18 Years Ago: Linkin Park Releases Their Breakthrough Album "Hybrid Theory"

October 24, 2018

If you grew up in the late '90s/early 2000's, then you will remember when the biggest band in the world was this brand new group called Linkin Park. Although their rise to fame appeared sudden, the release of their debut album Hybrid Theory on October 24th, 2000 was the product of years of hard work, trial, and error.

It all first started with guitarist/rapper Mike Shinoda and guitarist Brad Delson formed the band in high school in Agoura Hills, CA. Originally calling themselves "Xero", Shinoda and Delson wanted to make their sound a healthy blend of rock and hip-hop. They later added drummer Rob Bourdon, turntable DJ Joe HahnDave "Phoenix" Farrell on bass and Mark Wakefield on vocals. However, because Wakefield wasn't the right fit for the band, so he ended up leaving for a touring gig with a band named Tasty Snax.

Down a lead vocalist, Xeno caught the attention of Zomba Music VP Jeff Blue, who introduced the Californians with a singer from Phoenix, AZ named Chester Bennington. Bennington received the news from Blue during a surprise birthday party where he received a pair of tapes: one which was a voice message left by Blue, and the other was a Xeno instrumental track. After mailing back his vocals to the track, he received a call to come in for an audition. 

Rumor has it that Bennington made such a strong impression during his audition, that the next guy in line quit and never completed his. Thus, making Bennington the new vocalist for Xeno.

At first, they wanted to change their name to "Hybrid Theory", but a Welsh band named Hybrid convinced them to change it to something else. Settling on "Linkin Park", the phrase "Hybrid Theory" stuck with the band, making it to the title of their debut album.

After Blue helped them land a record deal with Warner Bros, they began production for Hybrid Theory.

The first single to introduce Linkin Park to the masses was the loud and aggressive "One Step Closer." Making their first impression by showing off the vocal stylings of both Bennington and Shinoda, "One Step Closer" had fans hooked. 

The next single to make it off of Hybrid Theory was "Crawling," a song Bennington admitted to illustrate his battles with substance abuse and the sense of helplessness caused by it.

Although they attempted to release "Papercut" as the album's third single, it didn't seem to have the same about of radio appeal as "In The End," which came as more of a surprise to the band members themselves.

After Hybrid Theory earned the band a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for "Crawling", the award for "Best Rock Video" for "In The End" at the MTV VMA's, and topping out at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart, the guys of Linkin Park were certainly off to an incredible start to stardom.