Remembering Linkin Park Frontman Chester Bennington

Chester Charles Bennington was born on March 20, 1976, and died on July 20, 2017.

By

Melinda Lorge

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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Posted on July 20, 2023

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Chester Bennington; Photo By Andrew Wendowski

Chester Charles Bennington was born on March 20, 1976, and died on July 20, 2017. A Grammy-winning singer and performer, Chester Bennington was most known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Linkin Park. 

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, to a nurse and a police detective, Bennington found his passion for music at an early age. His biggest inspirations as a child included bands like Stone Temple Pilots and Depeche Mode. And luckily, fate stepped in when Bennington performed a stint as the frontman for the Stone Temple Pilots between 2013-2015. 

Although it was apparent Bennington had a musical gift, the vocalist experienced dark days during his youth. Throughout his years, he had remained open about being sexually abused by an older male during his adolescence. The abuse, which continued through his early teenage years, would eventually be replaced by songwriting and drug and alcohol abuse. 

Bennington’s high school years didn’t go without torment, but he had always looked ahead with music in mind. From 1993-1998, Bennington fronted a band called Grey Daze, releasing three projects, one of which included a demo. After exiting Grey Daze, he was paired with Mike Shinoda through Zomba Music in Los Angeles, Calif., joining the band, which was initially named Xero before changing to Hybrid Theory. 

Linkin Park

Bennington and Shinoda would later become Linkin Park, which would earn its big break with the 2000’s debut release of Hybrid Theory. Aside from forming a band in 2005,called Dead By Sunrise, Linkin Park spent the next two decades taking claim as one of the world’s biggest and most popular rock bands, thanks to the songs and album releases, and Bennington’s distinctive voice, as well as his onstage presence alongside Shinoda, who split vocal duties and rapped alongside him.  

Hybrid Theory, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and was certified 12X Platinum by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and includes singles — “One Step Closer,” famous for the “Shut up when I’m talkin’ to you!” line, “In the End,” which was the biggest hit on the project, “Crawling,” inspired by Bennington’s battle with drugs and alcohol, and “Paper Cut,” which features subject matter that describes paranoia.

The follow-up to Hybrid Theory was 2002’s Reanimation, which featured remixes from the band’s debut studio album as well as bonus tracks. 

2003’s Meteora, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and takes the title as the 8th best-selling album of the 21st century. The project includes singles, “Somewhere I Belong,” “Faint,” “Numb,” “From the Inside,” “Lying From You,” and “Breaking the Habit.” 

Additionally, Bennington and Linkin Park released follow-up albums, including 2007’s Minutes to Midnight, 2010’s A Thousand Suns, 2012’s Living Things, 2014’s The Hunting Party, and 2017’s One More Light. Throughout their run, Linkin Park has earned six American Music Awards, Three World Music Awards, and Two Grammy Awards. 

Chester Bennington Grey Daze; Photo Provided by PR
Chester Bennington Grey Daze; Photo Provided by PR

Bennington Died In 2017

On July 20, 2017, Bennington was found dead of suspected suicide. He was 41. Bennington’s funeral took place at the South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes, Calif on July 29, 2017. The funeral service included a full stage of musical tributes. 

Three months after his death, the rest of Linkin Park’s members gathered at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles to pay tribute to Bennington with a three-hour concert dubbed Linkin Park & Friends Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington. Following his unfortunate death, Bennington has had a string of songs released posthumously, from both Linkin Park and Grey Daze. They include “Lost,” Soul Song,” and others.

Aside from leaving behind a legacy of music that will live on forever, Bennington leaves behind six kids and his wife, Talinda Ann Bentley. 

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Written by

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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