We pay tribute to mark his 42nd birthday.
Very few people have ever transformed the face of alternative culture - or inspired millions across the globe - the way Chester Bennington did.
To mark what would have been the Linkin Park frontman’s 42nd birthday, we explore some of the reasons he’ll never, ever be forgotten.
HE BECAME THE VOICE OF A GENERATION…
In a world where so many people feel isolated or disconnected, music that builds bridges - that brings people together, no matter who they are or where they come from - couldn’t be more important. As the heart of albums like ‘Hybrid Theory’, ‘Meteora’ and ‘Minutes To Midnight’, Chester shared his own experiences, and chimed with those of countless others on every continent - changing lives in the process.
…AND RESHAPED MUSIC
It’s impossible to overstate the impact Chester and Linkin Park had on the musical landscape when they emerged in the early 2000s. Even at a time where nu metal had taken over the world, their ability to unite different audiences, and transform personal experiences into something universal, was unprecedented. LP sold many millions of records and broke into mainstream spaces that rock bands rarely had before, but that almost feels incidental in retrospect.
HE WAS A UNIQUE FRONTMAN
During an era where cocksure bravado was the order of the day for rock vocalists, Chester was a unique and enigmatic presence: seemingly assured, but also vulnerable. There was something real about the way he presented himself that always set him apart, and paved the way for countless frontpeople to come. If you ever saw him perform live, you’ll never forget it.
SO MANY GREAT BANDS HAVE FOLLOWED IN HIS FOOTSTEPS
Chances are, if you ask your favourite vocalist who first inspired them to pick up a microphone, Chester’s name is going to appear pretty quickly. Though he was obviously hugely talented, his unpretentious approach made it seem like any of us could do it too - and he was renowned in the music industry for his kindness and support towards those who did. It’d be far easier to list the contemporary bands who don’t owe him a debt of inspiration than those who do.
AS AN ARTIST, HE NEVER STOOD STILL
It would have been easy for Chester to endlessly rework his early triumphs and trade in his artistic ambitions for an easy ride, but he never did: instead exploring new horizons throughout his whole life. Whether that was Linkin Park’s moves into electronic and pop music, his Dead By Sunrise project, a stint as frontman of Stone Temple Pilots or his forays into acting, he proved that no matter how successful you may be, you can still find space to grow.
HE BELIEVED IN GIVING BACK
Together with his Linkin Park bandmates, Chester founded the Music For Relief charity following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Ever since, the organisation has provided support to people affected by natural disasters worldwide, and planted over 1.3 million trees to help reduce climate change. Following his passing last year, MFR has launched a new One More Light fund - so Chester’s work can continue well into the future.
BY SHARING HIS EXPERIENCES, HE MADE OTHERS FEEL LESS ALONE
Whether through his lyrics or by speaking about his experiences of addiction, abuse and mental illness in interviews, Chester shed light on many of his struggles over the course of his career - broaching topics that affect countless people, but that society as a whole rarely discusses. He did so with a level of compassion and - often - humour that helped people who could relate feel less alone, but never glamorised or sugar-coated the seriousness of what he’d been through.
HIS LIFE AND WORK WILL ALWAYS CONTINUE TO INSPIRE
The tributes made by Chester’s family, bandmates, friends and fans in the wake of his death illustrated just how much he and his music meant to so many. And no matter how many years pass, that will remain.
To donate to the One More Light Fund, head here.
It will "support Chester's favorite Music for Relief program: Solar Suitcases - solar electricity kits - for remote health clinics without electricity. The fund will also shine a light on mental health; helping individuals and families coping with mental and emotional struggles."