The suicide of Chester Bennington returns The Neighborhood spotlight to addiction.
The suicide of Chester Bennington returns The Neighborhood spotlight to addiction.
Driving to office, heard this song played on the radio giving the early morning a fresh feel.
Jeff Lynne fronted ELO, which band according to John is son of the I Am Walrus. The band got to see the boys in the studio during the recording of Sgt. Pepper. Longtime Beatles fan, Jeff in 1994 would produce the comeback singles from the group: Free As A Bird and Real Love immaculately cleaning up the tapes left by John
Must have read this a thousand times, but I am still enamored by John’s way of handling Barbara’s questions.
ABOUT THIS INTERVIEW:The September 29th 1980 issue of Newsweek featured an exclusive interview with John Lennon. Newsweek’s conversation with Lennon, appearing in the music section of the magazine, is much shorter in length than his more famous 1980 interview in Playboy just a few months later. However the Newsweek article, entitled ‘The Real John Lennon,’ is an interesting and refreshing read. While there are no topics discussed here that are not covered in the Playboy interview, it is a bit more insight with a slightly different clarifying edge — another welcome glimpse into Lennon’s last year, just months before his death.
Barbara Graustark and John Lennon discuss his five-year break from the music scene, being a househusband, Paul McCartney, Yoko’s influence on the Beatles break-up, and the upcoming ‘Double Fantasy’ album.
Double Fantasy would be released on November 17th 1980. Lennon would be tragically slain by the gunshots of a mentally-disturbed fan on December 8th.
– Jay Spangler, http://www.beatlesinterviews.org
Article ©1980 Newsweek Magazine
In the nine years since the Beatles broke up, John Lennon, their most brilliant and controversial member, has had a turbulent coming of age. After a flurry of post-Beatle albums of wildly uneven quality, a four-year fight with the Immigration Service to stay in the United States, a fifteen-month separation from his wife Yoko Ono, and the birth of their son Sean, Lennon disappeared from public view in 1975. Now on the eve of his 40th birthday, he is reemerging with the most eagerly awaited album of the year. Called ‘Double Fantasy,’ it is a ‘Scenes From A Marriage’ in fourteen songs – seven by Lennon, seven by Ono. Wide-ranging in style – from the rockin’ boogie of Lennon’s ‘(Just Like) Starting Over,’ to Ono’s gospel-tinged ‘Hard Times Are Over,’ from his starry-eyed ‘Beautiful Boy’ to her acid-tongued rock-disco ‘Kiss, Kiss, Kiss’ – the forthcoming album is full of unaffected gusto and is likely to appeal to the broadest tastes.
A few years ago, the couple switched roles: Lennon became a househusband – babysitting and baking bread, while Ono became the family’s business manager. Their real-estate holdings are extensive – five cooperatives in Manhatten’s legendary Dakota apartment house, half a dozen residences scattered from Palm Beach, Fla., to a mountain retreat in upstate New York, and four dairy farms.
Recently Lennon and Ono sat down with Newsweek’s Barbara Graystark for his first major interview in five years. Whippet-thin in Levis and work shirt, smoking French cigarettes and nibbling sushi, the ex-Beatle talked expansively about himself, showing no sign of the inner demons that once haunted his songs.
Q: “Why did you go underground in 1975? Were you tired of making music, or of the business itself?”
JOHN: “It was a bit of both. I’d been under contract since I was 22 and I was always ‘supposed to.’ I was supposed to write a hundred songs by Friday, supposed to have a single out by Saturday, supposed to do this or that. I became an artist because I cherished freedom – I couldn’t fit into a classroom or office. Freedom was the plus for all the minuses of being an oddball! But suddenly I was obliged to the media, obilged to the public. It wasn’t free at all!
I’ve withdrawn many times. Part of me is a monk, and part a performing flea! The fear in the music business is that you don’t exist if you’re not at Xenon with Andy Warhol. As I found out, life doesn’t end when you stop subscribing to Billboard.”
Q: “Why five years?”
JOHN: “If you know your history, it took us a long time to have a live baby. And I wanted to give five solid years to Sean. I hadn’t seen Julian, my first son (by ex-wife Cynthia), grow up at all. And now there’s a 17-year-old man on the phone talkin’ about motorbikes.
