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Chester Bennington
Linkin Park-Rock im Park 2014- by 2eight 3SC0327.jpg
Bennington performing in 2014
Chester Charles Bennington

(1976-03-20)March 20, 1976
Died July 20, 2017(2017-07-20) (aged 41)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
Samantha Olit
(m. 1996; div. 2005)
Talinda Bentley
(m. 2006)
Children 6
Musical career
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1992–2017
Signature of Chester Bennington.svg

Chester Charles Bennington (March 20, 1976 – July 20, 2017) was an American singer who served as the lead vocalist of rock band Linkin Park. He was also a lead vocalist of Grey Daze, Dead by Sunrise and Stone Temple Pilots at various points.

Bennington first gained prominence as a vocalist following the release of Linkin Park's debut album, Hybrid Theory (2000), which was a worldwide commercial success. The album was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America in 2005, making it the bestselling debut album of the decade, as well as one of the few albums ever to achieve that many sales. He continued to serve as the band's lead vocalist for their next six studio albums, from Meteora (2003) to One More Light (2017), with each charting within the top three spots of the Billboard 200.

Bennington formed his own band, Dead by Sunrise, as a side project in 2005. The band's debut album, Out of Ashes, was released on October 13, 2009. He became the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots in 2013 to release the extended play record High Rise on October 8, 2013, via their own record label, Play Pen, but left in 2015 to focus solely on Linkin Park. As an actor, he appeared in films such as Crank (2006), Crank: High Voltage (2009), and Saw 3D (2010).

On July 20, 2017, Bennington was found dead at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California.

Hit Parader magazine placed Bennington at number 46 on their list of the "Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time". Bennington has been ranked by several publications as one of the greatest rock vocalists of his generation. Writing for Billboard, Dan Weiss stated that Bennington "turned nu-metal universal".

Early life

Chester Charles Bennington was born in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 20, 1976, the son of a mother who worked as a nurse and a father who worked as a police detective. He took an interest in music at a young age, citing the bands Depeche Mode and Stone Temple Pilots as his earliest inspirations. Bennington dreamed of becoming a member of Stone Temple Pilots, and would later become their lead singer for a time.

Bennington's parents divorced when he was 11 years old. The situation at home affected him so much that he started drawing and writing poetry and songs. After the divorce, his father gained custody of him. In 1993, at the age of 17, Bennington moved in with his mother. He worked at a local Burger King before starting his career as a professional musician.


Early acts

Chester Bennington 1994
Bennington performing in 1994

Bennington first began singing with a band called Sean Dowdell and His Friends? and together they released an eponymous three-track cassette in 1993. Later, Dowdell and Bennington moved on to form a post-grunge band called Grey Daze. The band recorded a demo in 1993 and two albums: Wake Me in 1994, and ...No Sun Today in 1997. Bennington left Grey Daze in 1998.

Linkin Park

Chester Bennington, Linkin Park @ Sonisphere
Bennington performing with Linkin Park at the 2009 Sonisphere Festival

Bennington had been frustrated and nearly quit his musical career altogether when Jeff Blue, the vice president of A&R at Zomba Music in Los Angeles, offered him an audition with the future members of Linkin Park (then known as Xero). He quit his day job at a digital services firm and traveled to California for the audition, in which he successfully won a place in the band. He left his own birthday party early to record his audition. Bennington and Mike Shinoda, the band's other vocalist, made significant progress together but failed to find a record deal and faced numerous rejections. Blue, who had since become vice president of A&R at Warner Records, intervened again to help the band sign with the label.

On October 24, 2000, Linkin Park released their debut album, Hybrid Theory, through Warner Records. Bennington and Shinoda wrote the lyrics to Hybrid Theory based on some early material. Shinoda characterized the lyrics as interpretations of universal feelings, emotions, and experiences, and as "everyday emotions you talk about and think about." Bennington later described the songwriting experience to Rolling Stone magazine in early 2002, "It's easy to fall into that thing – 'poor, poor me', that's where songs like 'Crawling' come from: I can't take myself. But that song is about taking responsibility for your actions. I don't say 'you' at any point. It's about how I'm the reason that I feel this way. There's something inside me that pulls me down."

