkin Park.” In fact, the then lead vocalist, Chester Bennington. wanted to rename it as “Lincoln Park.” This was after a public park which he regularly passed in Santa Monica. To their dismay, the domain name with “Lincoln Park” was already in use and hence they changed it to “Linkin Park.”(1,2)

3. In their initial days, the band recorded and produced its songs in Mike Shinoda’s makeshift bedroom studio due to limited resources.





Mike Shinoda’s makeshift bedroom studio
Image credit: Linkin Park

Freshly graduated, the boys did not have any fancy studio in which to work in the beginning. One of the founders, Mike Shinoda, had arranged for a temporary studio in his bedroom where the band used to practice. Though they had very limited resources at their disposal, they began producing and recording songs in this studio and came up with a demo tape of four songs.(source)

4. While in high school, Rob Bourdon and Brad Delson started a band named “Relative Degree” with Mark Wakefield. It was their dream to play one show at “The Roxy Theatre,” a West Hollywood club for upcoming bands.





Rob Bourdon and Brad Delson
Image sources: 1,2

During high school, Rob Bourdon, Brad Delson, Mark Wakefield, and a bass player from the group “Karma” set up a band named “Relative Degree.” Their genre was mainly funky hip hop and rap. The band cherished a dream of getting a chance to perform one show at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, California. The band wrote 12 songs and rehearsed for a year. Mike Shinoda, who was also their high school friend, never joined the band but did include some of his sample beats in their songs. Their dream came true on May 17, 1996, when they finally got a chance to perform at The Roxy. However, the band lost direction after that and disintegrated.(source)

5. During his childhood, Chester Bennington was a victim of sexual abuse. It began when he was around seven years of age and continued until the age of thirteen. Chester was scared to reveal this to anyone for the fear of being considered as a liar or gay.





Chester Bennington in childhood
Image source: upstation.id

Chester Bennington had a very tough childhood. At the age of seven, one of his older male friends started molesting and sexually abusing him. He was beaten up and was forced to do things. Chester wanted to seek help but his confidence was completely shattered and he hid this fact for the fear of being mocked by others. Chester revealed the abuser’s identity to his father eventually but decided to let things be when he came to know that the abuser was a victim himself. He quietly weathered the abuse till the age of thirteen. The abuse, along with his parents’ disturbed marriage, led to an emotional turmoil and he felt like killing people and running away. Chester turned to drawing pictures and writing songs to find some solace.(1,2)

6. Mike Shinoda and Mark Wakefield used to make joke songs, just for fun, on weekends during high school and college.





Mike Shinoda
Image credit: Linkin Park

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Mike Shinoda described his first interface with hip-hop music that began when he was around 13 years old. Till that time he was unaware of rock & roll and would listen to B. B. King songs. He would try to make some hip hop beats and rap. But most of his time would be spent on making joke songs on weekend with his friend Mark Wakefield. The trend of gangsta rap had just emerged that time and they made a lot of joke gangsta rap songs. They also ended up making a demo tape of such gangsta rap songs named “Pooch Pound” that included spoofs of big hip-hop records like Snoop Dogg and many others. They made a song called “North Coast Killa” to outperform their Canadian gangsta rivals.(1,2)

7Before beginning his career as a professional musician, Chester Bennington used to work at Burger King.





Chester Bennington, Burger King
Image credits: Chester Bennington Phoenix/wikimediaBurger King/wikimedia

Chester Bennington faced a lot of difficulties before becoming a professional musician. When he was 11, his parents underwent a divorce and he began to stay with his father. He took to drugs and heavy drinking to overcome the emotional disturbance in his life. When he was 17, he began staying with his mother. During that time, Chester started to work at a Burger King restaurant to earn a living.(source)

8. Rob Bourdon, the drummer of the band, began playing the drums after watching an Aerosmith concert.





Rob Bourdon, Aerosmith
Image credits: Stefan Brending/wikimediaSelbymay/wikimedia

Aerosmith was Rob Bourdon’s inspiration to begin playing drums. Rob’s mother, Patty, was a friend and an ex-dating partner of Aerosmith’s drummer, Joey Kramer. Due to this rapport, Rob could go backstage and see the whole band and production. Joey Kramer had also given a kick pedal to Rob once.(source)

9. Just before joining Linkin Park, Chester Bennington had almost decided to quit music due to failures and frustration. Even after joining the band, Bennington was homeless and used to live out of a car.





Chester Bennington
Image credit: Linkin Park

In 1996, Chester Bennington married Samantha Olit and the two stayed in Phoenix. Chester worked as an assistant at a digital-services firm and also pursued music through his band “Grey Daze.” However, things did not work out and he left the band in 1998. Frustration built up as he struggled to find another band, and he was on the verge of quitting music altogether. His wife supported him and stopped him from quitting. A year after this incident, Chester Bennington received a call from Jeff Blue, the Vice President of A&R at Zomba Music in Los Angeles, offering him to audition with “Xero.” After his successful entry in the band, Chester still struggled to make ends meet. When he came to L.A., he was homeless, slept on couches, borrowed from friends or relatives, and even secretly slept in his car.(source)

10. Chester Bennington was prone to accidents and injuries. From being bitten by a recluse spider to breaking his wrist, Chester has suffered a lot of injuries and accidents in his life.





