Linkin Park live in Prague in 2007
Also known as
Xero (1996–1998)Hybrid Theory (1998–1999)
Agoura Hills, California, USA
Nu metal, rapcore, alternative rock
Warner Bros., Machine Shop
Dead by Sunrise, Fort Minor, Jay-Z
Chester BenningtonRob BourdonBrad DelsonPhoenixJoe HahnMike Shinoda
Early years (1996–1999)
Hybrid Theory (2000–2002)
Side projects (2004–2006)
Minutes to Midnight (2006–2008)
Future direction (2008 onward)
Linkin Park is an American rock band from Agoura Hills, California. Since its formation in 1996, the band has sold more than 50 million albums and won two Grammy Awards. It achieved mainstream success with its debut album, Hybrid Theory, which was certified Diamond by the RIAA in 2005. Its following studio album, Meteora, continued the band's success, topping the Billboard 200's album charts in 2003, and was followed by extensive touring and charity work around the world. In 2003, MTV2 named Linkin Park the sixth greatest band of the music video era.
Having adapted the nu metal and rapcore genres to a radio-friendly yet densely-layered style in Hybrid Theory and Meteora, the band explored other genres in their next studio album, Minutes to Midnight. The album topped the Billboard charts and had the third best debut week of any album that year. They have also collaborated with several other artists, most notably with rapper Jay-Z in their mashup album Collision Course, and many others on Reanimation.
Early years (1996–1999)
Originally consisting of three high school friends, Linkin Park's foundation was anchored by Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson, and Rob Bourdon. After graduating from high school, the California natives began to take their musical interests more seriously, recruiting Joe Hahn, Dave "Phoenix" Farrell, and Mark Wakefield to perform in their band, 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 grew after they 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. Farrell also left to tour with Tasty Snax and other bands.
After spending a considerable time searching for Wakefield's replacement, Xero recruited Arizona vocalist Chester Bennington. Jeff Blue, the vice president of Zomba Music, had referred him to the band in March 1999. Bennington, formerly of Grey Daze, became a standout among applicants because of his unique singing style. The band changed its name from Xero to Hybrid Theory. The newborn vocal 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 its 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. The band released its breakthrough album, Hybrid Theory, the following year.
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 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 play lists 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 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, 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 high-profile tours and concerts including Ozzfest, Family Values Tour and KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas. The band also formed its 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 experiences and performances of the precocious band were documented in its first DVD, Frat Party at the Pankake Festival, which debuted in November 2001. Now reunited with former bassist Dave Farrell, the band began work on a remix album, dubbed Reanimation, which would include works from Hybrid Theory and Hybrid Theory EP. 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.
Following the success of Hybrid Theory and Reanimation, Linkin Park spent a significant amount of time touring around the United States. The band members began to work on new material amidst its 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 its new work was inspired by the rocky region of Meteora in Greece, where numerous 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. Linkin Park's second album debuted on March 25, 2003 and instantly earned worldwide recognition, going to #1 in the US and UK, and #2 in Australia.
Meteora sold more than 800,000 copies during its first week, and it ranked as the best selling album on the Billboard charts at the time. Music videos for some of the album's singles, including "Somewhere I Belong", "Breaking the Habit", "Faint", and "Numb", received significant radio attention. By October 2003, Meteora sold nearly three million copies. 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 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. In early 2004, Linkin Park started a world tour titled the Meteora World Tour, supporting bands on the tour include Hoobastank, P.O.D. and Story of the Year.