The band continued to explore a wider variation of musical types on their fourth album, A Thousand Suns (2010), layering their music with more electronic sounds. The band's fifth album, Living Things (2012), combined musical elements from all of their previous records. Their sixth album, The Hunting Party (2014), returned to a heavier rock sound, and their seventh album, One More Light (2017), was their first pop-oriented record. Linkin Park went on a hiatus when longtime lead vocalist Bennington died by suicide in July 2017. In April 2020, bassist Dave Farrell revealed the band was working on new music.
Linkin Park was founded by three high school friends: Mike Shinoda, Rob Bourdon, and Brad Delson. The three attended Agoura High School in Agoura Hills, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. After graduating from high school, the three began to take their musical interests more seriously, recruiting Joe Hahn, Dave "Phoenix" Farrell, and Mark Wakefield to perform in their band, then called Xero. Though limited in resources, the band began recording and producing songs within Shinoda's makeshift bedroom studio in 1996, resulting in a four-track demo tape, entitled Xero. However, 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 of other projects. Farrell also left to tour with Tasty Snax, a Christian punk and ska band.
After spending a considerable time searching for Wakefield's replacement, Xero recruited Arizona vocalist Chester Bennington, who was recommended by Jeff Blue, the vice president of Zomba Music in March 1999. Bennington, formerly of a post-grunge band Grey Daze, became a standout among applicants because of the dynamic in his singing style. The band then agreed on changing their 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. In 1999 the band released a self-titled extended play, which they circulated across internet chat-rooms and forums with the help of an online 'street team'.
The band still struggled to sign a record deal. They turned to Jeff Blue for additional help after facing numerous rejections from several major record labels. After failing to catch Warner Bros. Records on three previous reviews, Blue, who was now the vice president of Warner Bros. Records, helped the band sign a deal with the company as a developing artist in 1999. However, the label advised the band to change their name to avoid confusion with Hybrid. The band considered the names "Plear" and "Platinum Lotus Foundation" before deciding on "Linkin Park", a play on and homage to Santa Monica's Lincoln Park, now called Christine Emerson Reed Park. They initially wanted to use the name "Lincoln Park", however they changed it to "Linkin" to acquire the internet domain "linkinpark.com".
Bennington and Shinoda both reported that Warner Bros. Records was skeptical of Linkin Park's initial recordings. The label's A&R was not pleased with the band's hip-hop and rock-style approach. An A&R representative suggested that Bennington should demote or fire Shinoda and exclusively focus on making a rock record. Bennington supported Shinoda and refused to compromise Linkin Park's vision for the album. Farrell returned in 2000, and the band released their breakthrough album, Hybrid Theory, that same year.
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 their 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 numerous monasteries have been built on top of the rocks.Meteora features a mixture of the band's nu metal and rap metal style 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 No. 1 in the US and UK, and No. 2 in Australia.
Meteora earned the band multiple awards and honors. The band won the MTV awards for Best Rock Video for "Somewhere I Belong" and the Viewer's Choice Award for "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 the United States 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. At the same time, the band's relationship with Warner Bros. Records was deteriorating rapidly on account of several trust and financial issues. After months of feuding, the band finally negotiated a deal in December 2005.
2004-2006: Side projects
Following Meteora's success, the band worked 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, titled Collision Course. The album, which featured intermixed lyrics and background tracks from both artists' previous albums, debuted in November 2004. Shinoda also formed Fort Minor as a side project. With the aid of Jay-Z, Fort Minor released their debut album, The Rising Tied, to critical acclaim.
Linkin Park returned to the recording studios in 2006 to work on new material. To produce the album, the band chose producer Rick Rubin. Despite initially stating the album would debut sometime in 2006, the album was delayed until 2007. The band had recorded thirty to fifty songs in August 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, titled Minutes to Midnight, would be released on May 15, 2007 in the United States. After spending fourteen months working on the album, the band members opted to further refine their album by removing five of the original seventeen tracks. The album's title, a reference to the Doomsday Clock, foreshadowed the band's new lyrical themes.Minutes to Midnight sold over 625,000 copies in its first week, making it one of the most successful debut week albums in recent years. The album also took the top spot on the Billboard Charts.
