Could Have Been

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"Could Have Been"
Hybrid Theory 20th Anniversary Edition cover.jpg
Song by Linkin Park from the album Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition)
Recorded 1999
Released October 9, 2020
Format Digital, CD
Length 4:37
Stems Akai MPC 1000
Writer Chester Bennington, Brad Delson, Mike Shinoda
Producer Mike Shinoda

Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition) track listing
  • Forgotten Demos:
  1. Dialate (Xero Demo)
  2. Pictureboard
  3. She Couldn't
  4. Could Have Been
  5. Reading My Eyes (Xero Demo)
  6. Rhinestone (Xero Demo)
  7. Esaul (Xero Demo)
  8. Stick N Move (Demo)
  9. Carousel (Demo)
  10. Points Of Authority (Demo)
  11. Crawling (Demo)
  12. SuperXero (By Myself Demo)

"Could Have Been" is a song from the Hybrid Theory recording sessions that is included in the Hybrid Theory 20th Anniversary release. The song was debuted on SiriusXM's "Turbo" (channel 41) on October 5, 2020 when it was temporarily converted into "Linkin Park Radio" to celebrate the anniversary of the album.[1][2]

Background

"Could Have Been" was in the very first demo recorded with Chester Bennington in early May 1999, soon after the band changed their name to Hybrid Theory. Jeff Blue describes it in his One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park book: ""Could Have Been" started with Chester singing in a beautifully tortured voice accompanied by a pretty acoustic guitar and simple bass part, followed by a solid electric guitar riff. Mike blasted in with his rap while Chester accented background parts. Chester's chorus again failed to have a good hook. I had pushed for Chester, and he seemed to be the weakest link in these two songs. This was not the magic I had hoped for, and the guys could see it on my face. At the end of the song, a random bass line, à la Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, raced in at breakneck speed, and although it didn't fit whatsoever, I was intrigued." He completes saying it seemed the band was having a hard time finding the right blend.[3]

Mike Shinoda said that the band got the permission of Kyle Christener, who performs the slap bass on the song, in order to release the track on the Hybrid Theory 20th Anniversary release.

When questioned about the song on Twitch on October 15, 2020, Mike said: So this off of HybridTheory20. This is an old, this is when Chester first joined the band. So that's just live, that's live guitar mic'ed up, MPC for all the rhythm tracks, and then bass through like a bass pod emulator like, a little like laptop one I think. We were just using an SM58 mic. Yeah, this is not live drums. This is MPC drums. Yeah, this is an early Chester, like it's an early Chester demo. We're playing around with the back and forth. So I think this is the moment the crazy bass stuff begin, right? Yes, so this is when we first tried out this guy Kyle as a bass player. Dave had left. This is Kyle at the end. Like, he was real... he loved like Primus and like slap bass stuff so he was gnarly. He loved all that, like, fast slap bass stuff. So I thought like 'let's give him a bass solo spot.' Yeah, and then, yeah, that solo is Kyle. That was interesting. I actually thought we weren't gonna be able to put this track on the HybridTheory20 box set because it was, yeah, cause like we haven't talked to Kyle that long so I was like 'I don't know how we're gonna track that guy down.' Like 'good luck.' And I didn't know if he would approve it. Like he'd might be like 'give me all the publishing.' Like 'I wanna 100% of the publishing or else you can't have the song.' And he was apparently, I mean, I have to imagine he was cool because it all worked out fine. I actually didn't talk to him. Yeah, that was that era. Like, it was very much in transition and Chester was like pretty new in the band.[4]

He elaborated a few days later about the lyrics, "The song came later, after Mark. I think the word in the chorus is "wrong." When you're demoing stuff, sometimes you sing things that are placeholders. What would happen is, either I would sing something or Chester would sing something, and in the back of my head I'm like, "I might come back later and rewrite this, but for the time being, leave it the way it is" because I want to keep the momentum going and keep working on the rest of the song."[5]

Versions

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

Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
Could Have Been Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition) 4:37 May 1999 October 9, 2020

Lyrics

References