I’m an avid reader, mainly history, archeology and anthropology. In other cultures, children don’t leave the mother’s back until 2. I think most schools are prisons – A child’s thing is wide open and to narrow it down and make him compete in the classroom is a joke. I sent Sean to kindergarten. When I realized I was sending him there to get rid of him, I let him come home… If I don’t give him attention at 5, then I’m gonna have to give him double doses of it in his teenage years. It’s owed.”
Q: “Paul McCartney’s theory is that you became a recluse because you’d done everything – but be yourself.”
JOHN: “What the hell does that mean? Paul didn’t know what I was doing – he was as curious as everyone else. It’s ten years since I really communicated with him. I know as much about him as he does about me, which is zilch. About two years ago, he turned up at the door. I said, ‘Look, do you mind ringin’ first? I’ve just had a hard day with the baby. I’m worn out and you’re walkin’ in with a damn guitar!”
Q: “Give me a typical day in the life of John and Yoko.”
JOHN: “Yoko became the breadwinner, taking care of the bankers and deals. And I became the housewife. It was like one of those reversal comedies! I’d say (mincingly), ‘Well, how was it at the office today, dear? Do you want a cocktail? I didn’t get your slippers and your shirts aren’t back from the laundry.’ To all housewives, I say I now understand what you’re screaming about. My life was built around Sean’s meals. ‘Am I limiting his diet too much?’ (The Lennons maintain a macrobiotic lifestyle, eschewing dairy products, liquor and meat.) ‘Is SHE gonna talk business when she comes home from work?’ I’m a rich housewife – but it still involves caring.”
Q: “Yoko, why did you decide to take over as business manager?”
YOKO: “There’s a song by John on the album called ‘Clean-up Time’ – and it really was that for us. Being connected to Apple (the Beatles’ corporation) and all the lawyers and managers who had a piece of us, we weren’t financially independent – we didn’t even know how much money we had. We still don’t! Now we are selling our shares (25 percent) of Apple stock to free our energy for other things. People advised us to invest in stocks and oil but we didn’t believe in it. You have to invest in things you love. Like cows, which are sacred animals in India. Buying houses was a practical decision – John was starting to feel stuck in the Dakota and we get bothered in hotels. Each house that we’ve bought was chosen because it was a landmark that needed restoring.”
Q: “John, how hard was it not to be doing something musical?”
JOHN: “At first, it was very hard. But musically my mind was just a clutter. It was apparent in ‘Walls And Bridges’ (his 1974 solo album), which was the work of a semisick craftsman. There was no inspiration, and it gave off an aura of misery. I couldn’t hear the music for the noise in my own head. By turning away, I began to hear it again. It’s like Newton, who never would have conceived of what the apple falling meant had he not been daydreaming under a tree. That’s what I’m living for… the joy of having the apple fall on my head once every five years.”
Q: “Did you just stop listening to music?”
JOHN: “I listened mostly to classical or Muzak. I’m not interested in other people’s work – only so much as it affects me. I have the great honor of never having been to Studio 54 and I’ve never been to any rock clubs. It’s like asking Picasso, has he been to the museum lately.”
Q: “Why did you decide to record again?”
JOHN: “Because this housewife would like to have a career for a bit! On Oct. 9, I’ll be 40 and Sean will be 5 and I can afford to say ‘Daddy does something else as well.’ He’s not accustomed to it – in five years I hardly picked up a guitar. Last Christmas our neighbors showed him ‘Yellow Submarine’ and he came running in, saying, ‘Daddy, you were singing… were you a Beatle?’ I said, ‘Well, yes. Right.'”
Q: “Why did you collaborate with Yoko on this LP?”
JOHN: “It’s like a play and we’re acting in it. It’s John and Yoko – you can take it or leave it. Otherwise (laughing) it’s cows and cheese, my dear! Being with Yoko makes me whole. I don’t want to sing if she’s not there. We’re like spitiual advisors. When I first got out of the Beatles, I thought, ‘Oh great. I don’t have to listen to Paul and Ringo and George.’ But it’s boring yodeling by yourself in a studio. I don’t need all that space anymore.”
