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.
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.
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The Meteoric Rise
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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