Chester Bennington's accident
Image credit: linkinpark/twitter

Chester Bennington was an accident and injury-prone person. He suffered health issues during the making of their album “Meteora” and missed some of the recording sessions. In 2001, while on tour for the Ozzfest, Chester was bitten by a recluse spider in his hotel in Boston. In 2003, while shooting the song “Numb” in Prague, he underwent surgery due to severe abdominal pain and gastrointestinal issues. The same year, the band had to cancel their European tour owing to the viral infection caught by Bennington. In 2007, while performing at Melbourne, he tried to jump off the stage and suffered a wrist injury. In 2010, he suffered from ligament tear while playing basketball at Chuck E. Cheese. In 2011, he fell ill resulting in the canceling and rescheduling of band’s shows. He injured his ankle in 2015 while playing basketball and underwent another surgery.(1,2)

11. Linkin Park faced numerous rejections from most of the major record labels in the beginning. Warner Brothers had rejected Linkin Park three times before signing a deal. The band finally managed to crack the deal with them in 1999.





Linkin Park
Image credit: Twitter

The band has been at the pinnacle of success for many years. However, in their nascent stage, not only did they struggle with early exits of band members, but they also had to face multiple rejections from major record companies. For three years after being formed, the band was turned down by every major record label. Warner brothers rejected them three times before finally signing them in 1999. Jeff Blue, the Vice President of A&R at Zomba Music, helped the band in getting the deal signed with Warner Brothers. Jeff, in an interview, once mentioned that a Xero club date had no audience and had to be filled with A&R scouts, and they too left the place by the end of the third song, making the place empty. After Bennington joined in 1999, the band played forty-two showcases for labels and got rejected by everybody.(1,2)

12. Linkin Park’s debut album “Hybrid Theory” is the best-selling debut album of the 21st century. Up until this date, it has sold close to 10,500,000 copies in the US.





Hybrid Theory
Image courtesy: linkinpark.com

The debut album of Linkin Park was named “Hybrid Theory.” It was released on October 24, 2000, under the Warner Brothers record label. The album had four singles and the lyrics of these songs were drawn from the childhood trauma that Chester Bennington faced. The music for this album was first produced as a nine-track demo tape in 1999. The band sent this demo tape to forty-two different record companies and was turned down by every single one before being signed by Warner Bros. Records. The recording of the album was carried out at NRG Recordings in North Hollywood, California. The album was nominated for the Best Rock Album at the 2002 Grammy Awards. The album is also listed among the “1001 albums you must hear before you die.” The single “In the End” became the highest charting song from the album.(source)  

13. Chester Bennington did not like the song “In the End” initially and did not want it to be included in the album Hybrid Theory. However, it went on to become one of the most loved songs.





In the end linkin park
Image credit: giphy

The single “In the End” from Linkin Park’s super successful debut album “Hybrid Theory” was initially not quite approved by the lead vocalist, Chester Bennington. He did not want it to be a part of Hybrid Theory. However, it was included on the album and went on to become the band’s highest charting single in the U.S. It gained a lot of popularity in many other countries as well. It is the most played song in all of the band’s live performances. Chester Bennington later confessed that for some unfathomable reasons, he could not appreciate the song at that time, however, later on, he liked the song a lot.(1,2)

14. One of the founders and lead singer of Linkin Park, Mike Shinoda, was threatened to be removed from the band by Warner Brothers during their debut album “Hybrid Theory”.





Mike Shinoda playing guitar
Image credit: Norrel Blair/wikiwand

After being rejected by Warner Bros. Record three times and finally getting signed under Warner’s label, the band began working on their debut album, Hybrid Theory. In one of the interviews, Chester Bennington revealed that while the recordings for “Hybrid Theory” were going on, Warner Bros. wanted to remove Mike Shinoda from the band. He added that the band members truly had a lot of faith in their approach and were unable to understand the reason for wanting to remove Mike. However, that did not happen and Hybrid Theory went on to become a blockbuster album of the band. Warner Bros. later understood the valuable contribution of Mike to the band.(source)

15. Before the release of “Hybrid Theory,” Chester Bennington made a bet with Myra Simpson, National Promotions Manager at Warner Brothers. She challenged him that if the album went “Gold” by Christmas of 2000, she would give him the Stone Temple Pilots’ plaque. The album indeed went “Gold” by Christmas and Bennington won the bet.





Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory
Image credit: Peter Petrus/flickr

Linkin Park’s debut album, Hybrid Theory, was released under the label of Warner Bros. Records. Myra Simpson, the National Promotions Manager at Warner Bros. Records, had a triple platinum Stone Temple Pilots’ plaque with her. Chester Bennington, a big fan of Stone Temple Pilot (STP), was challenged by Myra that if the album went “Gold” by Christmas, she would give it away to him. On topping the charts and becoming “Gold” by Christmas, Bennington won the bet and the STP plaque too. He slept with it in his bed every night while on tours.(source) 

16. In 2005, Linkin Park and Warner Brothers decided to part ways owing to some financial differences and trust issues. However, their contract was resigned after a few months.





