Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: Linkin Park, “In the End”
13 years ago today, the hard rockers who were recently named 2014’s Biggest Rock Band in the World Right Now by Kerrang! took their first real step toward world domination when they earned their very first #1 on Billboard’s Alternative Rock chart.
Linkin Park found commercial success with their very first album, 2000’s Hybrid Theory, but the success was a gradual one, with the band slowly but surely winning over listeners over the course of the album’s first three singles, “One Step Closer” (released September 28, 2000), “Crawling” (March 1) and “Papercut” (September 2001). Only a few weeks after the release of “Papercut,” though, the decision was made to release “In the End” as a single, but it proved to be a wise move: in addition to topping the Alternative Rock charts, the song shot all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, by far the strongest showing of any of Hybrid Theory’s singles. (“Papercut” hadn’t hit the Hot 10 at all, and neither “One Step Closer” nor “Crawling” had made it out of the 70s.)
As has been the case with many a hit single, it turns out that Linkin Park lead singer’s, Chester Bennington, initially wasn’t a fan of “In the End” and didn’t particularly want it included on the album.
“How wrong could I have possibly been?” Bennington asked rhetorically, an interview with VMusic. “I basically decided at that point I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about, so I leave (picking singles) to other people who are actually talented at somehow picking songs that people are going to like the most. It also gave me a good lesson, as an artist, that I don't necessarily have to only make music, in my band, that I want to listen to. More often than not, something that I like, very few other people like, and something that those people like is something that I kind of like, or don't like at all. And that's cool, it gives me a new appreciation for the songs. But, you know, now I love 'In The End' and I think it's such a great song. I actually see how good of a song it is, it was just hard for me to see it at the time.”