This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #283: In The End by Linkin Park.
Here is a term that we have not yet discussed in our journey through the modern music landscape…..Nu-Metal! Nu-Metal refers to a genre of music that combines elements of Rock or Heavy Metal, with other genres such as Hip-Hop or Country or even, Classical compositions, too. Nu-Metal came into being as Hip Hop, in particular, came into being as a recognized music form during the 1980s and 90s. Some of the bands that rode the Nu-Metal wave and helped to establish it as its own unique genre included bands such as, “Limp Bizkit”, “Korn”, “Kid Rock” and the subject of today’s post, Linkin Park.
Linkin Park formed in 1996 and arrived on the music scene as a hybrid of a rock band and a Hip Hop band. They had a DJ named Joe Hahn, a keyboard/guitarist/rapper named Mike Shinoda, a lead guitarist, Brad Delson, a bassist, Dave Farrell and a drummer named Rob Bourden. After losing vocalist, Mark Wakefield, during the initial recording of their debut album, the band were lucky to have been able to replace him with a fabulous singer named Chester Bennington. With Bennington and his miles-wide vocal range in the fold, Linkin Park was complete. Their debut album was called, “Hybrid Theory” (which was the name they originally thought of calling their band) and reflected well the merging of genres that the band was promoting. “Hybrid Theory” was a big hit and spawned hits such as “Crawling”, “One Step Closer” and “In the End”. “Hybrid Theory” went on to sell over 30 million copies worldwide and helped win multiple Grammy Awards and MTV Music Awards for Linkin Park.
One of the things that helped Linkin Park rise above the crowded field of other Nu-Metal bands was their relationship with their audience. The members of Linkin Park write songs that resonate with the experiences of their audience and they are the first to admit that they don’t have all of the answers for life’s struggles. Many of Linkin Park’s songs have an anthemic component to them and, as such, live concerts tend to be cathartic experiences for band and audience, alike. The story behind, “In the End” is a good case in point.
“In the End” was inspired by a shooting involving a teenage boy. When questioned, the young man who did the shooting explained that his life had been so tough and that he had “tried so hard and got so far but, in the end, it doesn’t even matter”. The song has further relevance to the band, in particular, because of the emotional/mental health struggles of singer, Chester Bennington. All throughout the career of Linkin Park, Bennington dealt with Depression and Anxiety. At times, he was successful in dealing with his demons but, at other times, he succumbed and required time away from the band. His bandmates never gave up on him and stuck with him, right up until the end, which came in July, 2017, when Bennington committed suicide after lapsing into a severe bout of Depression. His death devastated the band, as you can imagine. A “Celebration of Life” concert was held in October of that year. A series of guest singers filled in for Bennington on all songs except, “In the End”. For that song, as Mike Shinoda says in the video you are about to see, they wanted their favourite guest singer…”you guys” (the audience)….to take Bennington’s part. If there was ever a tribute as rousing as this, I haven’t seen it! The love-filled connection that existed between Linkin Park and their fans is on full display.
This moment is easily one of my favourite music moments ever! I get goosebumps each time I watch it. In addition to that tribute version of “In The End”, I will post one from earlier in their career so you can see Chester Bennington in action. He was something else! His loss is deeply felt by those who loved his music and those who believe that investments in Mental Health initiatives are urgently needed. So, without further delay, here is “In the End” from the tribute concert for Chester Bennington at The Hollywood Bowl in 2017. In the comments, you can watch the full Linkin Park band perform the song. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “In The End” by Linkin Park, can be found here.
The link to the video for the song, “In The End”, as sung by Chester Bennington, can be found here.
The link to an interview with Chester Bennington, where he discusses his own mental health issues, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Linkin Park, can be found here.
Thanks to KEXP for being proud supporters of mental health initiatives the world over. The link to their website can be found here.