In 1996, three Agoura Hills, Calif. high school chums -- Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson, and Rob Bourdon -- came together as a band. Post-graduation, they added Joe Hahn, Dave "Phoenix" Farrell, and Mark Wakefield to the line-up, but Farrell and Wakefield left soon enough after an overnight success failed to materialize.
Chester Bennington was brought in to cover lead vocals and, after two name changes, the group was christened Linkin Park and signed a deal with Warner Bros. Records in 1999.
A year later, their debut album, Hybrid Theory, was released and sold nearly five million units to become the best-selling record of 2001. Two stand-out tracks, “Crawling” and “One Step Closer,” got the band massive attention on alternative rock radio. Inclusion of other cuts in a number of films also drew a wide crowd.
The effort was nominated for three Grammy Awards, with “Crawling” winning for Best Hard Rock Performance. Two MTV Video Awards also came in. Top-tier tours, such as Ozzfest and the Family Values Tour, filled the Linkin Park schedule, as did a performance at KROQ's annual Almost Acoustic Christmas show.
The Projekt Revolution tour sprang from the band itself, and included Snoop Dogg, Adema, and Cypress Hill on the bill alongside Linkin Park. In total, the group played some 320 shows in only a year's time, the experience of which was documented in a DVD, Frat Party at the Pankake Festival.
In 2001, Farrell also rejoined the band and they issued a remix record titled Reanimation in 2002 which featured some Hybrid Theory tracks as well as some non-album cuts. It sold 270,000 units in its first week out.
It wouldn't be until the end of 2002 that the Linkin Park boys would officially hunker down to work on their next record. The result, Meteora, combined the band's nu metal and rapcore styles with some new touches. It debuted at the top of the album charts in both the U.S. and the UK, hitting number two in Australia.
Singles included "Somewhere I Belong," "Breaking the Habit," "Faint," and "Numb," helping the album to sell more than three million copies in the first seven months. Another Projekt Revolution tour ensued, this time with Mudvayne, Xzibit, and Blindside. A slot on Metallica's Summer Sanitarium Tour 2003 also followed.
A CD/DVD -- Live in Texas -- of various performances in Texas preceded their Meteora World Tour in 2004. More awards flooded in.
The next couple of years saw Linkin Park continue to tour while members contributed their efforts to side projects and charitable events. By 2006, they were back at work on their next record with producer Rick Rubin.
Minutes to Midnight took over a year to complete and was issued in May of 2007, selling 600,000 copies in its debut week. The album's singles -- "What I've Done," "Bleed It Out," "Shadow of the Day," "Given Up," and "Leave Out All the Rest" -- all continued the band's radio and awards momentum.
A full-on touring slate tour the band around the world and 2008's Road to Revolution: Live at Milton Keynes, another CD/DVD release, came out of their fourth Projekt Revolution run. The following year saw Linkin Park collaborate with film composer Hans Zimmer on music for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, including the single “New Divide.”
Linkin Park's fourth studio effort, A Thousand Suns, was released in 2010 and included the songs “Wretches and Kings,” "Waiting for the End," "Blackout," and "The Catalyst." The band's subsequent supporting tour got underway in the fall of 2010.