We may have lost Chester Bennington on July 20th, 2017, but his legacy looms large. His original music in Linkin Park, Dead by Sunrise and Stone Temple Pilots touched millions of fans, yet the singer also excelled when interpreting other artists’ compositions. Bennington covered many songs over his all-too-brief time with us — putting his distinctive spin on cuts by everyone from Pantera to Leonard Cohen. Below, are five of his best. R.I.P.
Nine Inch Nails – “Wish”
Considering Linkin Park’s own mix of organic rock and electronic music, it’s no surprise that Nine Inch Nails would be a major influence. In 2004 at Rock am Ring, Bennington and Co. tore through a raging rendition of NIN’s “Wish” and the singer more than matched the vitriol in Trent Reznor’s voice.
Pantera – “Walk”
Pantera’s “Walk” is a goddamn metal classic, which makes it the perfect song to cover at Ozzfest. Avenged Sevenfold knew that, and before them, so did Bennington. In 2001, he joined Disturbed to take on the Cowboys from Hell’s stomping cut and showed off the gritty, burly side of his expansive vocal wide.
Led Zeppelin – “Whole Lotta Love”
Young Robert Plant is one the pinnacles of rock & roll vocals, and one that Bennington was unafraid of trying to summit, frequently covering Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” For instance, in 2008, the Linkin Park singer popped up with Slash and A-list supergroup Camp Freddy for this high-energy run-through. His pipes shine bright.
Temple of the Dog – “Hunger Strike”
Chris Cornell was not only one of Bennington’s biggest influences as a vocalist, but also a good friend and frequent tour mate. They often teamed up to cover each other’s songs, as when the Linkin Park vocalist jumped onstage with the grunge icon to sing the Eddie Vedder parts on Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike.” The result was pure musical magic.
Leonard Cohen – “Hallelujah”
Cornell’s death hit Bennington hard, and all his love for his lost friend and grief at his sudden passing came through at the Soundgarden frontman’s funeral on May 26th, 2017. There, Bennington and his Linkin Park bandmate Brad Delson to perform Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in tribute to Cornell, and, considering the tragic circumstances, it might stand as the singer’s most poignant and powerful cover ever.