Happy Anniversary: Linkin Park, HYBRID THEORY
17 years ago today, Linkin Park released their debut album, the success of which kicked off their career in decidedly spectacular fashion.
Before we talk about the album, let’s talk about the origins of the band. Most of the members of Linkin Park came courtesy of Xero, a rap-rock band fronted by Mark Wakefield and featuring guitarist Brad Delson, vocalist / rhythm guitarist Mike Shinoda, drummer Rob Bourdon, turntablist Joe Hahn, and bassist Dave Farrell. With no record deal on the horizon, Wakefield bailed on the band and went looking for another gig, as did Farrell.
Enter Chester Bennington, recommended to the band by Jeff Blue, vice president of Zomba Music. Next up: a name change to…Hybrid Theory? Yep, that’s right. Now you know where they got the title of their first album. They soon changed their name again, however, this time to Linkin Park, but their homage to Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park was tweaked in its spelling in the name of marketing: the URL for “LincolnPark.com” was already taken.
Recorded at NRG Recording Studios in North Hollywood, HYBRID THEORY was filled with songs which had accumulated over the course of the previous five years, which meant that the material was well road-tested. By this point, Linkin Park had been signed by Warner Brothers, thanks to none other than the aforementioned Jeff Blue, who’d jumped ship from Zomba, so they had a considerable promotional push behind them.
Although HYBRID THEORY found airplay with a number of songs, with both “One Step Closer” and “Crawling” climbing into the top 5 on both Billboard’s Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts, it was “In the End” that really made them a massive success, climbing all the way to #2 on the Hot 100. As for the album, it’s been certified Diamond, having sold 11 million units. You can’t gauge an album’s quality strictly on its sales, however, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention that it can be found within 1,001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Yes, it’s that good. And it holds up, too.
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