Hybrid Theory
Hybrid theory linkin park
Album Cover

Release Date

October 24, 2000

Recorded At

NRG Recordings in North Hollywood, California




Don Gilmore


  1. Papercut: 3:04
  2. One Step Closer: 2:35
  3. With You: 3:23
  4. Points of Authority: 3:20
  5. Crawling: 3:29
  6. Runaway: 3:04
  7. By Myself: 3:09
  8. In The End: 3:36
  9. A Place for My Head: 3:04
  10. Forgotten: 3:14
  11. Cure for the Itch: 2:37
  12. Pushing Me Away: 3:11

Hybrid Theory is Linkin Park's debut, self titled album. The album was a commercial success, having sold over 10 million units in the United States alone as of 2010, peaking at number two on the Billboard 200, and also reaching high positions on other charts worldwide.

Recorded at NRG Recordings in North Hollywood, California, and produced by Don Gilmore, the album's lyrical themes deal with problems lead vocalist Chester Bennington experienced during his adolescence, including drug abuse and the constant fighting and divorce of his parents. Hybrid Theory takes its title from the previous name of the band.

Four singles were released from the album: "One Step Closer", "Crawling", "Papercut", and "In the End", all of them being responsible for launching Linkin Park into mainstream popularity. While the latter was the most successful of the four, all of the singles in the album remain some of the band's most successful songs to date. Although "Runaway", "Points of Authority", and "My December" from the special edition bonus disc album were not released as singles, they were minor hits on alternative rock radio stations thanks to the success of all of the band's singles and the album. At the 2002 Grammy Awards, Hybrid Theory was nominated for Best Rock Album. The album is listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. It was ranked #11 on Billboard's Hot 200 Albums of the Decade. A special edition of Hybrid Theory was released March 11, 2002, a year and a half after its original pressing. Hybrid Theory has sold 30 million copies worldwide, which makes it the best selling debut album of the 21st century. Linkin Park are scheduled to perform the album in its entirety for the first time at the Download Festival on June 14, 2014.

Live Performance Edit

All the songs from the album have never been played live together at once, but in October 2013, the band revealed that they will be playing the full album at the Download Festival later in 2014. This will be the very first time the band will be playing all the songs together in one show in front of a crowd. Since the Hybrid Theory era, 'Forgotten', has been the only song that hasn't been played live since the Hybrid Theory cycle, the band will bring back the song for one-show only. 'By Myself' hadn't been played live since 2003, and 'Pushing Me Away' hadn't been played live since 2008. The album version to 'Cure For The Itch' hasn't been played live ever, only as it's "Studio Finals" version which was played live sometimes in 2000, setlist version 3 of Projekt Revolution in 2007, and 2011. The band is schedule to play 1 set at the Download Festival.

Writing and Recording Edit

The music that would ultimately become the Hybrid Theory album was first produced by Linkin Park in 1999 as a nine-track demo tape. The band sent this tape to various recording companies and played forty-two different showcases for recording industry representatives, including performances for Los Angeles promoter and impresario, Mike Galaxy's showcase at The Gig on melrose. However, they were initially turned down by most of the major labels and several independent record labels. The band was signed by Warner Bros. Records in 1999, due in large part to the constant recommendations of Jeff Blue, who had joined the label after resigning from Zomba.

Despite initial difficulties in finding a producer willing to take charge of the debut album of a newly signed band, Don Gilmore ultimately agreed to head up the project, with Andy Wallace hired as the mixer. Recording sessions, which mostly involved re-recording the songs off the demo tape, began at NRG Recordings in North Hollywood, California in early 2000 and lasted four weeks. Shinoda's rapping sections in most of the songs were significantly altered from the original, while most choruses remained largely unchanged. Due to the absence of Dave Farrell and Kyle Christener, who took part in the 1999 extended play, the band hired Scott Koziol and Ian Hornbeck as stand-in bassists; Delson also played bass throughout most of the album. The Dust Brothers provided additional beats for the track “With You”.

Bennington and Shinoda wrote the lyrics of Hybrid Theory based in part on early demos with Mark Wakefield. 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."

Composition Edit

The music of Hybrid Theory draws from diverse inspirations. Bennington's singing style is influenced by acts such as Depeche Mode and Stone Temple Pilots, while the riffs and playing techniques of guitarist Brad Delson are modeled after Deftones, Guns N' Roses, U2, and The Smiths. Mike Shinoda's rapping, present in seven tracks, is very close to The Roots' style. The lyrical content of the songs primarily touches upon the problems that Bennington encountered during his childhood, including child abuse, constant and excessive drug and alcohol abuse, the divorce of his parents, isolation, disappointments, and the aftermath feelings of failed relationships.

Artwork Edit

With Hybrid Theory being Linkin Park's first album, Mike Shinoda, who had worked as a graphic designer before becoming a professional musician, has stated that the band had looked through books for inspiration on how to present themselves for the first time. The result was a winged-soldier which Shinoda illustrated himself. According to Chester Bennington, the idea of the soldier with dragonfly wings was to describe the blending of hard and soft musical elements by the use of the jaded looks of the soldier and frail touches of the wings. The cover also features scrambled lyrics of the album's songs within the background, though the lyrics of "One Step Closer" are the most prominent. A different version of the soldier can be seen on some of the album's singles. The cover of Reanimation, a remix album of Hybrid Theory, features a robotic version of the soldier that is similar in-appearance to a mobile suit Gundam, a line of robotic combat machines that are featured in the Gundam Wing anime series, which achieved a high popularity in the United States prior to the album's release.