Remembering Linkin Park's frontman, Chester Bennington and his legacy

Chester Bennington, frontman and primary lyricist of Linkin Park was undoubtedly one of the most powerful male voices of rock music ever. The American singer-songwriter spent the last two decades pouring his heart into Linkin Park‘s genre-blending songs, delivering raw and real emotions.

Born on March 20, 1976, in Phoenix, Arizona, Chester candidly spoke about his difficult childhood and turmoil through the years. Bennington suffered sexual abuse from an older male friend during his teenage years and in the middle of it all, his parents divorced when he was 11. He was also physically bullied in high school and as a way to cope up with the mental and physical wounds, started abusing alcohol and drugs at a very young age. 

Bennington often talked about using this childhood trauma and his history with substance abuse as an inspiration for his soul-baring lyrics. His struggles fueled some of Linkin Park’s greatest hits and the unabashed recounts of his past paved way for Linkin Park to become one of the most popular and commercially successful bands of the 21st century. They rose to fame in 2000 with their record-breaking, chart-topping debut album Hybrid Theory and were identified as an undeniable force in the rock music scene. 

Linkin Park’s seventh studio album One More Light was a clear indication of the band’s evolution from its nu-metal era. Each song from the album was an emotional straight-from-the-heart ballad that resonated with listeners who were also at war with their own minds. After Bennington‘s passing, the songs from the album took a whole new meaning with many speculating the album was a secret cry for help.

“I don’t like my mind right now,
Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary”

“I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down
If I just let go, I’d be set free”

“I’m dancing with my demons
I’m hanging off the edge”

These lines from “Heavy” and “Nobody Can Save Me” gave a glimpse into Bennington‘s tumultuous mind, highlighting his journey with depression. Despite the debate over the band’s digression from their signature sound with One More Light, it will always hold a special place in the hearts of all Linkin Park fans as this 2017 album is the last one with Chester’s vocals. 

In the months leading up to his death, the musician was visibly distraught after losing his close friend and Soundgarden‘s vocalist Chris Cornell, who also struggled with depression for most of his life. Bennington performed a soulful rendition of “Hallelujah” at Cornell‘s funeral and posted a touching note on his social media thanking Cornell for their friendship and wishing him peace in his next life.

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When the news of Chester‘s passing broke, fans were quick to notice that he took his life on what would’ve been Cornell‘s 53rd birthday. His death sent waves of grief across the globe and sparked conversations about depression and mental health. The demons Bennington sang about and openly fought with were the ones he eventually succumbed to.

In the wake of his passing and to honor Bennington‘s legacy, his wife, bandmates, and friends set up a suicide prevention website and a campaign to advocate discussions about mental health and encourage people to normalize mental illnesses.

Chester Bennington‘s death is another tragic loss of a brilliant musician who shaped the rock industry with his powerful singing. Backed by Bennington’s ferocious vocals, Linkin Park songs were anthems for the youth to connect with and their music has touched more lives than they realize. Fans who voiced their teenage angst by screaming along to Linkin Park songs lost a piece of their childhood.  

“Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars”

We all do Chester. Rest in Peace.