Linkin Park embarked on a large world tour titled "Minutes to Midnight World Tour". The band promoted the album's release by forming their fourth Projekt Revolution tour in the United States which included many musical acts like My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, HIM, Placebo, and many others. They also played numerous shows in Europe, Asia, and Australia which included a performance at Live Earth Japan on July 7, 2007. and headlining Download Festival in Donington Park, England and Edgefest in Downsview Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The band completed touring on their fourth Projekt Revolution tour before taking up an Arena tour around the United Kingdom, visiting Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester, before finishing on a double night at the O2 arena in London. Bennington stated that Linkin Park plans to release a follow-up album to Minutes to Midnight. However, he stated the band will first embark on a United States tour to gather inspiration for the album. Linkin Park embarked on another Projekt Revolution tour in 2008. This was the first time a Projekt Revolution tour was held in Europe with three shows in Germany and one in the United Kingdom. A Projekt Revolution tour was also held in the United States which featured Chris Cornell, The Bravery, Ashes Divide, Street Drum Corps and many others. Linkin Park finished the tour with a final show in Texas. Mike Shinoda announced a live CD/DVD titled Road to Revolution: Live at Milton Keynes, which is a live video recording from the Projekt Revolution gig at the Milton Keynes Bowl on June 29, 2008, which was officially released on November 24, 2008.
2008-2011: A Thousand Suns
In May 2009, Linkin Park announced they were working on a fourth studio album, which was planned to be released in 2010. Shinoda told IGN that the new album would be 'genre-busting,' while building off of elements in Minutes to Midnight. He also mentioned that the album would be more experimental and "hopefully more cutting-edge". Bennington also addressed the media to confirm that Rick Rubin would return to produce the new album. The band later revealed the album would be called A Thousand Suns. While working on the new album, Linkin Park worked with successful film composer Hans Zimmer to produce the score for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The band released a single for the movie, titled "New Divide". Joe Hahn created a music video for the song, which featured clips from the film. On June 22, Linkin Park played a short set in Westwood Village after the premier of the movie. After completing work for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the band returned to the studio to finalize their album.
On April 26, the band released an app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, a game called 8-Bit Rebellion! It featured the band as playable characters, and a new song called "Blackbirds" which was unlockable by beating the game. The song was also later released as an iTunes bonus track on A Thousand Suns.
A Thousand Suns was released on September 14. The album's first single, "The Catalyst", was released on August 2. The band promoted their new album by launching a concert tour, which started in Los Angeles on September 7. Linkin Park also relied on MySpace to promote their album, releasing two additional songs, "Waiting for the End" and "Blackout" on September 8. Furthermore, a documentary about the album's production, titled Meeting of A Thousand Suns, was available for streaming on the band's MySpace page. On August 31, 2010, it was announced that the band would perform the single live for the first time at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2010. The venue of the debut live performance of the single was Griffith Observatory, an iconic location used in Hollywood movies. "Waiting for the End" was released as the second single of A Thousand Suns.
Linkin Park reached No.8 in Billboard Social 50, a chart of the most active artists on the world's leading social networking sites. In other Billboard Year-End charts, the band reached No.92 in the "Top Artists" chart, as well as A Thousand Suns reaching No.53 in the Year-End chart of the Billboard Top 200 albums and No.7 in the 2010 Year-End Rock Albums, and "The Catalyst" reaching No.40 in the Year-End Rock Songs chart.
The band was nominated for six Billboard Awards in 2011 for Top Duo or Group, Best Rock Album for A Thousand Suns, Top Rock Artist, Top Alternative Artist, Top Alternative Song for "Waiting for the End" and Top Alternative Album for A Thousand Suns, but did not win any award. The band charted in numerous Billboard Year-End charts in 2011. The band was No.39 in the Top Artists Chart, No.84 in the Billboard 200 Artists chart, No.11 in the Social 50 Chart, No.6 in the Top Rock Artists Chart, No.9 in the Rock Songs Artists Chart, No.16 in the Rock Albums Chart, No.4 in the Hard Rock Albums Chart, and No.7 in the Alternative Songs Chart.
