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Although they might not appreciate you saying it, Linkin Park has always had a reputation as the rock group that you could “bring home to mom” while still seeming cool when you hung out with your frat buddies during a keg party. During the late 1990s and early 2000’s a lot of so-called nü-metal bands were well known for being as unsophisticated and boorish as possible but, while they still did quite a bit of yelling on their albums and on tour, Linkin Park managed to also be smart and sensitive too.
It was in 1996 in Agoura Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles, that the band formed. Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson, and Rob Bourdon were high school friends at the time and were soon joined by Dave Farrell and Joe Hahn. Mark Wakefield, a singer, was also part of the group during their first three years but left in 1999 while the group was still calling themselves Hybrid Theory. Wakefield was replaced by a young guy from Arizona named Chester Bennington who had already been in another rock group, Grey Daze.
It wasn’t long after that that they changed their name to Linkin Park and released their first album with, fittingly, their old name as the title, Hybrid Theory. The album has the distinction of being the best-selling album of 2001 and, backed by the group’s tireless touring, sold almost 5 million albums that year. In 2002 they released their second album, Reanimation, which was a remix of several songs and also featured guest appearances by Black Thought from the Roots and Jonathan Davis from Korn, among others.
The boys continued their meteoric rise to stardom in 2003 with, ironically, Meteora. The album also made it to #1 on the charts which isn’t surprising considering it had a total of 4 #1 rock hits including Somewhere I Belong, Numb, Breaking the Habit, and Lying from You.
It was about a year later that Linkin Park was asked by Jay-Z to back him up on his #1 album Collision Course. The album was a mix of music and lyrics from both Jay-Z and Linkin Park, a “mashup” if you will, and was a smash hit.
Their next project was a little bit more difficult given the fact that nü-metal had basically died by the end of the 2000. Not surprisingly however, Minutes to Midnight was a triumphant success and sold over half a million copies in its first week as it debuted at #1.
Linkin Park will be going on tour in 2014 with both 30 Seconds to Mars and AFI during their Carnivores tour around the United States.