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Remembering Chester Bennington, Five Years Later: How The Linkin Park Singer Influenced Rock & A Generation Of Artists
Chester Bennington performs at I-Days Festival in Milano, Italy, on June 17, 2017.

Photo: Mairo Cinquetti/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Remembering Chester Bennington, Five Years Later: How The Linkin Park Singer Influenced Rock & A Generation Of Artists

On the fifth anniversary of Chester Bennington's tragic death, GRAMMY.com looks back on the legacy he created with Linkin Park.

GRAMMYs/Jul 20, 2022 - 09:45 pm

On July 20, 2017, the world mourned the loss of Chester Bennington, the beloved frontman of Linkin Park. It was devastating news that jolted the rock community who had just lost Soundgarden's Chris Cornell two months prior. With the loss of Bennington — on what would've been Cornell's 53rd birthday — the genre said goodbye to two of its most influential voices.

Five years later, Bennington's influence is still reverberating, with generations of bands and vocalists still taking creative cues from the artistic road Linkin Park paved. Upon their debut with 2000's Hybrid Theory, the group sent a shockwave through popular culture with their unflinchingly unique sound that fused metal, hip-hop and electronic music. Coupled with confessional lyrics, Linkin Park's music helped usher rock into a new, more emotive era — with Bennington's powerful voice at the helm. 

"For all its testosterone rage, the band violated the notion that to be male is to be steady, unstudied, and tough," suggested The Atlantic in 2018, noting that they made music "the family could mosh to" thanks to its curse-free lyrics. "Linkin Park's form of nu metal — the rap-rock style in vogue around the turn of the millennium — was polished."  Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst was frank about the singer's personal impact on nu metal. "I told him if it weren't for him and his voice and his words, this genre would never have reached the masses and affected so many lives."

That nu metal sound, a rarity for a rock outfit, made Bennington and his bandmates (co-vocalist/keyboardist Mike Shinoda, lead guitarist Brad Delson, turntablist Joe Hahn, bassist Dave Farrell and drummer Rob Bourdon) global juggernauts. "Linkin Park turned nu metal universal," notedBillboard in the wake of Bennington's death. "It's hard to imagine many other hard-rock vocalists reaching so many souls." Buzzfeed reflected on the band's impact in 2020, with an article aptly titled "How Linkin Park Helped Suburban Teenagers Feel Their Feelings."

When Linkin Park first began making music together (initially under the name Xero), Bennington wasn't part of its original lineup. After fronting a couple of short-lived rock bands in his native Phoenix, Bennington worked a droll technology job until he got a fateful call from a music industry lawyer he knew. "[He said], 'Hey, there's this band in L.A. that has tons of people watching them. They're going to go places if they get the right guy, and I think you're the guy who can help them pull it off,'" Bennington once recalled. 

The fledgling band in question had their musical tires spinning in the mud, knowing something was missing. That certain something turned out to be a dynamic frontman — and Bennington felt he needed them as much as they needed him. He promptly quit his job and joined the group upon hearing their demo. "When this opportunity came up, I was like, 'This is it!'" he'd later recall. "I had a feeling about this one."

Shinoda was immediately taken aback by Bennington's vocal power. "Chester's voice was insane," he mused to Music Radar in 2020. "There was nothing else like it." Remembering Bennington's knack for vocals that conveyed both strength and vulnerability, Shinoda added, "I feel like we didn't even know the extent, meaning he and I, when we met and started writing together and experimenting with how he would fit into the band."

Shinoda's chemistry with Bennington quickly became clear as Linkin Park put together their debut album. And once Hybrid Theory was out in the world, it was evident that they had captured a sound that was both special and influential.

As Shinoda has said himself, "so many artists" have told him that they were only listening to one style of music before Linkin Park. "Now when I listen to new music and hear that seamless integration of so many different styles, I'm really proud to have played a part in bridging those gaps and blending those things," he added.

Linkin Park's expansive, genre-bending sound has inspired countless artists, especially those who were young when the group first debuted — like Colson Baker, who would later become known as Machine Gun Kelly. "Hybrid Theory was one of the first three CDs that I ever had in my life," Baker told Kerrang in 2020

Released when Kelly was just 10 years old, Hybrid Theory and its unique tracks — including Linkin Park's biggest hit, "In The End," and the GRAMMY-winning single "Crawling" — proved to be a formative musical lesson for the future star. As Shinoda alluded, MGK said he was listening to decidedly different music before Linkin Park. "When 'Papercut' comes on and that fing beat kicks in — oh my God! Imagine going from listening to the Grease* soundtrack to listening to that!"

Hybrid Theory was a ubiquitous creative beacon for aspiring musicians. That includes Austin Carlile, the frontman for the rock band Of Mice and Men. "I bought Hybrid Theory when I was a sophomore in high school," he told Revolver in 2015.  "It was the angriest thing I'd ever heard at the time, other than Pantera — but Pantera was my dad's music, and this was the first record I really got into that I didn't learn about through him. Linkin Park has been my band for such a long time."

