Chester Bennington’s Ultimate Playlist
The Linkin Park frontman reveals the stories behind his favourite songs
Shifting north of 60 million albums, collaborating with the likes of Jay-Z and hoisting two Grammy Awards atop their collective mantelpiece, Linkin Park’s success borders on the preposterous.
The best kind of preposterous, we should add, because the best is yet to come. Their latest album, The Hunting Party (which is exceptional), will be released on 16 June, but not before they preview some of these imminent hits when they headline Download Festival on 14 June.
So universally beloved are the band, in fact, even Prince William declared himself a fan recently - so when we caught up with the band's star singer Chester Bennington inside a plush London hotel, it made total sense to probe the star's own personal music favourites.
As humorous as the man is earnest, sit back and allow one of the most intriguing minds in music today to lay bare some of the songs of his life...
FAVOURITE SAD SONG
"It’s got to be a Radiohead song. You can pick any track and you know you’re in for some sorrow. Karma Police is a very sad song despite the fact I’m always excited to hear it. Yet there's something incredibly sad about Faust Arp on the In Rainbows album. You have to admire Radiohead - they always take risks, are incredibly smart and they’ve found a way to take jazz and make it even more interesting. They don’t play by anyone else's rules, I like that."
FAVOURITE MOVIE SOUNDTRACK SONG
"Big Empty by Stone Temple Pilots from the soundtrack of The Crow is definitely up there. It was a great movie, and that song really fit into its vibe, contributing to the emotional impact, made even better because it was from a band who, at that time, were really up-and-coming. Of course the death of lead actor Brandon Lee during production helped grant it cult status, but regardless, I think The Crow would have still achieved this feat if the tragedy hadn't have occurred."
FAVOURITE CLUB ANTHEM
"There’s no deliberation here: 50 Cent - In Da Club. What a great fucking song. I’d like to cover it at some point, I'm sure. Great beat, it never gets old – and that’s the key. I was talking with a buddy of mine about TV shows the other day, and we touched on how Seinfeld looks so old that it's now just 'okay', whereas Friends is even fucking better now! Music and TV shows alike, a true sign of greatness is that it gets old, and every time you hear it you want to turn it up. This is no exception."
FAVOURITE WEDDING SONG
"My favourite wedding song is the song I wrote for my wife ahead of our wedding. It’s called Give Me Your Name and I wrote it for one of my other projects/bands, the Dead By Sunrise record I penned. We danced to it on the big day and I have such fond memories of it that I wouldn't pick any other song in the world for this."
FAVOURITE SONG THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS HEARD OF
"While I wouldn't claim that no one else has heard of it, I definitely feel comfortable in saying that this is not the usual track most people would instantly think of when someone mentions them. It’s Limo Wreck by Soundgarden. What I like about it best is that it's fucking awesome! But seriously, it’s on one of the best rock records of all-time, Superunknown, and another it also has a fucking killer vocal. In fact, it's the sort of classic track that makes you want to write a song."
FAVOURITE SONG FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD
"I always remember seeing The Jackson 5 cartoons as a kid, and ABC, that song was the one I’ll associate them with. To grow up with those cartoons and then see Michael Jackson flourish as a star in his own right was pretty cool. So yeah, this one all the way."
FAVOURITE LYRIC FROM A SONG
"You’re nobody until somebody loves you. That title says it all."
FAVOURITE CURRENT SONG
"There are two discs to Arcade Fire’s latest record, Reflektor. I actually own two copies because I left one copy in my wife’s car and wanted to listen to it again so bad that I bought another. That whole first disc is perfection. It’s a real risk from those guys, actually, because it’s so different to what they’d done before - a new vibe, super sexy. It’s important as a band to evolve but it’s also important to show their fans they’re not a one-trick pony. It's terrific."
FAVOURITE SONG FROM YOUR OWN MUSIC
"I’ve always loved Papercut, as that song captures exactly what our band is about. But, on a personal level, I’ll say Breaking The Habit, just because it’s the only song where I’ve actually had to pull my shit together to record it – the lyrics hit me on such a deep level. And I didn’t even write the lyrics, Mike [Shinoda] did, but it felt like he was singing my life, so it made it very difficult for me to perform that song in the studio."
The Hunting Party is out 16 June; the band headline Download on 14 June.
Pre-order the album at Thehuntingparty.linkinpark.com