2016 was a legendarily bad year for beloved musical artists dying, from Prince to Bowie to Leonard Cohen . . . and so many more. We had such high hopes that 2017 would be a bounceback year, a respite from having to mourn our heroes, idols and inspirations. Sadly, it hasn’t turned out that way. The suicide of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell sent shockwaves around the world. The ultra-talented frontman meant so much to so many, and it’s still hard to absorb his death. The fact that it was at his own hand only heightened the tragedy, pain and heartbreak.Now, another giant has left us: Cornell’s close friend, Chester Bennington of nu-metal gods Linkin Park.
Bennington has, reportedly, hanged himself in Los Angeles, in a terrible echo of his friend’s death. Bennington famously struggled with addiction and substance abuse for many years, but that, of course, doesn’t make this any less of a shock and horror. He also spoke movingly of his sexual abuse at the hands of an older male friend when he was young, which haunted him throughout his life. Fans around the world are trying to process their grief at this stunning news.
Linkin Park put out their debut album, Hybrid Theory, in 2000. It instantly blew up, eventually reaching number 2 on the Billboard charts. But it was their full-length follow-up, Meteora, which cemented their status as one of the biggest bands in the world. It has sold a truly staggering 27 million copies globally: heights rarely scaled by any act, particularly in the modern download and streaming era. Bennington and his bandmates put out many more successful albums (and toured relentlessly) over the next decade-and-a-half, and released their latest album, One More Light, just a few months ago.
In honor of this influential and respected artist, we remember him with this tribute to his music, which will never die.