"They're one of those bands that I always have in the back of my mind when we're thinking about where a song should go next," Oli Sykes, singer for British rock group Bring Me the Horizon, told Alternative Press in an interview for Hybrid Theory's 20th anniversary. Upon Bennington's death, Corin Roddick (of electro-pop act Purity Ring) shared a similar sentiment in a Twitter tribute. "Linkin Park was my first concert," he wrote, "and it inspired me to make music." 

That influence continued with 2003's Meteora, their acclaimed sophomore album that resulted in the hit single "Numb." (A year later, they released "Numb/Encore," a duet with Jay-Z from their 2004 collaborative album Collision Course; the collab won a GRAMMY for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2006.) By 2007, the band joined forces with the legendary producer Rick Rubin for Minutes to Midnight, their third album which subsequently went five times platinum and spawned the GRAMMY-nominated smash "What I've Done."

It was a penchant for boundary pushing that extended late into Bennington's run in the band, including their seventh studio album, One More Light, released two months before his death. Though the band's lyrics had never shied away from discussing mental struggles, the album's lead single, "Heavy," specifically disclosed the depression and demons that were haunting Bennington. "I don't like my mind right now," his painful lyrics go. "Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary."

Five years on, Bennington's legacy is still thriving, both musically and through 320 Changes Direction, the mental health advocacy organization his wife, Talinda, started in his memory. "Just sitting here thinking that I can't believe it's been 5 years since I last saw you and kissed your sweet face goodbye," she recently wrote on social media. 

Fans also took to social media to remember Bennington on the fifth anniversary of his passing, with many using the hashtag #MakeChesterProud. "It's been 5 years and it hasn't been easy," one fan wrote on Twitter. "But thank you for always clearing my head, healing my heart and lifting my spirit. We miss you so much."

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MusiCares MAP Fund Charity Auction Launched

GRAMMY Charity Online Auctions offers exclusive memorabilia from seventh annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Following the seventh annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit honoring Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan and Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman on May 6, GRAMMY Charity Online Auctions has launched the MusiCares MAP Fund Charity Auction. Presented in partnership with Kompolt, the auction is open through May 19 and features a variety of autographed music memorabilia, including items signed backstage at the MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert by Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, Gahan and Paramore.

Additional auction items include a framed issue of Rolling Stone signed by the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger; vintage memorabilia signed by Tony Bennett, Jackson Browne, Annie Lennox, Rod Stewart, and Barbra Streisand; guitars autographed by Kings Of Leon, Korn, Tom Petty, Kenny Rogers, and Keith Urban; unique memorabilia signed by Jeff Beck, Justin Bieber, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Muse, Katy Perry, and Rihanna; and a 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards VIP Experience for two including rehearsal passes and hotel accommodations.

To place your bid on items featured in the auction, visit www.ebay.com/grammy. All proceeds will benefit MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation.

7th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit
Martin Gore and Dave Gahan perform at the MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert

Photo: Jordan Strauss/WireImage.com

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7th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. In this special installment of The Set List, we're bringing you the scoop from the seventh annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit, honoring Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan and Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman. As always, our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which artists performed to who made a guest appearance. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read and want to know more, you can learn all about the MusiCares Foundation here. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your thoughts and/or questions. Oh, and rock on.

By Jamie Harvey
Los Angeles

There's something about a benefit show featuring great music for a great cause — something intangible that makes for a truly unique experience. The seventh annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert, honoring Depeche Mode lead vocalist Dave Gahan and Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman, at Club Nokia in Los Angeles on May 6 was such an occasion.

Featuring an all-star performance lineup, the benefit raised money and awareness for the MusiCares MAP Fund, which provides members of the music community access to addiction recovery treatment. We often fall in love with music from musicians who bare their souls on record and onstage, and this event was full of artists who've not only battled their own addictions, but people who have exposed their emotional and physical weaknesses for the sake of their art. I felt humbled to have been in attendance.

After a DJ set by Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin of She Wants Revenge, comedian Greg Behrendt was the first to take the stage, warming up the theater with an array of self-deprecating jokes in anticipation of the first performers of the night, Ozomatli. Within their two-song set, Ozomatli honored both Lyman and Gahan, the former by thanking him for giving them their first big tour, and the latter for assisting them in losing their virginity. Their final song, on which they were joined by a brass band, wrapped into a cover of "Just Can't Get Enough," a song on Depeche Mode's 1981 debut album, Speak & Spell.

Behrendt returned for more laughs as the stage was set for Paramore. The four-piece band played an acoustic set while seated in chairs, highlighting lead singer Hayley Williams' vocals.

Next up was a series of video clips sent in by musicians ranging from Bad Religion and Joan Jett to NOFX and Katy Perry — with each artist discussing Lyman's impact on them. Perry's description of her inability to take showers on the Warped Tour in 2008, one of her first major tours, put into perspective just how important the tour has been in helping propel many careers to superstardom. Concert promoter Gary Tovar then presented Lyman with the MusiCares From The Heart Award. In his acceptance speech, Lyman thanked his family and mentioned how he followed his passion for music.

