Breaking The Habit

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"Breaking The Habit"
Single by Linkin Park
from the album Meteora
Working title Drawing
Recorded 2002
Released June 14, 2004
Format CD, DVD
Length 03:16
Stems Rock Band 3 (DLC)
Open Labs SoundSlate Pro
Time signature 4/4
Tempo 200
Key E Minor
Live debut November 15, 2003
Last played July 6, 2017
Writer(s) Linkin Park
Producer(s) Don Gilmore, Linkin Park
Label Warner Bros.
Linkin Park singles chronology

From The Inside (2004) Breaking The Habit (2004) Numb/Encore (2004)

Meteora track listing
  1. Foreword
  2. Don't Stay
  3. Somewhere I Belong
  4. Lying From You
  5. Hit The Floor
  6. Easier To Run
  7. Faint
  8. Figure.09
  9. Breaking The Habit
  10. From The Inside
  11. Nobody's Listening
  12. Session
  13. Numb

"Breaking The Habit" is the ninth song on Linkin Park's sophomore album Meteora. It was released as the fifth and final single from the record on June 14, 2004. It's music video is completely animated in the style of a Japanese anime.


In March 2003, Mike Shinoda did a track-by-track of Meteora for ShoutWeb. About "Breaking The Habit", he said:

""Breaking The Habit" is a really interesting song. It will stand out to a lot of people as a different sound for us. It's very obviously Linkin Park but there are live strings and there is live piano. The guitar doesn't ever hit 11. Basically, the way the song started was as an interlude. It was going to be an instrumental track that was ten minutes long. The guys convinced me to turn it into a full song with verses and choruses and whatnot and add some lyrics. Well, five years ago or something I tried to write this other song that never came together. I had tried it 20 different times and it never worked because it was always cheesy or it was too dark or it was too melodramatic or something and I always ended up scrapping it. When I tried it out on this song and the lyrics were finished in two hours, I couldn't believe it. I mean, this is a song I had been trying to write for five years and it just came together in two hours. It was amazing. It finally came together and I'm really happy about that. I'm proud of that song in a lot of ways. I put a lot of work into it. From the beat, to the strings, to the piano, to the vocals, I put a lot of work in and the guys were really supportive. I had a lot if great suggestions and helpful criticism and that's why the song came out really well for me. It's easy for me to say that I love the song because I wrote so much of it. I just think it's a really powerful song. Chester's performance on it is one of his best.

Lyrically, it's kind of just about getting away from the parts of you that you do not like. It goes into great deal about that type of situation. The things about our lyrics in general is that we spend so much time on them that there is no way I can tell you in conversation any better than the actual lyrics. If I sit here and think up something, that's an off-the-top-of-my-head summary of what those lyrics are about whereas those lyrics took five years to do. So those lyrics are the most accurate depiction of what that's about, not what I can tell you."

On the Meteora booklet, the band wrote, "Mike had been trying to write a song around this lyrical idea for over five years. He tried this theme a number of times, but nothing seemed to do the song justice. Meanwhile, during the process of putting together this album, Mike began working on an interlude, crossing a digitally manipulated beat with strings and piano. Unexpectedly, Brad and Joe suggested that Mike turn the two-minute interlude into a full song. Tentatively titled "Drawing," this piece was extended to three minutes and 16 seconds when Mike took it home to write lyrics, in less than two hours, the lyrics that he had been trying to put together for years fell into place. With some finishing touches, live piano and live strings, the song was finally complete - six years in the making."

In an interview with Yahoo! Launch on October 12, 2003, Mike pointed out the differences between their (at the time two) studio albums saying, "One of the big differences people will notice between Hybrid Theory and Meteora is just simply the use of different instruments, different textures and moods. For example, in "Breaking The Habit" we have live strings and piano, in "Faint" we have live strings. You'll notice Japanese flute here and there, we'll use different samples that will basically create a new mood, create a vibe in the song. The songs still have the Linkin Park sound--they have the dynamics, the heaviness, the things that make it sound like us. But we did try to experiment with different sounds and time signatures and tempos, all these different things just to make it feel a little bit different."

