The band saw its beginnings in emcee/vocalist Mike Shinoda's small bedroom studio, where he and Delson recorded the band's first material in 1996. The two had attended high school together, where they met the band's drummer, Rob Bourdon. Shinoda hooked up with DJ Joseph Hahn while studying illustration at Art Center College in Pasadena. Meanwhile, attending UCLA, Delson shared an apartment with bassist Phoenix, who left the band after college and returned a year later. At this point, they named themselves Xero and recorded several demo tracks. They never got signed, and the project floundered. Then Shinoda decided to hire a vocalist, and put out an ad. They got Chester Bennington, a transplanted Arizona native who started making records when he was 16. "When I was two, I used to run around singing Foreigner songs - there's tapes of me doing that... since I learned how to talk I've been telling everybody I was gonna grow up to be a singer." laughs Bennington.
The band called itself Hybrid Theory after the addition of Bennington (the idea being that they were a hybrid of rock and rap), however, due to a copyright issue with a band called Hybrid, they were forced to change their name. Some discarded ideas (serious or not) were Clear (the band's favorite), Probing Lagers (which they thought was the lamest), Ten PM Stocker (because they would record every night at 10 pm at a place on Stocker Street) and Platinum Lotus Foundation. Eventually, they settled on Lincoln Park, suggested by Bennington because after band practice he would have to drive past there to get home. The domain name LincolnPark.com (http://www.lincolnpark.com) was taken and would be too expensive to buy, so they changed the spelling to Linkin Park and took from that their band name.
After being signed to Warner Brothers in 1999 their first album, Hybrid Theory, was released in 2000. It was the top-selling album in the United States and New Zealand in 2001, with the hit singles "One Step Closer", "Crawling", "Papercut", "In The End" and "Points of Authority". The album is notable for its absence of profanity, in contrast to many other nu metal bands' songs.
Linkin Park were part of the Ozzfest in 2001, touring along side Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Papa Roach, and Disturbed. Linkin Park have also created their own tour - Projekt: Revolution, and on it have toured with Cypress Hill, Adema, DJ Z-Trip Xzibit, Mudvayne and Blindside.
In 2002, they released a remix album of their Hybrid Theory album, called Reanimation, as well as releasing a remix version of their song, "Points Of Authority".
In 2003 their new studio album was released, titled Meteora, which debuted at #1 in the US and UK, and #2 in Australia. It contained the singles, "Somewhere I Belong", "Faint", "Numb", "From The Inside" and "Breaking The Habit". Later in the year, they joined forces with fellow nu-metal band Limp Bizkit and Metallica for the Summer Sanitarium Tour 2003. From this tour, Linkin Park released a new CD/DVD set called Live in Texas. This set contains tracks from their three previous records, and was filmed on location at their Summer Sanitarium performances in Dallas and Houston, Texas .
Currently 2004, Linkin Park is touring with Snoop Dogg, The Used, Korn, and Less Than Jake on the main stage, and Ghostface, Funeral For A Friend, M.O.P., and Downset on the second stage as part of Projekt Revolution 2004.