On July 20, 2017, the world stood still for people, especially the ones growing up listening to Linkin Park in the early 2000s as the news of Chester Bennington’s death surrounded.
I remember I had just woken up when I first heard the news, and I couldn’t hold back my tears.
Chester Bennington wasn’t just another rock star, screaming his lungs out on stage. He was what you can call a proper rock artist. Someone who had a perfect balance of vocalism and lyricism.
And when it comes to people who have been living a difficult life, Linkin Park’s songs had the ability to heal.
When Linkin Park first made a splash in the music scene back in 2000, the industry was heavily influenced by other rock genres like grunge, alternative, and soft rock.
But the arrival of Linkin Park sparked the emergence of nu-metal. A genre that coexisted way before the band did, however, they were the perfect representative.
Their debut album Hybrid Theory is a perfect example of what a nu-metal sounds like.
Chester had amazing coordination with Mike Shinoda, sharing the frontman role, balancing the rap and rock duties.
Songs like “In the End,” “Numb,” “Crawling,” and “Somewhere I Belong” made Hybrid Theory one of the greatest nu-metal albums, selling 10 million copies worldwide.
And this was just the beginning.
Linkin Park wasn’t an average, everyday rock band. Ever since they formed in 1996, they were able to connect to their audience in a very special way.
They were different from what every other rock band usually was at that time.
While bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn were also popular for being the new-age nu-metal rock bands, Linkin Park was nothing like them.
Linkin Park, a rock band, had a DJ and a rapper. However, Chester never compromised his balance of creating perfect hybrid tunes.
They even went on to collaborate with artists like Jay-Z and Steve Aoki.
Linkin Park’s music was able to influence an entire generation. And this was all thanks to the deep, dark, and very personal lyrics.
Chester (lead vocalist) along with band members Rob Bourdon (drummer), Brad Delson (guitarist), Mike Shinoda (rapper/vocalist/rhythm guitarist), Dave Farrell (bassist), and Joe Hahn (DJ/Keyboardist) were signed to Warner Bros. in 1999.
And in two decades, Linkin Park barely had low points, career-wise.
They have released seven full-length albums with few other collaborative and remix projects.
Linkin Park has sold over 70 million albums worldwide, making them one of the most, influential, and best-selling bands of the 21st century.
They have experimented with many styles and genres, toured the whole world, sold millions of records, and made songs that could connect to the audience quite easily.
But despite the massive success Chester never failed to address his mental problems and speak it out as it is.
Chester was able to communicate to his fans and audience in terms of his music and lyrics.
His songs were so personal and real, listening to him made us feel every emotion. Because he was able to sing those emotions out loud.
Almost every record Linkin Park made dealt with pain or having difficulties trying to survive.
He was always able to combine the fury of his voice with an amazing sense of vulnerability.
Even in the rage, there was a certain soulfulness that Bennington could perfectly balance.
He sang about how hard it has been for him to make it through day-by-day. His songs dealt with issues like romantic betrayal, battle against addiction, emotional scars, wanting to give up, etc.
And yet he would sing about finding a way through. Finding a light was always important in most of his songs.
Chester’s life, even though it seemed like a smooth-sailing boat, was filled with a lot of obstacles.
His childhood was filled with turmoil. At the age of seven, he was sexually abused by an older male friend. His parents got divorced when he was 11. And he had a lot going on in his life.
This led him to take up drugs and alcohol.
He turned to poetry, songwriting and drawing in order to comfort himself.
Thus, his lyrics were a reflection of the struggles of his own life.
All his life, he advocated in spreading mental health awareness.
Chester’s real artistic legacy, rather than Linkin Park’s influential sound, is the ability to offer reassurance from the dark.
The messages he put across through his lyrics and music are what he’ll be remembered for, always.
And as alive as Chester Bennington made us feel with his music, he’ll always be an inspiration even for the generations to come.
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