Q: “You’ve come a long way from the man who wrote, at 23, ‘Women should be obscene rather than heard.’ How did this happen?”
JOHN: “I was a working-class macho guy who was used to being served and Yoko didn’t buy that. From the day I met her, she demanded equal time, equal space, equal rights. I said, ‘Don’t expect me to change in any way. Don’t impinge on my space.’ She answered, ‘Then I can’t be here. Because there is no space where you are. Everything revolves around you and I can’t breathe in that atmosphere.’ I’m thankful to her for the education.”
Q: “People have blamed Yoko for wrenching you away from the band and destroying the Beatles. How did it really end?”
JOHN: “I was always waiting for a reason to get out of the Beatles from the day I filmed ‘How I Won The War’ (in 1966). I just didn’t have the guts to do it. The seed was planted when the Beatles stopped touring and I couldn’t deal with not being onstage. But I was too frightened to step out of the palace. That’s what killed (Elvis) Presley. The king is always killed by his courtiers. He is overfed, overindulged, overdrunk to keep him tied to his throne. Most people in the position never wake up. Yoko showed me what it was to be Elvis Beatle, and to be surrounded by sycophant slaves only interested in keeping the situation as it was – a kind of death. And that’s how the Beatles ended – not because she ‘split’ the Beatles, but because she said to me, ‘You’ve got no clothes on.'”
Q: “How do you look back on your political radicalism in the early ’70’s?”
JOHN: “That radicalism was phony, really, because it was out of guilt. I’d always felt guilty that I made money, so I had to give it away or lose it. I don’t mean I was a hypocrite. When I believe, I believe right down to the roots. But being a chameleon, I became whoever I was with. When you stop and think, what the hell was I doing fighting the American Government just because Jerry Rubin couldn’t get what he always wanted – a nice cushy job.”
Q: “Do you ever yearn for the good old days?”
JOHN: “Nah! Whatever made the Beatles the Beatles also made the 60’s the 60’s. And anybody who thinks that if John and Paul got together with George and Ringo, the Beatles would exist, is out of their skulls. The Beatles gave everything they had to give, and more. The four guys who used to be that group can never ever be that group again even if they wanted to be. What if Paul and I got together? It would be boring. Whether George or Ringo joined in is irrelevant because Paul and I created the music. OK? There are many Beatle tracks that I would redo – they were never the way I wanted them to be. But going back to the Beatles would be like going back to school… I was never one for reunions. It’s all over.”
Q: “Of all the new songs, only ‘I’m Losing You’ seems to harbor the famous Lennon demons. How did you come to write it?”
JOHN: “It came out of an overwhelming feeling of loss that went right back to the womb. One night, I couldn’t get through to Yoko on the telephone and I felt completely disconnected… I think that’s what the last five years were all about – to reestablish me for meself. The actual moment of awareness when I remembered who I was came in a room in Hong Kong because Yoko had sent me around the world to be by meself. I hadn’t done anything by meself since I was 20. I didn’t know how to check into a hotel… if someone reads this they’ll think, ‘These bloody popstars!’ They don’t understand the pain of being a freak. Whenever I got nervous about it I took a bath, and in Hong Kong I’d had about 40 baths. I was looking out over the bay when something rang a bell. It was the recognition – ‘My God! This relaxed person is me from way back. HE knew how to do things. It doesn’t rely on any adulation or hit record. Wow!’ So I called Yoko and said, ‘Guess who. It’s me!’
I wandered around Hong Kong at dawn, alone, and it was a thrill. It was rediscovering a feeling that I once had as a youngster walking the mountains of Scotland with an Auntie. The heather, the mist… I thought – aha! THIS is the feeling that makes you write or paint… It was with me all my life! And that’s why I’m free of the Beatles, because I took time to discover that I was John Lennon before the Beatles, and will be after the Beatles. And so be it.”
Well, The Beatles did have 14 No. 1 albums of new materials in seven years by U.S. count. In the UK, there are only 13 studio albums released. But because Capitol Records ‘butchered’ all UK-released albums of the boys, they were able to produce more in the U.S.
