Speaking to US media personality Howard Stern, Shinoda recalls that he wrote the song during an overnight session in a Los Angeles rehearsal room, with “junkies and prostitutes” outside. The song became the fourth and final single from the LA band’s phenomenally successful Hybrid Theory album, becoming Linkin Park’s highest-charting single in the US, where it peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. In The End remains the band’s second-highest charting single in the UK, where it reached number 8.
In conversation with Howard Stern, Shinoda says that he was given special permission to remain overnight in the rehearsal studio on Hollywood and Vine, because he wanted to spend more time with the music.
“My lyrics on the first version were different,” Shinoda recalls. “But by the end of that night I had written the words to the chorus. The next day I played it for our drummer [Rob Bourdon]… and he was like, ‘Dude, this is the song that we’ve been waiting for, this is the best song we’ve got’.”
“It didn’t feel big to me, it didn’t feel like a hit song,” Shinoda admits. “I wouldn’t know what a hit song felt like, I was too young. I was feeling despondent, like, we’re doing all this stuff, we’re trying to realise some kind of identity, or some kind of meaning, and it’s not working.”
Stern then interjects to say, “You know what blows my mind too? You bring it to Chester and Chester goes, ‘We’re not putting this on the album, this is not a good song’.”
“He didn’t hate it,” laughs Shinoda. “No, no, no, no. That’s actually a misconception. Some people think that he hated the song. He liked the song, he just loved really heavy stuff, and so when people were like, ‘This should be a single’, he was like, [shrugs], ‘Ah, whatever!’ It’s not the one that he would have chosen.”
“He was born for this,” Shinoda adds.
Watch the clip below:
Elsewhere in the interview, Shinoda discusses the emotional impact of losing his bandmate, admitting that anger was one of the initial reactions he experienced following Bennington taking his own life in 2017.
Howard Stern had suggested that he’d be “angry” if he’d experienced losing a bandmate in the manner than Shinoda has.
“There’s points where I felt that way,” Shinoda agrees. “I’m sure for other people, it was the same. Even fans, too, by the way. And that’s natural, that’s normal, that’s, like, one of the stages of grief, right? Anger’s in there.”