Phoenix said about the song, ""Breaking the Habit" was originally written as an interlude. And Brad suggested to Mike, "Why don’t we try an see where this goes as a song? It sounds promising, different from anything we've ever done." There's element to it that's distinctive and really cool. And so Mike went home, worked on it all night and put these lyrics down that he's been working on for almost five years, but never really got to finish it. The lyrics just being in a situation dealing with change that you want in your life and trying to make it a change that in yourself is a positive change and being able to move forward from that."[1]

Mike added to this story in 2023, saying, "We knew the bar was so high and it was a good energy. It was a fun record to make, it was not negative, it was not stressful. I remember asking guys to "stretch", Joe asked me, I had this demo that was intended to be an electronic instrumental track. Like the Meteora version of "Cure for the Itch." And a few guys said but Joe in particular said, "I think this song needs vocals, it's going to be a good song - it could be a good song." I took it home, I had this idea for a song that I had tried a few times and it didn't work out. It popped into my head and I tried it over the top of this thing and it became "Breaking the Habit." A lot of my stuff that I'd write, it would take many many weeks to get to a place where it sounded like the song. This one immediately sounded like the song. This one, I was playing piano and singing. I turned off the track. I started playing the song and I did it - within a few hours it was done. Sometime you tap into something and it's the song. I feel like "In The End" was that way. To some degree "One More Light" was like that."[2]

Brad said, "Creatively, Breaking the Habit is one of the songs we're most proud of. It's so familiar, but at the same time it's so foreign to anything we've ever done. It really is just a unique animal, and when we approach making the next record, I definitely hope to build on some of the techniques we used for Breaking the Habit. Obviously, we'll retain some of the elements our fans know us and love us for, but we like to push the envelope and challenge ourselves creatively whenever we go and do something new."[3]

In an interview with NYRock in May 2003, Mike also mentioned "Breaking The Habit" and "Faint" as being "faster than any songs we've ever written" and also said "Breaking The Habit" was the only song on the album he wrote all the lyrics on.

According to the "Breaking The Habit" manga, "Meteora's ninth track was the first to be completed in the studio." The string parts were written on keyboard, but the band decided they wanted the strings to be played live. The string arranger and conductor was David Campbell. David took Mike's parts, wrote them out for violins, cellos, etc and had ten people play the parts. The band liked it and overlayed the ten people playing so they sounded like forty people on the final mix.

The scratches on "Breaking The Habit" comes from the same sample which is also used as the basis of the scratching in "Points Of Authority"

Chester Bennington has stated many times over the years that "Breaking The Habit" is his favorite Linkin Park song. During a LPU chat in 2003, he joked saying "I'm almost pissed off that we wrote it because I like it that much. If someone else had written it I could play it all the time but if I do that people will think I am a narcasistic punk." Chester says it is the song that connects with him the most on the emotional side. He felt like Mike was writing about his life and had a hard time recording the song because he would always start crying inside the vocal booth. Despite this, Chester recorded all the vocals to "Breaking The Habit" in a single afternoon.

In 2023, Mike said, "...we never wanted to be part of a genre. We wanted to change the approach, and the idea of genre as a concept. We wrote this song called "Breaking the Habit." We made the label promise we could release it as a single. We were like, "Guys, this is so important for the band to have a song out that has no heavy guitars, no screaming, no metal at all." It’s mostly sampled — programmed drum beats and strings [are] the meat and potatoes of the track — to let people know that we don’t subscribe to this idea of what the band is supposed to sound like."[4]


Linkin Park released a demo for "Breaking The Habit" on the LP Underground 9: Demos album in November 2009, titled "Drawing."

"Drawing" is an instrumental version of "Breaking The Habit" and is likely some form of the instrumental interlude that Mike was intending to do. The track features DJ-style samples growing progressively throughout the song, but it is structured similarly to the final version of the song.

Another demo of the song was released in 2014 as a part of the LP Underground XIV album. This version of the song features Mike on vocals and is similar to the final version of the song lyrically, melodically and instrumentally.

On an LPU exclusive video released on January 30, 2015 and entitled "Track By Track With Brad - 2", Brad Delson spoke about the second demo: "Cool, so this is a really special demo. This is a demo of "Breaking The Habit" from 2002. I think it's called "The Mike Shinoda Version". Mike is a fantastic songwriter and he's really proactive in bringing ideas to the band. He starts a preponderance of our demos and songs on which we all wind up working, and you can actually hear him singing on this one. This song was written really quickly. I think he had this very specific idea in mind and was able to do the music and vocals in a very short matter of time, brought it to Chester, and Chester had a very personal visceral reaction to the lyrical content. And ultimately, you hear Chester singing it, and certainly these lyrics are interestingly vocal authentic to Chester and to Mike who wrote the song. And, again, some of the best songs, you know, happen so fast, and then there's songs we love we take 2 or 3 years to write, so this is definitely one that was just meant to be."