Jay-Z is set to break this record.
Jay-Z lands his 14th No. 1 album as 4:44 enters the Billboard 200 in the top spot. Only one other artist in chart history has amassed as many as 14 No. 1 albums. The Beatles have tallied 19. But Jay-Z ties the Beatles in one key respect — most albums of new material that have reached No. 1. All 14 of Jay-Z’s No. 1 albums are collections of new material. The Beatles’ tally of 19 No. 1 albums includes five compilations of vintage recordings — The Beatles/ 1967-1970, Anthology 1, 2, and 3, and the single-disc compilation 1.
4:44 is Jay-Z’s 11th consecutive solo studio album to reach No. 1. (His other three No. 1 albums are an EP with Linkin Park and full-length collabos with R. Kelly and Kanye West.) That’s the longest string of consecutive No. 1 studio albums in chart history (discounting collaborations with other artists).
Jay-Z’s last solo studio album to miss the No. 1 spot was his sophomore release, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, which debuted and peaked at No. 3 in November 1997. It’s extraordinary for an artist to maintain this level of heat for 20 years.
It goes without saying that Jay-Z has amassed more No. 1 albums than any other African-American artist in history. Wanna know who’s in second place? If you combine solo and group recordings, it’s his wife, Beyoncé, who has reached No. 1 eight times — with all six of her solo studio albums plus two albums with Destiny’s Child.
Wanna know who’s in third place? It’s a tie involving Drake (he’s Canadian, but close enough), Janet Jackson, and Kanye West, all of whom have had seven No. 1 albums. I’ve got to mention Michael Jackson, who would have had seven No. 1 albums if Billboard had allowed catalog albums, like his compilation Number Ones, to appear on the Billboard 200 in the summer of 2009. (They do now.)
4:44 moved 262K in equivalent units this week. That includes 174K in traditional album sales.
Technically, 4:44 is in its second week of release. The album was released on June 30 for one week of exclusivity through Tidal. However, Tidal chose not to report data for the album to Nielsen Music for the week ending July 6, so the album didn’t debut on last week’s chart. It was released to most streaming services and retailers on July 7 through Roc Nation.
Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.” is the week’s top new entry on the Hot 100 at No. 23. The title song from his new album debuts at No. 35. The rapper first cracked the top 40 as a lead artist in November 1998 with “Can I Get A…” (featuring Amil and Ja Rule).
Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” (featuring Justin Bieber) logs its 10th week at No. 1. That’s the longest run at No. 1 since Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” reigned for 12 weeks earlier this year.
“Despacito” sold 124K digital copies this week, which puts it on top of Top Digital Songs for the 11th week. That’s the longest run at No. 1 on that chart since the Chainsmokers’ “Closer” (featuring Halsey) had 13 weeks on top in late 2016.
“Despacito” logs its ninth week at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart.
DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” (featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller) rebounds from No. 4 to No. 2 in its fourth week. The song includes a prominent sample from Santana’s “Maria, Maria” (featuring the Product G&B). Thus, this week’s No. 1 hit is by a pair of artists from Puerto Rico and the No. 2 hit samples a smash hit by a group that is led by a musician (Carlos Santana) who was born in Mexico.
DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” (which also features Quavo, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Wayne) dips from No. 2 to No. 3 in its 11th week.
Bruno Mars’s “That’s What I Like” dips from No. 3 to No. 4 in its 26th week. The song hit No. 1.
Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” holds at No. 5 in its 27th week. The song logged 12 weeks at No. 1. It’s the first song in Hot 100 history to spend its first 27 weeks in the top five. Moreover, it’s one of only two songs in Hot 100 history to spend 27 total weeks in the top five. The first was the Chainsmokers’ aforementioned “Closer.”
Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.” holds at No. 6 in its 15th week. The song reached No. 1.
Imagine Dragons’ “Believer” holds at No. 7 in its 23rd week. The song has climbed as high as No. 6.
2 hours ago
Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington died of an apparent suicide by hanging Thursday morning, according to The Associated Press. Police in Palos Verdes Estates, in Los Angeles County told TMZ that the singer’s body had been discovered just before 9 a.m. The singer was 41. A representative confirmed the death to Rolling Stone.