Bennington primarily served as Linkin Park's lead vocalist, but he occasionally shared the role with Shinoda. All Music Guide described Bennington's vocals as "higher-pitched" and "emotional", in contrast to Shinoda's hip-hop-style delivery. Both members also worked together to write lyrics for the band's songs.

Hybrid Theory (2000) was certified diamond by the RIAA in 2005. The band's second album, Meteora (2003), reached number one on the Billboard 200 album chart, as did its third album, Minutes to Midnight (2007). Linkin Park has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. The band has won two Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards and three World Music Awards. In 2003, MTV2 named Linkin Park the sixth-greatest band of the music video era and the third-best of the new millennium. Billboard ranked Linkin Park No. 19 on the Best Artists of the Decade chart. In 2012, the band was voted as the greatest artist of the 2000s in a Bracket Madness poll on VH1.

Dead by Sunrise

Chester Bennington, Dead By Sunrise
Bennington performing with Dead by Sunrise in 2009

In 2005, Bennington co-founded Dead by Sunrise, an electronic rock band from Los Angeles, California, with Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck. Dead by Sunrise made their live debut in May 2008, performing at the 13th anniversary party for Club Tattoo in Tempe, Arizona.

The band released their lone album, Out of Ashes, on October 13, 2009.

Stone Temple Pilots

In February 2013, Stone Temple Pilots parted ways with long-time lead singer Scott Weiland. The band recruited Bennington to replace Weiland in May 2013. On May 18, 2013, Bennington took the stage at KROQ's Weenie Roast with the band. The setlist included original Stone Temple Pilots songs, as well as their first single with Bennington on vocals called "Out of Time", which debuted on May 19 and was available for free download via their official website. It was later announced by Bennington and the band in an exclusive KROQ interview that he was officially the new frontman of Stone Temple Pilots and discussed the possibility of a new album and tour. The song "Out of Time" is featured on their EP High Rise, which was released on October 8, 2013.

Bennington reflected on joining Stone Temple Pilots, stating, "Every band has its own kind of vibe. Stone Temple Pilots has this [...] more classic rock feel to it. Linkin Park is a very modern, very tech-heavy type of band. I grew up listening to these guys. When this opportunity came up, it was just like a no-brainer." Bennington stated in interviews that singing lead vocals in Stone Temple Pilots was his lifelong dream. He left the band on good terms due to his commitments with Linkin Park in 2015 and was replaced two years later by Jeff Gutt.

Other works

In 2005, Bennington appeared on "Walking Dead", the lead single from turntablist Z-Trip's debut album Shifting Gears. Bennington also made a surprise guest appearance during Z-Trip's performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2005. Bennington re-recorded the Mötley Crüe song "Home Sweet Home" as a duet with the band as a charity single for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005. He also joined Alice in Chains and performed the song "Man in the Box" at KROQ's Inland Invasion Festival in 2006. Bennington performed with Kings of Chaos during their six-show 2016 concert tour.

Bennington recorded a track for Slash's 2010 eponymous debut solo album entitled "Crazy" but it was blocked from release. Slash rerecorded it with Lemmy on vocals and the retitled "Doctor Alibi" was added instead. In May 2021, a snippet of the original Bennington track was finally released.

Personal life

Family and views

Bennington had a son, Jaime (born May 12, 1996), from his relationship with Elka Brand. In 2006, he adopted Brand's other son, Isaiah (born November 8, 1997). He married his first wife, Samantha Marie Olit, on October 31, 1996. They had one child together, Draven Sebastian (born April 19, 2002). Bennington's relationship with his first wife declined during his early years with Linkin Park, and they divorced in 2005.

In 2006, he married Talinda Ann Bentley, a former model with whom he had three children: Tyler Lee Bennington (born March 16, 2006) and twins Lily and Lila (born November 9, 2011).

Bennington was a fan of the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Arizona Coyotes.


Linkin Park, Brixton Academy, London (35957242826)
Bennington performing on July 4, 2017, sixteen days before his death

On July 20, 2017, at the age of 41, Bennington was found dead at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California.

After Bennington's death, Linkin Park canceled the rest of their One More Light World Tour and refunded tickets. Bennington's funeral was held on July 29 at South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes. In addition to his family members and close friends, many musicians who toured or played with Linkin Park also attended. The service also included a full stage for musical tributes.

