On July 20th 2017, the music world was shaken to the core as news broke that Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington had been found dead in his home.
Over the past few weeks I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not to post some sort of tribute to Chester Bennington; I wondered if people would consider it distasteful. However, seeing as his voice, and the music of Linkin Park, were such a big part of the soundtrack to my growing up, I decided that I wanted to share something – a Linkin Park appreciation post, if you will.
For those of you that are somehow unaware, Chester Bennington, the voice of popular rock band Linkin Park, tragically took his own life last month, just hours after the band released their new music video for ‘Talking To Myself’. Bennington dealt with a lot in his 41 years, including multiple substance addictions, alcoholism, and experiencing sexual abuse at a young age. He died on what would have been, fellow musician, Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday; a close friend of Bennington who also committed suicide by hanging only two months prior.
When news of Chester Bennington’s death broke I was shell-shocked. I saw Linkin Park trending on Twitter, then I started seeing posts ending in ‘RIP Chester’ and the like. My mouth dropped open and I went straight to Google where I found multiple reports confirming the singer’s death. Even though I didn’t know Chester Bennington, or even meet him, the news really hit me because the music of Linkin Park was a huge part of the soundtrack to my teenage years – they were one of the first bands that really solidified my love for rock music.
When I was around 14 and just starting to listen to rock, one of my friends lent me a Linkin Park album; little did I know that I would play it for weeks on end afterwards. The album was ‘Meteora’. The 2003 release features, now iconic, songs such as ‘Somewhere I Belong’ and ‘Numb’, as well as other favourites of mine including, ‘Faint’, ‘Breaking The Habit’ and ‘From The Inside’.
I really took the band’s music to my heart in my teens; something that I’m sure is true for many who grew up in that same era and identified with the music for whatever reason. I loved their composition of smooth vocals, rap, and raw screams, as well as the emotion that went into their angsty lyrics – lyrics that hit even harder now. It was music that gave so many people, so many ‘outsiders’, something to relate to in one way or another; voicing things that perhaps we as listeners, couldn’t. It brought the ‘outsiders’ in; helping people through their personal tribulations by sharing their own.
However, the haunting thing in light of Bennington’s suicide is where those songs came from. This sentiment is expressed perfectly in the band’s official statement following Bennington’s death: “It was the way you sang about those demons that made everyone fall in love with you in the first place. You fearlessly put them on display and, in doing so, brought us together and taught us to be more human.” Bennington’s wife, Talinda also released a heart-felt statement to Rolling Stone, in which she described her husband as a “bright, loving soul” and said that he is “now pain-free singing his songs in all our hearts.”
And, you only have to glance around to know that Bennington lives on in the heart of many; with tributes flooding in from fans and fellow musicians alike, both online and in the outside world. This love was also shown in that, in the wake of Bennington’s death, there were no less than 26 Linkin Park songs featured in the official UK rock top 40, with every slot in the top 15 filled by a track from the band.
Chester Bennington was many things: The voice of a generation, an icon, a true rock legend. But, away from the crowds, he was also, a son, a husband and a father. Whether you knew him personally, or as a fan of his music, or perhaps even a bit of both, one thing is absolutely certain: he is undoubtedly missed. But, for those of us who carry Linkin Park in our hearts, Chester Bennington will continue to live on through the music.
Sophie says: As said, Chester Bennington’s death sent a massive ripple through the music world, and to know that he took his own life is heart-breaking. If you, or anyone you know, is struggling please talk to someone – whether it be a parent, a friend, a teacher, a doctor, or some sort of professional, just know that there are people out there who can help. There will always be someone who will be there for you, and you don’t have to go through it alone.