“Shortly after 9 a.m. this morning, we were notified by law enforcement of a death in Palos Verdes Estates,” Brian Elias, chief of operations for the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner, tells Rolling Stone. “We responded to the scene and unfortunately confirmed that Mr. Chester Bennington was deceased at the scene.”
Elias added that the coroner’s department is currently conducting a death investigation, with more information set for release Thursday afternoon.
“Shocked and heartbroken, but it’s true,” Bennington’s fellow Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda said on Twitter. “An official statement will come out as soon as we have one.”
Bennington’s screamed and emotional vocals provided a gritty counterpoint to co-frontman Mike Shinoda’s raps on the group’s nu-metal hits like “In the End” and “One Step Closer.” He sang the poppy melodies on the band’s recent hit “Heavy,” which featured singer Kiiara and reached Number Two on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart and Number 11 on the Top 40. In addition to working with Linkin Park, he also fronted Stone Temple Pilots between 2013 and 2015 and the side project Dead by Sunrise and supergroup Kings of Chaos.
Linkin Park were a breakout hit when they released their debut, Hybrid Theory, in 2000. Its blend of rap, metal and electronic music propelled it to Number Two on Billboard, and the RIAA has subsequently certified it diamond, signifying sales of more than 10 million copies. With the exception of 2014’s The Hunting Party, which debuted at Number Three, each subsequent Linkin Park release would claim the Number One spot. Over the years, they’ve proven themselves to be a malleable act, focusing more on electronic music sometimes and harder rock at others, and even teaming with Jay-Z on the platinum-selling Collision Course EP in 2004 and Steve Aoki on the remix release A Light That Never Comes in 2014. Their most recent LP, One More Light, came out this past May. The band has won two Grammys.
Bennington was born March 20th, 1976 in Phoenix, the son of a police officer. He had a rough childhood and was molested and beaten up by an older friend beginning around age seven. “It destroyed my self-confidence,” he told Metal Hammer. “Like most people, I was too afraid to say anything. I didn’t want people to think I was gay or that I was lying. It was a horrible experience.”
When he was 11, his parents divorced and he was forced to live with his father. He eventually discovered drugs, taking opium, amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine alongside alcohol. “I was on 11 hits of acid a day,” he told the magazine in 2016. “I dropped so much acid I’m surprised I can still speak. I’d smoke a bunch of crack, do a bit of meth and just sit there and freak out. Then I’d smoke opium to come down. I weighed 110 pounds. My mom said I looked like I stepped out of Auschwitz. So I used pot to get off drugs. Every time I’d get a craving, I’d smoke my pot.”
After a gang broke into a friend’s house where he was getting high and pistol-whipped his friends, he ditched drugs in 1992, though addiction would creep back into his life later. He subsequently moved to Los Angeles, where he auditioned for the band that would become Linkin Park.
The band had formed as Xero in Agoura Hills, California in 1996, the brainchild of Shinoda, guitarist Brad Delson, bassist Dave Farrell, drummer Rob Bourdon and turntablist Joe Hahn. After Bennington, who had been fronting the Phoenix alt-rock band Grey Daze, replaced original vocalist Mark Wakefield, who’d left in 1998, Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory lineup was set.
Hybrid Theory came at the peak of the nu-metal explosion and quickly dominated the Billboard chart, thanks in part to heavy MTV airplay. The singles “One Step Closer,” “Crawling” and “In the End” all charted high on the mainstream rock chart, and “In the End” also crossed over to the pop chart, reaching Number Two and becoming gold-certified. “Crawling” earned the band its first Grammy, for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Their 2003 follow-up, Meteora, was also a swift Number One, thanks in part to the success of the platinum single “Numb,” which featured Bennington screaming about feeling turned off to the world. Their success led to a high-profile 2004 collaboration with Jay-Z, Collision Course – another Number One, platinum release that found them fusing their “Papercut” to his “Big Pimpin'” and “One Step Closer” to the rapper’s “99 Problems.” Their mashup of Linkin Park’s “Numb” and Jay-Z’s “Encore” won them a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Performance.
