20 Ιουλίου 2020
Its May 18th, Chris Cornell (Chester’s close friend) is performing in Fox Theater. A few hours later he is found dead in his hotel room. Cause of death, suicide by hanging. Chester commented “I can’t imagine a world without you in it” He also sang «Hallelujah » in his friend’s funeral. A song to be sang again by Cornell’s daughter, only two months later, on Chester’s funeral this time, who also ended his life in the same way… Here’s a short story of how we got here.
Chester Charles Bennington was born on March 20, 1976 in Arizona. His mother was a nurse , while his father was a police detective who worked on child sexual abuse cases. The tragic irony is that Chester was a victim of sexual abuse by an older male friend when he was 7 but the fear of probable homophobic reactions by others made him unable to reveal the abuse and this went on until he was 13. Years later, when he finally found the courage to tell his father the identity of the abuser, he chose not to pursue him because he found out that the abuser was a victim himself.
His parents got divorced when he was 11. The situation inside his house was so bad, that he felt the urge to run away and hurt people. Until he became 17 , Chester was an addict of many kinds of drugs and got constantly bullied for being skinny. He then moved in with his mother, who banned him from leaving the house when she found out his drug activity. His difficult young age caused him to suffer from depression, which was visible throughout his career.
Chester joined Linkin Park in late 1999 who until then were named Xero and made significant progress with Mike Shinoda (the band’s other vocalist) . The band first changed it’s name to Hybrid Theory but didn’t stick with it for very long to avoid confusions with the British band named Hybrid. They finally decided to go with Linkin Park , a play on and homage to Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park.
Their first album, Hybrid Theory was released in October 2000 and was a huge success , earning it the status of the most selling album of 2001. It also won them a Grammy award for the best Hard Rock performance in the song “Crawling” , LP were also nominated for 2 other Grammy awards, the Best new artist and Best rock album.
The immediate success helped them work on other projects such as Meteora. The band’s second album, (inspired by a rocky region in Greece) sold more than 800.000 copies the first week of its release and it ranked as the best selling album on the billboard charts at the time. Meteora was not as successful as Hybrid Theory, but it still was in the top-3 selling albums in US in 2003 and did set a really bright future of the band.
Fast forward to 2015 , and after 4 more albums (Minutes to Midnight, A Thousand Suns, Living Things and The Hunting Party) , the band began working on their seventh album. Two years later (and only one day after Chester’s close friend Cornell died) the band releases their new album on May 19 under the name of One More Light.
Chester was devastated, the death of his friend hit him really hard. He just couldn’t get over it. Heart singer Ann Wilson said «He was really upset, so sad and anxious and had to go onstage in a minute». Just two months after they released One More Light and only a few hours! after the band uploaded the song “Talking to Myself” on July 20, Chester is found dead in his apartment. News spread around quickly, and Mike Shinoda soon confirms it by tweeting «Shocked and heartbroken, but its true». His death occurred on what would have been Cornell’s 53 birthday.
Many fans, including myself were overwhelmed with sorrow. A legend passed away… Many of us wanted to attended at least one of their concerts but never got the chance.. And never will. Chester will always have a special place in our hearts and Linkin Park’s music will continue to live in us. To end this, I would like to adress my personal top-10 songs of LP. Not based on sales, views or money but on what feelings they give me.
10. Rebellion – The Hunting Party
Always fight for a better tommorow.
9. Iridescent – A Thousand Suns
Let your bad thoughts go away.
8. Roads Untraveled – Living Things
Forget everything and focus on the bright side of life.
7. I’ll Be Gone – Living Things
Appreciate the things around you before it’s too late.
6. In My Remains – Living Things
Rise through your ashes. Start over.
5. Breaking The Habit – Meteora
Find the strength to overcome bad situations.
4. Castle Of Glass – Living Things
Even a little crack can destroy a castle of glass. You matter!
3. One More Light – One More Light
Who cares if one more light goes out in a sky of a million stars? We do, Chester…
2. Burning In The Skies – A Thousand Suns
Learn from your mistakes. Use them as fuel for a better future.
1. Robot Boy – A Thousand Suns
Always be yourself. Fight even if you think you are alone.
“One thing can’t be defeated is love. You can conquer hate by ignoring it. You can destroy it by loving the person next to you. So I want everybody here tonight to look at the person standing next to you and just tell them you love them or happy that they are here with you tonight and having a good time, listening to music, celebrating life. We don’t care what you look like, we don’t care where are you coming from, we don’t care what you believe in. We love every single one of you out there and nothing will ever change that. With that said let’s sing some songs together.”
~ Chester Bennington