Bob Forrest from "Celebrity Rehab" tackled the tough subject of addiction and introduced Jane's Addiction, whose three-song set had the crowd dancing in their seats. "I've known both these guys a long time," said lead singer Perry Farrell of Gahan and Lyman between songs, "and I'm glad they're still alive."

Chester Bennington's solo acoustic song, "The Messenger," was one of the most heartfelt performances of the show. The Linkin Park lead vocalist introduced the song of perseverance as a letter he wrote to his kids, and a song that also works for those battling addiction. Bennington also admitted that playing an instrument while singing was a bit of a foreign concept to him.

Legendary Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler presented Gahan with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award, sing-songing his line, "And you know you'll be alright." The crowd was in rapt anticipation as Gahan walked onstage. His acceptance speech included an anecdote about Tyler soberly interrupting his drinking at a bar one night.

Gahan's band, including keyboardist Vincent Jones and bassist Martyn LeNoble, joined him for a longer-than-expected set of pure magic, including a mix of his solo work, Depeche Mode songs and covers that seemed meaningful to him. I can assure you that "I Feel You" segueing into a cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" will remain one of my concert highlights forever, and that's coming from a girl who goes to 100 shows a year.

The grand finale featured a surprise appearance by bandmate Martin Gore, who took the stage to play guitar and sing background vocals on the Depeche Mode hit "Personal Jesus." As everyone in the crowd was on their feet, singing "reach out and touch faith" with their hands in the air, I was reminded of how unifying and healing music can be.

Set List

Ozomatli:
"Ya Viene El Sol"
"Como Ves"/"Just Can't Get Enough" (Depeche Mode cover)

Paramore:
"Misery Business"
"That's What You Get"

Jane's Addiction:
"Stop!"
"Three Days"
"Mountain Song"

Chester Bennington:
"The Messenger"

Dave Gahan:
"Cracked Actor" (David Bowie cover)
"Dirty Sticky Floors"
"I Feel You"
"Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division cover)
"Low" (Mark Lanegan cover)
"New Rose " (the Damned cover)
"Saw Something"
"Personal Jesus"

(Texas-based Jamie Harvey is the rock community blogger for GRAMMY.com. She attended 112 shows in 2010. You can follow her musical adventures and concert recaps at www.hardrockchick.com.)

 

See "Carpool Karaoke" With Linkin Park In Memory Of Chester Bennington

Chester Bennington

Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com

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See "Carpool Karaoke" With Linkin Park In Memory Of Chester Bennington

Band shares the episode of the popular show they filmed just six days before Bennington died

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2017 - 03:42 am

Linkin Park have let us in on another memory with their beloved frontman, Chester Bennington, who died by suicide in July.

The GRAMMY-winning band filmed an episode of the popular TV singing show "Carpool Karaoke" for Apple Music on July 12, just six days before Bennington died. The episode features Bennington in the driver seat, with band members Mike Shinoda and Joe Hahn bringing up the rear while Ken Jeong serves as host.

During the segment, the band enthusiastically cover Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, OutKast, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, while also jamming out to their own tunes "Numb," "In The End" and "Talking To Myself."

The episode was posted in full on Facebook with the permission of Bennington's family.

Linkin Park To Host Chester Bennington Tribute Concert

Stone Temple Pilots' 'Core' Reissued For 25th Anniversary

Stone Temple Pilots

Photo: Mick Hutson/Getty Images

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Stone Temple Pilots' 'Core' Reissued For 25th Anniversary

STP's debut and one of the quintessential rock albums of the '90s gets deluxe treatment with a timely reissue and re-surfaced performance from "MTV Unplugged"

GRAMMYs/Sep 7, 2017 - 10:19 pm

Stone Temple Pilots' debut album arrived 25 years ago this month, taking an already revved-up alternative rock scene by storm. Core rocketed to No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and the lead single, "Plush," earned STP the GRAMMY for Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal.

Two months ago, the band revealed plans for a special reissue of the modern classic on Rhino Records. The re-release will be available in a two-disc deluxe edition and four-disc super deluxe edition packed with rarities and unreleased material.

The band has already shared one of those unreleased tracks, an inventive re-imagination of "Wicked Garden" from STP's 1993 "MTV Unplugged" performance.

In a recent interview with Billboard, the band's co-founder and bassist Robert DeLeo opened up about the legacy of Core, as well as the devastation the band has endured due to the tragic deaths of original singer Scott Weiland, who died in 2015, and STP frontman from 2013–15, Chester Bennington.

"It's sad, really sad," DeLeo said of the recent loss of Bennington. "I lost a great friend. We're part of the same community here. We took our kids to school and took our kids to baseball, and he was a great human being. He was there for us when we needed it. It's hard to talk about him in the past tense, still. He was a really great person, and I miss him every day."

The 25th Anniversary reissue of Core will be released on Sept. 29 and is available for pre-order on the band's website.

Read More: Chester Bennington To Be Honored In New Las Vegas Tribute Show