Linkin Park is a nu-metal band from Agoura Hills, California. They formed in 1996, and have since sold more than fifty million albums and won two Grammies.They first achieved mainstream success in 2000 with their debut album, Hybrid Theory, which has since been certified Diamond by RIAA. The band’s following studio album, Meteora, also garnered success, topping the Billboard 200’s album charts in 2003, and was followed by extensive touring and charity work around the world.
Linkin Park is recognized for adapting the nu metal genre into a radio-friendly style, creating many successful singles, such as "In the End", "Crawling", "Numb", and "What I've Done", which were number one singles in several countries. They are also known for their several collaborations, most notably with rapper Jay-Z in their mash-up album Collision Course, and a plethora of other artists on Reanimation.The band’s latest album, Minutes to Midnight, which was released in May 2007, has stemmed away from their previous nu metal sound venturing into various other genres. The album topped the Billboard Charts by selling nearly 625,000 copies in its debut week, making it the best debut week of any album for the year.
Early years (1996-2000)
Originally consisting of three close high school friends from Agoura High School, Linkin Park’s foundation was anchored by Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson, and Rob Bourdon. After graduating from high school, the California natives later began to take their musical interests more seriously, recruiting Joe Hahn, Dave "Phoenix" Farrell, and Mark Wakefield to perform in their band, then titled Xero. Though limited in resources, the band began recording and producing songs within Shinoda’s make-shift bedroom studio in 1996. Tensions and frustration within the band began to increase after the band failed to land a record deal. The lack of success and stalemate in progress prompted Wakefield, at that time the band’s vocalist, to leave the band in search for other projects. Later, Farrell would also leave the band in order to tour with Tasty Snax and other bands.
After spending a considerable time searching for Wakefield’s surrogate, Xero recruited Arizona vocalist Chester Bennington. Jeff Blue, the vice president of Zomba Music, referred Bennington to the band in March of 1999. Bennington, formerly of Grey Daze, became a standout among applicants for his unique and vivid singing style. The newborn chemistry between Shinoda and Bennington helped revive the band, inciting them to work on new material. The band’s renaissance culminated with a change in name; from Hybrid Theory, the band changed their name to Linkin Park, a play on and homage to Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park. 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. Now aside with Warner Bros. Records, the band released their breakthrough album, Hybrid Theory, the following year.
Breakthrough: Hybrid Theory (2000-2002)
Linkin Park released Hybrid Theory on October 24, 2000. The album, which represented half a decade’s worth of the band’s work, was edited and polished by music producer Don Gilmore. Hybrid Theory was well received by music fans; the band sold more than 4.8 million records 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 playlists during the year. Additionally, other singles from the album were featured in movies such as Dracula 2000, Little Nicky, and Valentine. Hybrid Theory was also nominated for three Grammy Awards, including best new artist, best rock album, and best hard rock performance (for Crawling). MTV also awarded the band their Best Rock Video and Best Direction awards for In the End. Through the winning of the Grammy for best hard rock performance, and for Best Rock Album, Hybrid Theory’s overall success had catapulted the band into the mainstream's attention.
During this time, Linkin Park received many invitations to perform on many recognized tours and concerts including Ozzfest, Family Values Tour and KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas. The band also formed their own tour, Projekt Revolution, which featured other notable artists such as, Cypress Hill, Adema, and Snoop Dogg. Within a year’s stretch, Linkin Park had performed at over 320 concerts. The album "Reanimation" debuted on July 30, 2002, featuring the likes of Black Thought, Jonathan Davis, Aaron Lewis, and many others. Reanimation claimed the second spot on the Billboard 200, and sold nearly 270,000 copies during its debut week.
Continued success: Meteora (2002-2004)
Following the success of Hybrid Theory and Reanimation, Linkin Park spent a significant amount of time touring around the United States. The band began to work on new material amidst the saturated schedule, spending a sliver of their free time in their tour bus' studio. The band officially announced the production of a new studio album in December 2002, revealing their new work was inspired by the rocky region of Meteora in Greece, where a lot of monasteries have been built on top of the rocks. Meteora featured 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. Eponymous to Meteora, the Linkin Park's second album debuted on March 25, 2003 and instantly earned worldwide recognition. Meteora sold more than 800,000 copies during its first week, and it ranked as the best selling album on the Billboard charts. Music videos for some of the album's singles, including Somewhere I Belong, Breaking the Habit, Faint and Numb, received significant radio attention. Eventually, Meteora sold nearly three million copies by October 2003. The album's success allowed Linkin Park to form another Projekt Revolution, which featured other bands and artists including, Mudvayne, Blindside, and Xzibit. Additionally, Metallica, a famed heavy metal group, invited Linkin Park to play at the Summer Sanitarium Tour 2003, which included well-known acts such as Limp Bizkit, Mudvayne and Deftones 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. Meteora also earned the band additional awards and honors. The band won MTV's awards for Best Rock Video (Somewhere I Belong), Viewer's Choice Award (Breaking the Habit). 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. Although Meteora was not nearly as successful as Hybrid Theory, it was the third best selling album in America during 2003. 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.
Side projects and charity work (2004-2006)
Following Meteora's success, the band postponed working on a new studio album for the next several 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. 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' backgrounds, 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 their debut album, The Rising Tied, to critical acclaim. On the home front, the band's relationship with Warner Bros. Records was declining rapidly on account of several trust and financial issues. After months of feuding, the band finally negotiated a deal in December 2005. Additionally, they also participated in numerous charitable events. Linkin Park helped raise money to benefit victims of Hurricane Charley in 2004 and later Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They also helped relief efforts for the 2004 Tsunami victims by staging several charity concerts and setting up an additional fund called "Music for Relief". Most notably, however, the band participated at Live 8, a series of charitable benefit concerts set up to raise global awareness. Alongside Jay-Z, the band performed on Live 8's stage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a global audience. 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. They would later go on to play at the 2006 Summer Sonic music festival, which was hosted by Metallica in Japan.
Reemergence: Minutes to Midnight (2006-present)
Linkin Park returned to the recording studios in 2006 to work on new material. To produce the album, the band chose popular producer Rick Rubin. Despite initially stating the album would debut sometime in 2006, the album was pushed off to 2007. The band had recorded thirty to fifty songs in August of 2006, when Shinoda stated the album was halfway completed. Bennington later added that the new album would stray away from their previous nu metal sound. 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. After spending fourteen months working on the album, the band opted to further refine their album by removing five of the original seventeen tracks. Minutes to Midnight sold over 600,000 copies in its first week, making it one of the most successful debut week albums in recent years. The album also captured the top spot on the Billboard Charts. The album's first single, "What I've Done" was released on April 2, and later premiered on MTV and Fuse within the same week. The single was acclaimed by listeners, reaching the Billboard Hot 100 days after its debut, and later was the top-ranked song on the Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts. Billboard has reported that two other singles, "Given Up" and "Shadow of the Day", are scheduled for release later in the year. However, such details have yet to be officially confirmed by the band. Bleed It Out was confirmed to be the second single from Minutes to Midnight, and will be released August 20, 2007.
Linkin Park performed at Live Earth Japan on July 7, 2007. and is headling their famed summer tour Projekt Revolution in its fourth installment.