2011-2013: Living Things and Recharged
In July 2011, Bennington told Rolling Stone that Linkin Park aims to produce a new album every eighteen months, and that he would be shocked if a new album did not come out in 2012. He later revealed in another interview in September 2011 that the band was still in the beginning phases of the next album, saying "We just kind of began. We like to keep the creative juices flowing, so we try to keep that going all the time ... we like the direction that we're going in". Later, on March 28, 2012, Shinoda confirmed that the band is filming a music video for "Burn It Down". Joe Hahn directed the video. Shinoda spoke to Co.Create about the album's art, saying that it will "blow them [the fans] away ... the average person is not going to be able to look at it and go, I understand that that's completely new, like not just the image but the way they made the image is totally new. So there's going to be that".
On April 15, 2012, Shinoda announced that Living Things would be the title of Linkin Park's fifth album. Shinoda stated that they chose the title Living Things because the album is more about people, personal interactions, and it is far more personal than their previous albums. The band promoted the album on the 2012 edition of the Honda Civic Tour, with co-headliners Incubus. The band performed "Burn It Down" at 2012 Billboard Music Awards. On May 24, the band released the music video for "Burn It Down" and debuted "Lies Greed Misery", another song from Living Things, on BBC Radio 1. "Powerless", the twelfth and closing track of the album, was featured in the closing credits of the film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Living Things sold over 223,000 copies during its debut week, ranking No. 1 on the US Albums Charts. Linkin Park's single, "Castle of Glass", was nominated for 'Best Song in a Game' at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards. The band also performed at the award ceremony on December 7, but lost the award to "Cities" by Beck. Linkin Park also played at the Soundwave music festival in Australia, where they shared the stage with Metallica, Paramore, Slayer and Sum 41.
On August 10, 2013, the band collaborated with American musician Steve Aoki to record the song "A Light That Never Comes" for Linkin Park's online puzzle-action game LP Recharge (short for Linkin Park Recharge), which was launched on Facebook and the official LP Recharge website on September 12, 2013. On the day of the game's release, Linkin Park made a post on their Facebook explaining that the song used to promote the game would be included on a new remix album, entitled Recharged, which was released on October 29, 2013 on CD, vinyl, and digital download. Similar to Reanimation, the album features remixes of ten of the songs from Living Things, with contributions from other artists, such as Ryu of Styles of Beyond, Pusha T, Datsik, KillSonik, Bun B, Money Mark, and Rick Rubin. The band also worked on the soundtrack for the film Mall, which was directed by Joe Hahn.
2013-2015: The Hunting Party
In an interview with Fuse, Shinoda confirmed that Linkin Park had begun recording their sixth studio album in May 2013. The band released the first single from their upcoming album, titled, "Guilty All the Same" on March 6, 2014 through Shazam. The single was later released on the following day by Warner Bros. Records and debut at No. 28 on the US Billboard Rock Airplay charts before peaking at No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock charts in the following weeks. Shortly after the single's release, the band revealed their sixth album would be titled The Hunting Party. The album was produced by Shinoda and Delson, who wanted to explore musical elements from Hybrid Theory and the band's earlier material. Shinoda commented the album is a "90s style of rock record". He elaborated, "It's a rock record. It's loud and it's rock, but not in the sense of what you've heard before, which is more like '90s hardcore-punk-thrash.' The album includes musical contributions from rapper Rakim, Page Hamilton of Helmet, Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, and Daron Malakian of System of a Down.The Hunting Party was released on June 13, 2014, in most countries, and later released in the United States on June 17.
Bennington and Shinoda performing live in Montreal on August 23, 2014
On November 9, 2014, MTV Europe named Linkin Park the "Best Rock" act of 2014 at their annual music awards ceremony. The band won the 'Best Rock Band' and 'Best Live Act' titles of 2014 on Loudwire's Music Awards.Revolver ranked The Hunting Party as the fourth best album of 2014. In an interview with AltWire on May 4, Shinoda reflected on The Hunting Party and commented on Linkin Park's future, stating; "I'm really happy with the reaction from The Hunting Party, and I think we're ready to move somewhere new on the next album, which will be coming [in 2016]".
Linkin Park performed at the closing ceremony of BlizzCon 2015, Blizzard's video game convention.
