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Linkin Park, former STP frontman Chester Bennington dies
Two-time GRAMMY winner and former MusiCares MAP Fund honoree dies at age 41
Bennington became acquainted with his future Linkin Park band members in early 1999, the same year he moved to Los Angeles. Released in 2000, the group's debut album, Hybrid Theory, was a huge moment in the lives of Bennington and his bandmates — it was nominated for the GRAMMY for Best Rock Album and the single "Crawling" won the GRAMMY for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 44th GRAMMY Awards.
The album would also eventually be certified diamond in the U.S. and multi-platinum in several countries. The fourth single, "In The End" also charted No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 and Alternative Songs charts, and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Following their unexpected success with Hybrid Theory, the band continued to see strong critical and commercial success. Their sophomore effort, 2003's Meteora, would take the top slot on numerous album charts around the globe, including hitting No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The album blew the doors off Hybrid Theory's first-week sales numbers, raking in over 800,000 units sold in its first seven days.
Bennington's next GRAMMY Award came after he and Linkin Park co-founder Mike Shinoda created Collision Course, a mash-up EP that paired tracks from the band's first two albums with beats and vocals made famous by fellow GRAMMY winner Jay-Z.
One of the songs from that album, "Numb/Encore" earned Bennington and Linkin Park their second GRAMMY for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration with Jay Z at the 48th GRAMMY Awards.
Born in Phoenix, Bennington became interested in music at a very young age, using his artwork and writing poetry as outlets for his emotions in the face of difficult family dynamics and daily bullying at school as a young child.
His biggest musical inspirations were Depeche Mode and Stone Temple Pilots, and he grew up dreaming of one day singing lead vocals for the latter group. That dream would eventually come true for a period from 2013–2015, after which, Bennington stepped back to return his focus to making new music with Linkin Park.
Chester Bennington and Linkin Park photographed backstage at the 48th GRAMMYs
Photo: Danny Clinch
His ongoing path toward recovery, along with his support for the MusiCares MAP Fund and his dedication to helping other artists who were likewise working to find sobriety, led to his being honored alongside skater Tony Alva at the 9th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert in 2013.
Bennington's tragic passing comes at a time when he and his band were touring in support of their latest full-length LP, One More Light, just released in May of this year.
"As the cutting-edge lead vocalist of Linkin Park, Chester’s powerful range, paired with his impressive songwriting skills, made him a bona fide hard rock hero," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "His riveting stage presence made every live performance magnetic, earning him millions of fans around the globe. We have lost a truly dynamic member of the music community and our sincerest condolences go out to Chester’s family, friends, collaborators, and all who have been impacted by his work."
Universal language: Why humans need music
Learn why music is truly a common language that is key to human development and evolution
There's no doubt music finds a way into nearly every moment of our daily lives, whether it's marking milestones such as a first dance at a wedding, the soundtrack to our favorite movie or singing in the shower for fun. In fact, it's hard to imagine times when we are more than an ear-length away from hearing another song.
But why does music mean so much to us? A powerful form of communication that transcends all barriers — music is our common language, but why?
A composer and educator with a lifelong fascination for music, Adam Ockelford has traced our connection with music back to infants and caregivers. Infants are unable to follow words, but they are developmentally primed to trace patterns in sound, such as through the songs a caretaker sings to them. Therefore, understanding music is intuitive for humans, even at a very young age, and it encourages healthy development.
In addition, there may be another evolutionary purpose for music. Music provides a sense of sameness between humans — if you can copy the sounds someone else makes, you must be an ally. This synergy plays a role in human survival because it evokes empathy and understanding, a lesson we still learn from music in today's culture.
"Music is central to the notion of what it is to be human, and spans cultures, continents and centuries," writes Ockelford. "My music, your music, our music can bind us together as families, as tribes and as societies in a way that nothing else can."
Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images
Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show
Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion
There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.
The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.
This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.
"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."
Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.
Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes
GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program
On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.
Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.
"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."
The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.
"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."
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Mixcloud Signs Warner Music For Subscriptions Remix
There is more to the Mixcloud difference than just electronic dance music, and now the listening service has signed its first major label deal
Among the 1 million curators who have helped build British-based listening service Mixcloud into a destination visited by 17 million listeners each month are GRAMMY winners Erykah Badu, David Byrne, and Tiësto. Limited to streaming-only since its founding in 2008, Mixcloud announced a direct licensing agreement with Warner Music Group this morning, opening the door to offering downloads and new kinds of subscriptions.
Perhaps the standout statistic that describes the Mixcloud difference is that the average length of its user-uploaded programs is 45 minutes. Within the service's general emphasis on DJing, EDM and remix culture, the tendency to drill down and explore narrower listening topics in depth distinguishes the service from competitors such as Spotify or SoundCloud.
Warner Music Group Executive VP for Business Development & Chief Digital Officer Ole Obermann said, "Mixcloud's success is driven by the curiosity and passion of its community, as they engage with new music and rediscover timeless older songs."
Being able to listen to downloads offline seems a natural follow-up to direct licensing deals, but the service hints there's more in store. Mixcloud still hopes to sign indies and the other majors, as its fans have speculated. And with its own proprietary Content ID in place and established relationships with royalty collecting societies, the company has the tech infrastructure to explore new monetization strategies, paying artists and curators in new ways. Launching a new business model for its upcoming approach to paid content and subscriptions is a remix many are anticipating. Not knowing what to expect is part of the excitement.