Many of the adults today whose age group anchors around the late-20s to the mid-30s will remember spending their teenage years with Linkin Park: holed up in our bedrooms blasting the earlier albums, Hybrid Theory and Meteora – much to our parents’ chagrin, and screaming along to the parts Chester Bennington sang with such canny similarity to the angst we felt as teenagers.
You could say that many of us made it through that befuddled phase of our lives because of how songs from bands like Linkin Park managed to put into words and songs what we were still struggling to grasp back then.
This morning, the somewhat cheery disposition of the incoming weekend comes to an abrupt halt, when we are forced into a heart aching Flashback Friday of our younger days of teen angst, as the news of Chester Bennington’s untimely death hit the Internet by storm. It is as if we have just witnessed the “call-to-action” of their old hit ‘In The End’, the earworm haunting us as we digest the sad news while getting ready for work.
Here, we pay commemoration to the voice that has guided us through our earliest darken days through five songs which the late singer has adorned with his characteristic vocals.
1. In The End
Linkin Park piqued the interest of many when their debut album, Hybrid Theory, was released in 2000, with lyrical materials from Bennington’s troubled childhood that dabbled with parental divorce, drug abuse, sexual abuse and bullying.
When the fourth single, ‘In The End’, hit the airwaves a year later, the deal was sealed for the band, as it went on to become one of their earlier signature songs, and the anthem of many teenagers of the time.
2. Numb/Encore, featuring Jay-Z
The band did not suffer any form of “sophomore album slump” like many other bands did after a successful debut. 2003’s Meteora arrived to strings of accolades, including the sparkling four times Platinum certification by the RIAA, and eventually became the most successful album in the history of alternative music.
The following year, Linkin Park teamed up with Jay-Z (way before the whole dirty-laundry-airing drama of his marriage with Beyonce) for a collaborative EP, Collision Course, featuring six mash-up tracks of the band’s and the rapper’s songs. ‘Numb/Encore’ was chosen to be the representative single of the EP, and it went on to win the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Award at the Grammys in 2006.
3. Let Down, with Dead By Sunrise
Dead By Sunrise was formed in 2005 as Bennington’s side project from Linkin Park, mainly to lay down music that he has written but was stylistically inappropriate for Linkin Park. Together with his friends from the electronic rock band Julien-K, Bennington managed to exercise his vocal prowess in a darker and moodier setting.
Whilst the success of the 2009 debut album, Out of Ashes, was unprecedented to that of Linkin Park’s nine years ago, Dead By Sunrise was nonetheless welcomed with open arms in the rock community.
4. Black Heart, with Stone Temple Pilots
In 2013, having already four studio albums in his sleeves with Linkin Park, Bennington stepped in as lead vocalist for his childhood heroes Stone Temple Pilots, when the grunge rock band parted ways with their lead Scott Weiland. Bennington enjoyed a different spectrum of the multi-faceted rock genre with the band, diving into the more sensual and classical vibe Stone Temple Pilots are renowned for in the EP, High Rise.
Unfortunately, Bennington had to step down with a heavy heart due to his commitment with his first love, Linkin Park, in 2015. They parted on good terms, despite Scott Weiland’s death a month after Bennington’s departure, and the fact that they are still on the verge of finding a replacement for lead vocals.
5. Hunger Strike, with Chris Cornell
The double whammy to end it all is the live performance Bennington did with the late Chris Cornell, who met his own death of similar fate merely two months prior. The Soundgarden and Audioslave lead penned down ‘Hunger Strike’ back in 1991 for Temple of the Dog, a band conceived in tribute of Cornell’s late friend Andrew Wood of Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone.
Cornell chose to perform this breakout single for Temple of the Dog, which featured Pearl Jam songstress Eddie Vedder, during the Linkin Park founded Projekt Revolution music festival in 2008. Bennington came on to sing Cornell’s part, while the latter sang Vedder’s.