2015-2017: One More Light and Bennington's death
Linkin Park began working on new material for a seventh studio album in November 2015. Chester Bennington commented on the album's direction by stating, "We've got a lot of great material that I hope challenges our fanbase as well as inspires them as much as it has us." In February 2017, Linkin Park released promotional videos on their social network accounts, which featured Shinoda and Bennington preparing new material for the album. Mike Shinoda stated the band was following a new process when producing the album. Brad Delson elaborated: "We've made so many records and we clearly know how to make a record and we definitely didn't take the easy way out this time."
The first single from the new album was revealed to be titled "Heavy" and features pop singer Kiiara, the first time the band has featured a female vocalist on an original song for a studio album. The lyrics for the song were co-written by Linkin Park with Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter. The single was released for download on February 16. As they have done in the past, Linkin Park had cryptic messages online in relation to the new album. The album cover was revealed through digital puzzles across social media; the cover features six kids playing in the ocean. The band's seventh album, One More Light, was released on May 19, 2017.
Bennington died on July 20, 2017; his death was ruled a suicide by hanging. Shinoda confirmed Bennington's death on Twitter, writing, "Shocked and heartbroken, but it's true. An official statement will come out as soon as we have one". The band had released a music video for their single "Talking to Myself" earlier that day. One day after Bennington's death, the band canceled the North American leg of their One More Light World Tour. On the morning of July 24, Linkin Park released an official statement on their website as a tribute to Bennington. On July 28, Shinoda announced that donations made to the band's Music for Relief charity would be redirected to the One More Light Fund, which had been set up in Bennington's memory. On August 4, when the band was initially scheduled to play on Good Morning America, Chris Cornell's twelve-year-old daughter Toni (who was also Bennington's goddaughter) appeared with OneRepublic to perform "Hallelujah" as a tribute to Bennington and her father. Bennington had previously performed the song at the funeral for Cornell, who had also died from a suicide by hanging two months earlier.
On August 22, Linkin Park announced plans to host a tribute concert in Los Angeles to honor Bennington. The band thanked fans for their support, stating, "The five of us are so grateful for all of your support as we heal and build the future of Linkin Park". The band later confirmed that the concert, titled Linkin Park and Friends: Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington, would take place on October 27 at the Hollywood Bowl. The event included Linkin Park's first performance following Bennington's death. The event featured multiple guests performing Linkin Park songs along with the band. The event was over three hours long and was streamed live via YouTube.
Linkin Park remained on hiatus between Bennington's death and 2020.
During an Instagram live chat on December 17, 2017, Shinoda was asked whether Linkin Park would perform with a hologram version of Bennington in the future. He replied, "Can we not do a holographic Chester? I can't even wrap my head around the idea of a holographic Chester. I've actually heard other people outside the band suggest that, and there's absolutely no way. I cannot fuck with that."
On January 28, 2018, Shinoda replied to a tweet from a fan inquiring about his future with Linkin Park, writing "I have every intention on continuing with LP, and the guys feel the same. We have a lot of rebuilding to do, and questions to answer, so it'll take time." On March 29, however, Shinoda stated that he was uncertain of Linkin Park's future when being interviewed by Vulture. On April 17, Linkin Park was nominated for three awards at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, but did not win any of them. The band was presented with The George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement at UCLA on May 18.
On February 18, 2019, Shinoda said in an interview that the band is open to the idea of continuing though what form that takes has yet to be decided. Shinoda stated "I know the other guys, they love to be onstage, they love to be in a studio, and so to not do that would be like, I don't know, almost like unhealthy." When asked about the band's future minus Bennington, Shinoda stated, "It's not my goal to look for a new singer. If it does happen, it has to happen naturally. If we find someone that is a great person and good stylistic fit, I could see trying to do some stuff with somebody. I would never want to feel like we are replacing Chester."
2020-present: Return to music
On April 28, 2020, bassist Dave Farrell revealed the band is working on new music. On August 13, the band released "She Couldn't", a track that was originally recorded in 1999, and it was included on a 20th anniversary edition of their debut album Hybrid Theory, released on October 9.
On January 8, 2021, Linkin Park released a remix of "One Step Closer" by American electronic duo 100 gecs. The band revealed it was the first of many new remixes inspired by Reanimation to come.
