Behind the Band Name: Linkin Park

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Hearty aggressions and hardcore emotions mingled with hip-hop beats and thrashing power chords, created Linkin Park’s brand of nu-metal, alt-rock rap. The six-piece crafted a sound all their own as they injected elements of rap, punk, metal, and electronic into their music that would dominate radio during their height in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

Their journey, as their name suggests, has not always been a walk in the park. Take a stroll with us through their origins and their long road to Linkin Park.

Behind the Name

The group that would become Linkin Park was formed by three friends—Mike Shinoda, Rob Bourdon, and Brad Delson —who attended Los Angeles County’s Agoura High School together.

After graduation in the late 1990s, the trio decided to take music more seriously, recruiting a handful of other members to perform under the name Xero. After their 1996 self-titled debut saw little success, their lead vocalist left to find fame elsewhere.

Now, Xero had zero lead singers and was on the hunt for the perfect replacement, one they found in Arizona-based vocalist Chester Bennington. Reborn with a new lead, the group changed its name to Hybrid Theory. In 1999, they released an EP of the same name, but still struggled to secure a record deal.

They were eventually signed to Warner Bros. Records as a developing artist. It was due to the label’s urging that the group changed its name again (there was already a band called Hybrid at the time).

The six-piece tried out the names Plear and Platinum Lotus Foundation before they landed on Linkin Park.

The name is a play on and homage to Lincoln Park in their hometown of Santa Monica. The reason for the spelling? It wasn’t because it was edgy and cool. The group modified the name in order to secure an Internet domain name.

In a conversation with the Huffington Post, Shinoda recalled “When we came up with the name Linkin Park, we wanted to go with the presidential spelling but we chose L-i-n-k-i-n because we wanted to get the domain ‘.com.’ There really wasn’t a Google yet. So if you can imagine coming from that and everything that’s happened since then, we’ve had to roll with it and really stay in touch with our fans, stay in touch with the technology, and try and stay ahead of the curve.”

As Linkin Park, the group officially released their debut album, titled Hybrid Theory, in 2000 and, for 17 years, were unshaken bringing their unique blend of rock, metal, and rap to the masses.

However, Linkin Park has been on hiatus since the sudden death of Bennington in 2017. Whispers of new music have arisen here and there, but have all eventually been shut down. When asked, on a podcast, about performing live again, Shinoda explained, “Now is not the time [for the band’s return]. We don’t have the focus on it. We don’t have the math worked out. And I don’t mean that by financially math, I mean that like emotional and creative math.”

Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect

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