CD Single

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 Breaking The Habit Linkin Park 3:16
2 Crawling (Live at Reading Festival, 2003) Bennington Chester Charles, Bourdon Robert G, Delson Brad, Hahn Joseph, Shinoda Mike 3:30
3 Breaking The Habit (Video) Linkin Park 3:16

DVD Single

No. Title Director(s) Length
1 Breaking The Habit (Video Version) Mr. Hahn 3:16
2 Making Of Breaking The Habit Mark Fiore 17:15
3 Breaking The Habit (5.28.04 3:37 P.M.) Kimo Proudfoot 3:18

Music Video

Mr. Hahn Version

The music video for "Breaking The Habit" was directed by Joe Hahn and was inspired by the fans who tell the band that their music has helped them with their lives. The video illustrates the interconnectivity of individuals struggling to break their respective habits. The emotion that comes from the band's rooftop performance symbolizes the release of tension that's been escalating throughout the story.

Joe originally wrote the video treatment with the intention of it being live-action, but upon meeting with the Japanese animators at GDH, decided that an animated video would be more exciting. "Breaking The Habit" was animated by GDH and led by Kazuto Nakazawa, who created the animation sequence in Kill Bill Vol. 1 and designed the characters for the anime series, "El Hazard." Before returning to Japan to begin the animation, Nakazawa sketched the band as they performed, capturing each band member's facial expressions and unique physicality. This was filmed on December 17 and 28, 2003 in Los Angeles, just after the band's final shows of 2003.

The "Breaking The Habit" production designer, Patrick Tatopoulos, was also production designer for some of Linkin Park's other videos as well as movies such as "I, Robot", "Dark City", "Battlefield Earth" and "Independence Day".

A making of was released as part of the "Breaking The Habit" DVD.

Kimo Proudfoot Version

An alternative video, entitled "Breaking the Habit (5.28.04 3:37 P.M.)", was directed by Kimo Proudfoot and released exclusively on the "Breaking The Habit" DVD. The video shows the band performing in the studio with the album version of the song being played over the footage. This was filmed just before Linkin Park's summer 2004 tour began, during rehearsals.


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


Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
Breaking The Habit Meteora 3:16 2002 March 25, 2003
Breaking The Habit Breaking The Habit

Broken Dreams

Revolutions In Sound: Warner Bros. Records - The First Fifty Years

3:17 2002 June 14, 2004
  • Lacks the transition to "From The Inside".
Breaking The Habit (Album Version) Breaking The Habit (Street Team Sampler) 3:16 2002 2004
  • Additional sample during the very beginning of the intro.
Drawing ("Breaking The Habit" Demo 2002) LP Underground 9.0: Demos 3:32 2002 November 23, 2009
  • Instrumental demo.
  • Cleaner instrumental compared to the LPU XIV demo.
  • The guitar from the LPU XIV demo was re-recorded.
Breaking The Habit (Original Mike 2002 Demo) LP Underground XIV 3:20 2002 November 21, 2014
  • Mike Shinoda on vocals.
  • Different lyrics.
  • Early guitar recording.
Breaking The Habit Meteora - Instrumentals 3:21 2002
  • Official instrumental version.


Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
Breaking The Habit (Live) Projekt Revolution '04 Tour Sampler 5:17 June 06, 2004 June 2004
  • Same recording as the LPU 4.0 version.
  • Part of the speech was cut.
Breaking The Habit (Live) LP Underground 4.0 5:35 June 06, 2004 November 22, 2004
Breaking The Habit LP Underground 5.0 4:40 July 02, 2005 November 21, 2005
  • Recorded live at Live 8 in Philadelphia, PA. July 2, 2005.
Breaking The Habit (Live) LP Underground 6.0 5:21 August 13, 2006 December 5, 2006
  • Recorded live at the Chiba Marina Stadium in Tokyo, Japan on August 13, 2006 at the Summer Sonic Festival.
Breaking The Habit (Live At Soundcheck) Minutes To Midnight (Wal-Mart Edition) 4:21 March, 2007 May 14, 2007
  • Downloadable MP3.
Breaking The Habit Road To Revolution: Live At Milton Keynes 4:24 June 29, 2008 November 21, 2008
  • Filmed at the National Bowl, Milton Keynes June 29, 2008.
Breaking The Habit (Live In Madrid) A Thousand Suns: Puerta De Alcalá 4:00 November 07, 2010 January 25, 2011
Breaking The Habit Live In Madrid 3:59 November 07, 2010 April 1, 2011
Breaking The Habit Live In Red Square 4:16 June 23, 2011 July 21, 2011
  • Released as a prize for the "Iridescent" "Super-Fun Trading Fun-Cards" game. After all six cards were collected, the person could enter the codes of each card at to get a free download of the full show.
Breaking The Habit (Live From Hamburg, 2011) Meteora - Live Around The World 4:16 June 21, 2011 May 31, 2012
Breaking The Habit Live At Admiralspalast Berlin, Germany June 05, 2012 March 29, 2013
Breaking The Habit (Live Rock Am Ring 2004) Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) 5:35 June 06, 2004 April 7, 2023
Breaking The Habit Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) 4:58 June 15, 2004 April 7, 2023
Breaking The Habit Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) 5:34 August 30, 2004 April 7, 2023


"Breaking The Habit" was rehearsed in the beginning of 2003 to be played on the LPU 2003 Tour, but never got its debut until the Smoke Out performance in the winter of 2003, being played after "Runaway" and with a long piano intro, which the song was played with until the end of the Meteora cycle. The short, US holiday radio show run at the end of 2003 had the song after "Somewhere I Belong". During the 2004 North American Tour, "Breaking The Habit" was played after "Nobody's Listening". Once the band embarked on their international tour in the summer of 2004, "Breaking The Habit" was played after "From The Inside", a position it maintained until the end of 2004 with the exception of the performance for MTV Ultimate Mash Up, where the song was played after "Step Up/Nobody's Listening/It's Goin' Down". The song was also given a guitar transition outro into "Numb" on Projekt Revolution 2004. "Breaking The Habit" was included in both shows in 2005, with it being after "Frgt/10" and "Somewhere I Belong", respectively. During the Japan shows in 2006, "Breaking The Habit" closed all four shows, making it the first song to close a full show that wasn't "One Step Closer". It also was played with a new piano outro with Chester singing the chorus, and with a shorter piano intro than what was played previously.

Once the band starting touring in support of Minutes To Midnight, "Breaking The Habit" was played after the piano version of "Pushing Me Away". It stayed in this position until the band started rotating setlists on Projekt Revolution 2007. Sets A, B, and C all had the song being performed after "Pushing Me Away", while set D had the song after "Hands Held High" and the one-off set for Camden had the song after "Cure For The Itch" in the encore. The remaining shows in 2007 kept these positions for the song, but the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas show had the song after "My December", and had a brief "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" intro before Mike played the usual intro for "Breaking The Habit". The 2008 Winter European tour had "Breaking The Habit in new spots in the set. Set R had the song after "Shadow Of The Day", set S had the song after "My December", and set T had the song closing the first encore. "Breaking The Habit" was also given a new outro, with Chester singing the chorus of the song over some of the sampled strings from the song, and the song was given a slightly longer piano intro for this tour, with a bit more improvisation from Mike. The song didn't change positions until the summer European tour, with set X having the song after "The Little Things Give You Away", set Y having the song in the encore after "Pushing Me Away", and set Z having the song mid-set after "Pushing Me Away". The Edgefest show had the song open the show for the first time ever, and it was the only performance of a piano version of "Breaking The Habit" to date. The song maintained these positions until 2009, where the song was played after "Numb".

"Breaking The Habit" was played with less frequency in 2010, with it only being included in the one-off New York City show after "Iridescent", and in sets A-1, A-3, and the Madrid performance after "Numb". During the 2011 North American tour, "Breaking The Habit" was played after "Numb" in every set that it was included in, which were sets A-1, C-5, and C-6. It was added to one performance of set B-13 in New York, and it was moved to after "Shadow Of The Day" at the show in Las Vegas. The song didn't change positions for the rest of the A Thousand Suns cycle.

During the Living Things cycle, "Breaking The Habit" didn't move at all. At every show, it was played after "Waiting For The End". The only instance of the song not being performed after "Waiting For The End" was at a private rehearsal in 2013, where the song was performed after "Lost In The Echo", and "Breaking The Habit" wasn't even going to played initially. It was a fan request, being played instead of "Numb".