On January 11, 2011, an updated version of Download to Donate for Haiti was launched, called Download to Donate for Haiti V2.0, with more songs to download. For the updated compilation, the band released Keaton Hashimoto's remix of "The Catalyst" from the "Linkin Park featuring YOU" contest.
In Minutes to Midnight the band experimented with their established sound and drew influences from a wider and more varied range of genres and styles, a process Los Angeles Times compares to a stage in U2's work. Only two songs on the album's tracklist feature rap vocals and the majority of the album can be considered alternative rock.
The vocal interplay between Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda plays as a major part within Linkin Park's music, with Bennington being the lead vocalist and Shinoda as the rapping vocalist. On Linkin Park's third album, Minutes to Midnight, Shinoda sings lead vocals on "In Between", "Hands Held High", and on the B-side "No Roads Left". On numerous songs from band's fourth album, A Thousand Suns, such as the album's singles ("The Catalyst", "Burning in the Skies", "Iridescent"), both Shinoda and Bennington sing. The album has been regarded as a turning point in the band's musical career, having a stronger emphasis on electronica. James Montgomery, of MTV, compared the record to Radiohead's Kid A, while Jordy Kasko of Review, Rinse, Repeat likened the album to both Kid A and Pink Floyd's landmark album The Dark Side of the Moon. Shinoda stated that he and the other band members were deeply influenced by Chuck D and Public Enemy. He elaborated: "Public Enemy were very three-dimensional with their records because although they seemed political, there was a whole lot of other stuff going on in there too. It made me think how three-dimensional I wanted our record to be without imitating them of course, and show where we were at creatively". One of the record's political elements is its samples of notable speeches by American political figures.A Thousand Suns was described as trip hop, electronic rock,ambient, alternative rock, industrial rock,experimental rock, rap rock, and progressive rock.
Linkin Park has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. The group's first studio album Hybrid Theory is one of the best-selling albums in the US (12 million copies shipped) and worldwide (30 million copies sold).Billboard estimates that Linkin Park earned US$5 million between May 2011 and May 2012, making them the 40th-highest-paid musical artist. 11 of the band's singles have reached the number one position on BillboardAlternative Songs chart, the second-most for any artist.
In 2003, MTV2 named Linkin Park the sixth-greatest band of the music video era and the third-best of the new millennium.Billboard ranked Linkin Park No. 19 on the Best Artists of the Decade chart. The band was recently voted as the greatest artist of the 2000s in a Bracket Madness poll on VH1. In 2014, the band was declared as the Biggest Rock Band in the World Right Now by Kerrang!. In 2015, Kerrang! gave "In the End" and "Final Masquerade" the top two positions on Kerrang!s Rock 100 list.
Linkin Park became the first rock band to achieve more than one billion YouTube hits.
Linkin Park also became the fifteenth most liked page on Facebook, tenth most liked artist, and most liked group followed by the Black Eyed Peas. Linkin Park's "Numb" is the third and "In the End" is the sixth "timeless song" on Spotify. The two songs making Linkin Park the only artist to have two timeless songs in top ten.
^"LINKIN PARK UNDERGROUND - WHAT IS LPU?". Linkin Park. linkinpark.com. 2014. Archived from the original on August 25, 2016. Retrieved 2014. The LINKIN PARK Underground (LPU) was founded in 2001 as a way for LINKIN PARK to connect directly with the people who support the band, and cultivate a central meeting-place for the LINKIN PARK community. Each and every year LPU members are given access to members only exclusives including Meet & Greet opportunities with the band, access to pre-sale tickets, a brand new merchandise package, music, and much more.
^Moss, Corey (September 1, 2005). "Mike Shinoda Respects Jay-Z's Retirement, Says Linkin Park Not On Hiatus". MTV.com. Archived from the original on April 3, 2019. Retrieved 2014. "I would have never done this record if I didn't have the blessing of the rest of the guys," Shinoda said. "We're not, like, on hiatus. We're working. We're very serious about our records, and I know the guys are at home right now writing. Hopefully we are looking at next year for a record".
^Morgan, Adam (July 16, 2012). "Linkin Park: Living Things". Surviving the Golden Age. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved 2015. Gone are the prototypical emo-rock of Minutes to Midnight and the prog-rock of A Thousand Suns.