Linkin Park entered a hiatus following Bennington's death. Mike Shinoda stated in April 2022 that the band has no plans of recording a new album or touring.


Linkin Park-Rock im Park 2014- by 2eight 3SC0566
Bennington performing at Rock im Park in 2014


Bennington was described as being a "warm tenor", with his voice showing "tremendous durability" for the entirety of his career. Althea Legaspi of Rolling Stone wrote: "Bennington's voice embodied the anguish and wide-ranging emotions of the lyrics, from capturing life's vulnerable moments to the fury and catharsis found in his belted screams, which he would often move between at the turn of a dime."

Musical style and influences

Bennington stated that he was influenced by Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Arcade Fire, Circle Jerks, Descendents, Deftones, Metallica, Fugazi, Refused, Ministry, Minor Threat, Misfits, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Skinny Puppy, Soundgarden, and A Tribe Called Quest. Bennington also considered himself as "a huge Madonna fan", crediting her for making him grow up wanting to be a musician.


With Linkin Park

  • Hybrid Theory (2000)
  • Meteora (2003)
  • Minutes to Midnight (2007)
  • A Thousand Suns (2010)
  • Living Things (2012)
  • The Hunting Party (2014)
  • One More Light (2017)

With Grey Daze

Album Album details Peak chart
Wake Me
  • Released: October 1994
  • Formats: CD
...No Sun Today
  • Released: May 23, 1997
  • Formats: CD
  • Released: June 26, 2020
  • Formats: CD, LP, download, streaming
30 29 9 17 62 1 75
The Phoenix
  • Release: June 17, 2022
  • Format: CD, LP, download, streaming
27 87
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US Main.

"What's In the Eye?" 2020 Amends
"Sickness" 2 35 11
"Soul Song" 40
"B12" 29
"Anything, Anything" 2021 The Phoenix
"Saturation (Strange Love)" 2022
"Starting to Fly"

Music videos

Year Title Director Album
2020 "What's in the Eye" Zev Deans Amends
"Sickness" Nico Poalillo and Brandon Rottman
"Soul Song" Jaime Bennington
"B12" Unknown
"In Time" Daniel Silva and Danilo Silgepe
"Shouting Out"
2022 "Saturation (Strange Love)" Marc Silverstein The Phoenix
"Starting to Fly" Heidi Gadd

With Dead by Sunrise

  • Out of Ashes (2009)

With Stone Temple Pilots

  • High Rise (2013)

Album contributions and singles

Year Artist Song Release
2001 DJ Lethal "Cry To Yourself" (also known as "State of the Art") N/A – originally intended for DJ Lethal's unreleased album "State of the Art"
2002 Stone Temple Pilots "Wonderful (Live)" The Family Values 2001 Tour
2002 Chester Bennington "System" Queen of the Damned soundtrack
Cyclefly "Karma Killer" Crave
2004 Handsome Boy Modeling School featuring DJ Q-bert, Grand Wizard Theodore, Jazzy Jay, Lord Finesse, Mike Shinoda, Rahzel & Chester Bennington / Tim Meadows "Rock N' Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This) (Part 2) / Knockers" White People
2005 Z-Trip "Walking Dead" Shifting Gears
Mötley Crüe "Home Sweet Home" (remake) Non-album charity single
2006 Chester Bennington "Morning After (Julien-K Remix)" Underworld: Evolution (soundtrack)
Mindless Self Indulgence "What Do They Know? (Mindless Self Indulgence Vs. Julien-K & Chester Bennington Remix)" Another Mindless Rip Off
2007 Young Buck "Slow Ya Roll" Buck the World
2008/2010 Chris Cornell "Hunger Strike (Live at Projekt Revolution 2008)" Songs from the Underground

A Decade Underground

2010 Santana featuring Chester Bennington & Ray Manzarek "Riders on the Storm" (The Doors cover) Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time
2019 Mark Morton featuring Chester Bennington "Cross Off" Anesthetic

Music producer

Bennington executive-produced the 2012 debut EP Us–You for Los Angeles hard rock band Hellflower, which is fronted by his long-time friend and Director of Activities (D.O.A.) Church.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Chester Bennington para niños

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