"Breaking The Habit" maintained its positions from the Living Things cycle at the first few shows of 2014, being played after "Waiting For The End". Following these shows, the song was dropped at the start of The Hunting Party World Tour, and wasn't played at all until the summer of 2015, when the full version of the US Festival setlist was performed. The song was performed after "New Divide".

"Breaking The Habit" returned to the sets from the start of the One More Light tour, keeping its position after "Waiting For The End." The acapella outro to the song returned for the first time since 2011, and the song stayed virtually unmoved and unchanged for the entire tour. The song was not performed at the Hollywood Bowl tribute show for Chester due to the nature of its lyrics. Mike has said it's unlikely they'll ever play this song again.


Last Updated: August 23, 2018

Type Description First Played Last Played
Intro Long Piano Intro November 15, 2003 September 11, 2004
Intro Piano Intro August 10, 2006 December 8, 2007
Intro Piano Intro w/ Improv January 16, 2008 March 10, 2008
Intro 2009 Intro July 19, 2009 August 22, 2009
Outro Guitar Transition Outro July 23, 2004 September 11, 2004
Outro 2006 Outro August 10, 2006 August 15, 2006
Outro A Cappella Outro w/ Strings January 16, 2008 July 6, 2017

Live Guests

Last Updated: December 26, 2015

  • Benjamin Chandler (replacing Brad Delson)
  • Warren Willis (replacing Joe Hahn)


To promote the "Breaking The Habit" Cine-Manga Comic and DVD, the band held an in-store autograph signing session from 5 to 7 pm at the Best Buy located at 1000 W. North Avenue in Chicago on August 26, 2004.[5][6]

Awards and Nominations

Year Award Category Status
2004 MTV Video Music Awards Viewer's Choice Award Won
2004 MTV Video Music Awards Best Rock Video Nominated
2004 Kerrang! Awards Best Single Nominated
2005 MTV Video Music Awards Japan Best Group Video Won
2005 MTV Video Music Awards Japan Best Rock Video Nominated


Linkin Park

  • Chester Bennington: vocals
  • Rob Bourdon: drums
  • Brad Delson: guitar
  • Joseph Hahn: records, sampling
  • Phoenix: bass
  • Mike Shinoda: emcee, vocals, sampling

Additional Musicians

  • Dave Cambell: string arrangements
  • Joel Derouin, Charlie Bisharat, Alyssa Park, Sara Parkins, Michelle Richards, Mark Robertson: violins
  • Evan Wilson, Bob Becker: violas
  • Larry Corbett, Dan Smith: celli


Track 1

  • Produced by Don Gilmore and Linkin Park
  • Mixed by Andy Wallace
  • Strings Arranged by Mike Shinoda and Dave Campbell
  • Taken From The Linkin Park Album "Meteora"

Track 2

  • Recorded at the Reading Festival, 2003
  • Audio Engineer: Will Shapland
  • Producer: Geoff Foulke

Breaking The Habit Video

  • Directed by Joe Hahn


Breaking The Habit (Video Version)

  • Director: Mr. Hahn
  • Producer: Matt Caltabiano
  • Executive Producer: Janet Haase
  • Production Company: Villains
  • Head of Production: Joby Bamhart
  • DP: Jim Hawkinson
  • Editor: Mario Mares
  • Telecine: Dave Hussey
  • Animation: Nakazawa/GDH

Making Of Breaking The Habit

  • Director: Mark Fiore
  • Producer: Matt Caltabiano
  • Editor: Mario Mares
  • Associate Producer: Mishy Martin
  • Online Artist: Michael Forrest
  • Assistant Editor: Carlos Diaz
  • Interviewed and Filmed by Mark Fiore
  • Additional Footage: Jeremy Kline

Breaking The Habit (5.28.04 3:37 P.M.)

  • Director: Kimo Proudfoot
  • Producer: Jasper Thomlinson
  • D.P.: Richard Henkels
  • Editor: Mario Mares
  • Executive Producer: Janet Haase
  • Head of Production: Joby Bamhart
  • Production Coordinators: Eri "Noggle" Noguchi & Adam Baxter
  • Production Company: Villains
  • Colorist: Dave Hussey
  • Camera OP.: Mike Norman aka Mike Mike
  • Camera OP.: Roy Muir
  • Camera OP.: Mark Fiore



In Other Media

  • "Breaking The Habit" was released in 2012 as part of a DLC for the 2010 videogame Rock Band 3.

External Links