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#RIPChester: The Man Who Gave Voice to Teenage Angst

For India’s Bollywood-saturated youth, ‘Linkin Park’ became a gateway drug to the world of rock.

Updated
World
4 min read
Chester Bennington of Linkin Park performs “Burn It Down” at the 40th American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California in 2012. 
i

Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington, passed away on 20 July. Bennington allegedly hung himself in his Palos Verdon home in Los Angeles at the age of 41. He is survived by his wife Talinda Ann Bentley and six children from two marriages.

Chester Bennington was the lead singer of perhaps the most influential progressive rock music groups since the start of the 21st century. Bennington not only orchestrated an eclectic and addictive wall of sound, but also gave it an identity that moved a generation of youthful listeners the world over.

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World, is not an understatement here.

For many of the Indian youth, over-saturated with the pop hits doled out by Bollywood with every Friday release, Linkin Park became a gateway drug to the world of rock, which they were not yet accustomed to.

Too caught up to read? Listen to the story here:

The Meteoric Rise

Members of Linkin Park pose at the Los Angeles premiere “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”in  2009.
Members of Linkin Park pose at the Los Angeles premiere “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”in 2009.
(Photo: Reuters)

Linkin Park wasn’t a passing fancy – the band was a movement of its own that took its listeners to an unlikely ride into the unknown, through a musical style that had never before been witnessed.

Through hits like Numb, In the End, Crawling and a host of others, teen angst was captured in a way that gave many of their listeners an emotional outlet – an addictive playlist of numbers which many sang to themselves to let go of, or realise a plethora of emotions.

They were equally hated and adored, but the band, and Chester especially, were never ignored.

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The Troubles That Defined Him

The ability to handle the astronomic level of success that Linkin Park reached, however, was far from easy.

In 2011, Bennington was forced to cancel two Linkin Park shows and re-schedule others due to his deteriorating health.

Among all of this, however, lay a darker pain – depression.
Chester Bennington performs in concert during the 2015 Shindig Music Festival in Baltimore. 
Chester Bennington performs in concert during the 2015 Shindig Music Festival in Baltimore. 
(Photo: AP)

In an interview with magazine NME, Bennington talked about being sexually abused as a child, and how it affected who he was.

If I think back to when I was really young, to when I was being molested, to when all these horrible things were going on around me, I shudder.

He later took to abusing alcohol and hard drugs till 2011 after which, he admits, he began to get sober.

Chester Bennington of Linkin Park performs during the iHeartRadio Live Series in Burbank, Calif.
Chester Bennington of Linkin Park performs during the iHeartRadio Live Series in Burbank, Calif.
(Photo: AP)

Like most musicians, however, Bennington’s troubles found an outlet through music. In an interview with Spin.com, Bennington spoke of how the hit Crawling was inspired by his own struggles.

It’s about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol. That feeling, being able to write about it, sing about it, that song, those words sold millions of records, I won a Grammy, I made a lot of money.

Ironically, Linkin Park’s newest hit single Heavy, one loathed by many of its core fans, is about Bennington’s internal struggles and overcoming his demons, to reach a point of understanding.

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The Memory of Millions –His Final Legacy

Shock, bewilderment and even a sense of hatred will envelop those who try and remember the complex person that was Chester Bennington.

 Chester Bennington, left, performs during the MMRBQ Music Festival 2015 at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ. 
Chester Bennington, left, performs during the MMRBQ Music Festival 2015 at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ. 
(Photo: AP)
A voice, that shook a young generation, a musical gift that gave birth to a new era of teenage angst and a discography of hits which will take a good long while to be forgotten.

Unlike the behemoths of rock and roll – who had all spent their prime in yesteryears –Linkin Park grew up as a band, as many of their listeners grew up as boys and girls.

The children who grew up with their music, saw it grow and saw it evolve, could take ownership of it. It was their first real rock band, and you never quite forget your first.

(We all love to express ourselves, but how often do we do it in our mother tongue? Here's your chance! This Independence Day, khul ke bol with BOL – Love your Bhasha. Sing, write, perform, spew poetry – whatever you like – in your mother tongue. Send us your BOL atbol@thequint.com or WhatsApp it to 9910181818.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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