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Song by Linkin Park from the album A Thousand Suns
Working title Pac-Manny / Packmanny
Recorded 2008 - 2010
Length 04:39
Stems Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock (A Thousand Suns)
Akai MPC500 Samples[1]
Neko Keyboard Sounds and Samples[1]
Time signature 4/4
Tempo 135
Key E Minor
Live debut December 13, 2010
Last played January 18, 2015
Writer Linkin Park
Producer Mike Shinoda, Rick Rubin
Label Warner Bros.

A Thousand Suns track listing
  1. The Requiem
  2. The Radiance
  3. Burning In The Skies
  4. Empty Spaces
  5. When They Come For Me
  6. Robot Boy
  7. Jornada Del Muerto
  8. Waiting For The End
  9. Blackout
  10. Wretches And Kings
  11. Wisdom, Justice, And Love
  12. Iridescent
  13. Fallout
  14. The Catalyst
  15. The Messenger

"Blackout" is the ninth track on A Thousand Suns. The song was streamed on Linkin Park's official MySpace page on September 8, 2010 to promote the album prior to the US release.[2][3]


"Blackout" is one of the most unique songs on A Thousand Suns, featuring Chester screaming in scat vocal style above an electronic instrumental. It builds with intense and angry vocals until its glitchy bridge leads into a piano section that builds again to end the song. Bennington's chorus was scratched up and imbued with stutter edits by Hahn, then run through a Thermionic Culture Vulture valve distortion unit and recorded back into the MPC, where each member took turns handplaying different patterns through the pads. "We had about 30 passes of each guy rocking out, and everyone had a different style," says Delson. "We took the best moments and comped them into that cutout vocal solo."[4]

The band had particular trouble on the lyrics and vocal with this track, so they went to Rick Rubin for ideas. Mike explained that the track originally started as nothing but "Chester... screaming gibberish over the crazy dance-style track, and there were no words. And every time we tried to put words to it, the lyrics felt like too left-brained, we were thinking too hard and it didn’t feel like a gut spill to use Rick’s words."[5] He told them to try automatic writing, a "technique he used with Johnny Cash and Neil Young, which basically means you get up on the mic and let the words flow. Going in there and actually doing it was terrifying at first but then the words just started coming out of nowhere, it was really surreal. It added a certain soul to the record and without that, I think it would have been really rigid and digital."[6] This is documented on the LPTV episode "Blackout Freestyle".[7]

In an LPU Chat in August 2011, Chester stated that "Blackout" was the hardest song to write off of the album. He did scat vocals (original melody by making sounds) and it was difficult to put words to it. The song was written in 3 parts, so they had to make sure they fit together.[8][9] He also stated that "Blackout" and "Robot Boy" were some of the most fun to record due to the many elements found in each of them. Jokingly, Chester also said that he regretted recording the song after realizing how hard it would be to perform the song live - he had the same thoughts about "Crawling" and "One Step Closer" on Hybrid Theory. [10]

On September 28, 2010 after A Thousand Suns was released, a different version of "Blackout" was included in FIFA 11. This version of the song is censored, has a different mixed, and has Mike at the end of the song singing, "We've been waiting to collect the things you know" twice instead of changing the second line to "We've been waiting to collect what you've let go". There was no official soundtrack release for the game. This different version of the song was turned in earlier before A Thousand Suns was completed by the band, and is hinted at by the band in the Meeting of A Thousand Suns DVD when discussing approaching deadlines for songs being included in video games.[11]

On September 14, 2020 while listening to the album on his stream, Mike said "I think "Blackout" was tough and eluded us for a little bit. The hardest part about "Blackout" was the vocal was a scat vocal that sounded like what the vocal sounds like now. Here's what we were doing at the time. We were still doing a lot of songs where the lead vocal was a scat lead vocal with no words, a lot of 'da da da' and 'na na na.' On the original vocal, I kept pushing Chester to get weirder and weirder. We both did this but it was easier for me to go in the booth to do that, but I think it was because he was doing it and I was recording it, he felt self-conscious a little bit. So he'd always fall back into 'na na na' and 'la la la.' I was like, 'No dude, really really pretend you’re making words.' So what we tried to do is the screaming thing with that and he really had to let loose. But once he got there, that whole song… imagine someone singing that whole song in gibberish. And then when it was time to make it into lyrics, it always felt like you were going from something so dope and so visceral, every time we tried to write words to it, it got too logical. And we wanted it to be illogical. So then we started listening to the gibberish and saying, 'What words sound like those words?' And that's why the lyrics on that song are so fucking weird, they are super weird just because that's what the grunts and gibberish sounded like to us. We were just trying to make sense of the gibberish. That's a writing technique that Rick Rubin has used on everyone from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Neil Young and Tom Petty. He wasn't the pioneer of that thing, he was just the one who taught us how to do it."[12]

On April 4, 2023 when talking about the Meteora-era track "Fighting Myself", Mike said that like the intro of "Fighting Myself" with his own voice, the "Blackout" intro with Chester's voice "was a nonsensical vocal skat that turned into a loop."


Portuguese DJ and record producer RAC remixed "Blackout" for what he said would be a limited fan club release. The track was never released, but made its way online in 2019 after a promo CD containing the track was discovered. Part of the remix had been used on the A Thousand Horizons art show in 2011.

The song's remix by Renholdër appeared in the film Underworld: Awakening in 2012.

