Linkin Park has made its 2000 debut album, Hybrid Theory, available as a free download via Google Play. The offer is available to U.S. customers only and ends on March 18th. The band said in a statement, “Our first album, Hybrid Theory, was made with all the love, passion, and naïveté that an artist can give to their first recordings. We are humbled and grateful that it has been embraced so widely, and we still find it hard to believe it became the biggest-selling rock album of the century. As a thank you to our fans, we’ve partnered with Google Play to give you Hybrid Theory for free.”

  • Hybrid Theory — the band’s original name before it was changed for legal reasons — was issued in October 2000 and was a breakout success for the group, which had formed in 1996 and had played the Los Angeles club scene for several years.
  • The album yielded four massive hit singles — “One Step Closer”, “Crawling”, “Papercut” and “In The End” — while going on to become the highest selling debut of the 2000s, moving more than 10 million copies in the U.S. alone.
  • The band toured relentlessly for two years behind the disc. Singer Chester Bennington told us that Linkin Park was always willing to work hard: [“Any success story that you’ve ever heard about is the willingness to just put everything you have into it. And that’s something that, I think, this band has been blessed with. There’s six people in this band and to find that many guys that can get along creatively and write songs together and tour together and play and accomplish the things we’ve done without any problems, you know, is something pretty special.”] SOUNDCUE (:25 OC: . . . something pretty special.)
  • Linkin Park is currently writing its seventh studio album, which is likely to arrive later this year and will follow up 2014’s The Hunting Party. That disc found the band returning to its rock roots after experimenting with electronic sounds on its two previous efforts.

CHECK IT OUT: Grab your free download of Hybrid Theory here

FAST FACTS:

  • The roots of Linkin Park went back to the high school friendship of vocalist and hip-hop fan Mike Shinoda and guitarist and heavy rock devotee Brad Delson.
  • The pair formed a band named Xero with drummer Rob Bourdon, turntablist Joe Hahn, bassist Dave “Phoenix” Farrell and vocalist Mark Wakefield. But the group threatened to crumble when it parted ways with Wakefield and Farrell got a temporary gig with a touring act.
  • Jeff Blue, vice president of Zomba Music, was interested in the band and helped introduce them to a Phoenix-based vocalist named Chester Bennington. Bennington recorded vocal tracks for two demos and became co-lead singer after a successful audition just days later.
  • Xero initially renamed themselves Hybrid Theory, but legal issues with another act using the name Hybrid led them to adopt Linkin Park as their new name, keeping Hybrid Theory for the title of their debut disc.