Linkin Park and Warner Brothers
Image credit: mikeshinoda/twitter

In 2005, Warner Bros. Records went through an Initial Stock Offering to the public. According to the band, the label expected to raise around $750 million from the IPO, but did not plan to spend any of that on Linkin Park in spite of Linkin Park being their biggest act. The label was accused of using a part of that money to reward the top executives heftily. On the flip side, Warner Bros. said that Linkin Park was trying to extort money from them. The band asked for a $60 million advance for its next record which was rejected and brought down to $15 million and a fifty-fifty profit split for five albums by Warner. The band did not accept this offer and threatened to spoil the IPO. It all ended in both partners deciding to part ways. However, after a few months, the two reunited in December 2005.(source)

17. In 2015, Linkin Park played their first show in Beijing. Apparently, the band had to submit a list of songs to the Chinese government for its review and approval. The Chinese government requested the band remove a few songs due to censorship laws. Even during their visit to Shanghai in 2009, the band had to get their list of songs pre-approved by the Chinese government.





Linkin Park Beijing
Image credit: Daniel Wong/youtube

Linkin Park’s China visits have a story to tell. The band had to submit a list of songs which it planned to perform on stage to the Chinese government in advance. Linkin Park visited China twice and had to do this both times. It required a nod from the Chinese government before performing. This was due to the cultural gaps and stringent government policies. Out of the list submitted to the government, Linkin Park was asked to remove “Given Up” and “Hands Held High.” The band abided by the rules and replaced those songs with others. Other artists like Metallica also had to remove a few songs before performing in China.(1,2)

18. Chester Bennington was a very close friend of Soundgarden’s lead singer Chris Cornell. Chris Cornell committed suicide on May 18, 2017, by hanging himself. Chris Bennington was devastated by this news and also wrote a gratitude letter to Cornell on Instagram. Two months later, on July 20, which would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday, Bennington also committed suicide by hanging himself.





Chester Bennington Death
Image credit: linkinpark/twitter

Chris Cornell, a well-known American singer, musician, and song writer was lead vocalist in bands like Soundgarden and Audioslave. In 2008, Cornell was seen performing with Linkin Park in their shows of Projekt Revolution tour. Cornell and Bennington were very close friends and Bennington happened to be the godfather to Cornell’s son Christopher. On May 18, 2017, Cornell committed suicide by hanging himself and was found dead in his bathroom in Detroit. Chester Bennington was shattered by Cornell’s death and sang “Hallelujah” at his funeral. He even wrote a letter to him on Instagram expressing his grief. After two months, on July 20, 2017, which would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday, Chester Bennington committed suicide by hanging himself and was found dead in his apartment.(source)

19. The band has established a non-profit organization named “Music for Relief” to undertake various causes for social welfare. 





Music for Relief - Linkin Park
Image source: musicforrelief.org

Through “Music for Relief,” Linkin Park assisted “We Care Solar,” another non-profit organization, in bringing solar energy to health clinics in Uganda and encouraged Linkin Park fans to sign a pledge to support sustainable energy for all. We Care Solar had designed a “Solar Suitcase” to facilitate health workers with lighting, communication devices and power for medical devices. Linkin Park promoted this suitcase in their concerts and urged supporters to extend their help by donating $10 or more. Mike Shinoda expressed his concerns over medicine being practiced in dark places. He conveyed the importance of using solar power in such places to make the life of people and health workers better.(source)

20. Linkin Park has won two Grammy Awards and has been nominated for it six times.





Linkin park grammy
Image credit: tumblr

In 2002, Linkin Park was nominated for “Best Hard Rock Performance” for “Crawling,” “Best Rock Album“ for “Hybrid Theory,” and “Best New Artist” for the band itself. It won the title of “Best Hard Rock Performance.” In 2004, it was nominated for “Best Rock Instrumental Performance” for “Session,” however, could not win it. In 2006, it won the Grammy for “Best Rap / Sung Collaboration” for “Numb / Encore.” In 2010, it was nominated for “Best Hard Rock Performance” carried out live at Milton Keynes, for “What I‘ve done” from Road to Revolution, however, could not win it.(source)

21. In 2012, Linkin Park became the first rock band to have more than one billion views on Youtube.





Linkin park billion views
Image credit: giphy

Linkin Park got over one billion hits on their own YouTube channel, LinkinParkTV, for their single “New Divide.” It was the leading single to the soundtrack “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” which alone received 131 million views. Lady Gaga was the first artist to hit the one billion views mark in 2010. Her record was broken by Justin Bieber who received 2.8 billion views. The other rock bands in line behind Linkin Park are Red Hot Chili Peppers and Green Day.(source)

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