At the time of Linkin Park’s early success, Bennington slipped back into addiction. “The tours we did in the beginning, everybody … was either drinking or doing drugs,” Shinoda once told The Guardian. “I can’t think of any that were sober.” Bennington kicked drugs in 2006, though, and by the late 2000s, he was celebrating his sobriety and using it as fuel for his music. “It’s not cool to be an alcoholic — it’s not cool to go drink and be a dumbass,” he told Spin in 2009. “It’s cool to be a part of recovery. … Most of my work has been a reflection of what I’ve been going through in one way or another.”
Linkin Park’s 2007 album, Minutes to Midnight, found them moving away from the aggression of their earlier nu-metal releases. Co-producer Rick Rubin helped them focus more on classic rock with shades of U2. The risk made for the hits “What I’ve Done,” “Bleed It Out” and “Shadow of the Day,” all of which were certified platinum and multi-platinum.
In 2005, Bennington had put together Dead by Sunrise, a side project of songs that he felt didn’t fit Linkin Park’s style. “They were darker and moodier than anything I’d come up with for the band,” he told Metal Hammer. “So I decided to work on them on my own.” The band’s lineup also featured members of Orgy and the Street Drum Corps, and their debut, 2009’s Out of Ashes, reached Number 29 on the Billboard chart.
Linkin Park continued to blend atmospheric rock with electronics on the Rubin co-produced A Thousand Suns, released in 2010, and Living Things, released two years later. Despite the shift in sound, though, they were able to carry out the unlikely feat of claiming the Number One position on both the mainstream rock and alt-rock charts with 2012’s “Burn It Down,” on which Bennington sang full-throated and clear-voiced.
In 2013, he joined Stone Temple Pilots after the band fired frontman Scott Weiland. He’d previously performed the group’s “Wonderful” with them in 2001 on the Family Values Tour. They put out the EP High Rise that year and toured frequently over the next two years. He decided to leave the band in 2015 to devote his time to Linkin Park and to his family. “I got to create and perform with one of the greatest rock bands of our generation, that had so much influence on me growing up,” he said at the time. “With the amount of time STP deserves, in addition to being in Linkin Park, and with the needs of my family, one of them always seems to fall short.” He later played with STP’s Robert DeLeo again in the Kings of Chaos, a touring supergroup that plays covers; its lineup also featured members of Guns N’ Roses, the Cult, Slipknot and ZZ Top during Bennington’s stint.
Meanwhile, Linkin Park’s 2014 LP The Hunting Party found them veering back toward harder rock to less commercial success. On their most recent album, this year’s One More Light, they were exploring full-on pop. Facing a backlash from some older fans on how Linkin Park had softened its sound since Hybrid Theory, he told an interviewer, “It’s a great record, we love it. Like, move the fuck on.” “Heavy,” which features Bennington trading catchy verses with 22-year-old singer and songwriter Kiiara, had only made it into the middle-half of the pop chart at the time of the singer’s death, though the album had debuted at Number One. The band had recently performed the album’s title track, “One More Light,” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in tribute to Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, who had died of a suicide by hanging earlier this year. “Who cares if one more light goes out,” he sang. “Well, I do.” Linkin Park were slated to kick off a tour in support of
Outside of his main projects, Bennington made guest appearances on songs by Santana, Young Buck, Mindless Self Indulgence, DJ Lethal, Mötley Crüe and Chris Cornell, among others. He also appeared in two Crank movies and in Saw 3D.
Despite all of Linkin Park’s album sales and Bennington’s well-received with Dead by Sunrise and Stone Temple Pilots, he always tried to stay grounded. “The idea that success equals happiness pisses me off,” he told Metal Hammer in 2016. “It’s funny to think that just because you’re successful you’re now immune to the full range of the human experience. But we also realize that we’re not kids any more, we’re not youngsters with this teen angst and this feeling of ‘why does the world piss me off?’ and finding a way to express it. We have had a lot of success and there are a lot of great things going on for us, but there are things that really matter to us. When we talk about lyrical content we can’t just go back to being that angry kid, we need to talk about something that makes sense to who we are today.”
Bennington was married and had six children from two marriages.