Lyric Video

A lyric video for "Blackout" was created by Keaton Hashimoto (one of the finalists of the "The Catalyst" remix contest) and is featured on Linkin Park's official website.[13] The video was premiered by LPAssociation on September 08, 2010 and was described as "a spectacular mix of A Thousand Suns promotional art and the dazzling effects we've come to love from the LPTV episodes released so far."[14]

About the video, Hashimoto wrote, "I was asked to do a lyric video for one of the new songs from A Thousand Suns titled Blackout. The video features a very glitch-heavy effect, used to mirror not only the chaotic and serene dynamics of the song itself but also the overall approach the band have taken with the new album."[15]


Note: Only the date of the very first release of each version is listed.


Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
Blackout A Thousand Suns 4:39 2008-2010 September 8, 2010
Blackout A Thousand Suns (Clean) 4:39 2008-2010 September 8, 2010
Black Out FIFA 11 4:38 2008-2010 September 28, 2010
  • Censored.
  • Different mix.
  • At the end of the song, Mike sings "We've been waiting to collect the things you know" twice instead of changing the second line to "We've been waiting to collect what you've let go".
  • There was no official soundtrack release for the game.
Blackout A Thousand Suns (AU Album Advance) 2008-2010
  • On September 3, 2010, the Australian website The Music Network posted a review of A Thousand Suns, according to which "Blackout" had the same lyrics as the LPTV episode "Blackout" Freestyle.
  • While this version of the song has never surfaced to the public, it is important noting that it exists and it is out there.
Blackout A Thousand Suns Instrumentals 4:39 2008-2010
  • The CD dates from September 15, 2010.
  • Official instrumental version.


Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
Blackout (Renholdër Remix) Underworld: Awakening (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) 5:03 2011 January 17, 2012
  • Remix by Danny Lohner.
Blackout (RAC Mix) Blackout (RAC Mix) 5:10 2011
  • The CD dates from December 8, 2011.
  • Remix by André Allen Anjos.
Blackout (RAC Instrumental) Blackout (RAC Mix) 5:10 2011
  • The CD dates from December 8, 2011.
  • Remix by André Allen Anjos.
  • Official instrumental version.


Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
Blackout (Live) Burning In The Skies 4:36 February 04, 2011 March 21, 2011
  • Live from Madison Square Garden: New York, NY February 4th, 2011.
  • The back of the single says the track was recorded at the Madison Square Garden in 2010 but Linkin Park didn't play there during that year.
Blackout (Live From Hamburg, 2011) A Thousand Suns - Live Around The World 4:34 December 15, 2010 June 19, 2012
  • Labeled as being from Hamburg 2011, but the recording is in fact from Sydney 2010.
Blackout Live At Admiralspalast Berlin, Germany June 05, 2012 March 29, 2013


When the A Thousand Suns World Tour kicked off in October 2010, Chester stated his wish for Linkin Park to play all of the album live. The band continually soundchecked both "Blackout" and "Burning In The Skies" before the first six shows in Australia in December 2010, finally debuting both live at the seventh show of the tour, which was the second night in Melbourne, Victoria on December 13, 2010. The songs were only played once more on that tour.

When the North American Tour kicked off in January 2011, "Blackout" was in only one setlist for the tour even though Linkin Park debuted all-new setlists to go with their "main" one from 2010. The fourth show of the tour in Detroit, Michigan actually had a rare "New Divide" opener and then "Blackout" to open the encore, but the set was only played once and "Blackout" remained a rarity throughout the tour, just like "Burning In The Skies".

Going into the summer and fall, the setlists were changed again slightly. "Blackout" was moved from the winter "B-13" setlist to the encore of Set A, but the song was only played a few times in Europe, and a solid amount of shows in the fall. However, if a song had to be dropped from a setlist for any reason, it was usually "Blackout", which was dropped for the "Rolling In The Deep" cover in London and for a few other occasions including when Phoenix got sick in Thailand and his tech had to fill in for him. The song, with a remixed ending, was used during the band's presentation of A Thousand Horizons in Japan.

When the Living Things World Tour started, "Blackout" was surprisingly included in the Headline Setlist. It stayed there throughout the European Tour and made it back to the USA for a show in June 2012. Unfortunately, it was replaced with new songs when Honda Civic Tour began and it wasn't played again for the rest of the touring cycle.

On The Hunting Party World Tour, Linkin Park played a shortened instrumental of "Blackout" that transitioned directly into a slower, buildup intro to "Papercut". "Blackout" stayed in the setlist for all of 2014 and for January 2015, before being dropped when the band decided to open with "Papercut" in May 2015.


Last Updated: December 25, 2015

Type Description First Played Last Played
Outro Ext. "Papercut" Beat Outro Transition May 24, 2014 January 18, 2015
Alternative Shortened (Intro and Partial Outro Instrumental Only) May 24, 2014 January 18, 2015

Live Guests

Last Updated: December 25, 2015

  • Benjamin Chandler (replacing Brad Delson)

Awards and Nominations

Year Award Category Status
2011 MTV Game Awards Best Song In A Video Game (FIFA 11) Won




In Other Media

  • An early version of "Blackout" is featured in the 2010 videogame FIFA 11.
  • "Blackout" was released in 2010 as part of a DLC for the 2010 videogame Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock.
  • A remix of "Blackout" by Renholdër is featured in the 2012 film Underworld: Awakening and was included in its soundtrack album.
  • "Blackout" is featured in the 2015 film Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension.

External Links