What I've Done
|"What I've Done"|
|Single by Linkin Park|
|from the album Minutes To Midnight|
|Working title||Bang Three|
|Released||April 2, 2007|
Guitar Hero: World Tour|
Rock Band 3 (DLC)
|Live debut||March 14, 2007|
|Last played||October 27, 2017|
|Producer(s)||Mike Shinoda, Rick Rubin|
|Linkin Park singles chronology|
"What I've Done" is the sixth track off of Linkin Park's third studio album, Minutes To Midnight. The song was released as the album's lead single on April 2, 2007. The song was used as the main theme for 2007 action film, Transformers. The live version of "What I've Done" from Road To Revolution: Live At Milton Keynes was nominated for "Best Hard Rock Performance" at the 52nd Grammy Awards.
- 1 Background
- 2 Remix
- 3 Tracklist
- 4 Music Video
- 5 Versions
- 6 Live
- 7 Promotion
- 8 Awards and Nominations
- 9 Personnel
- 10 Lyrics
- 11 Gallery
- 12 In Other Media
- 13 Cover Versions
- 14 External Links
- 15 References
- 16 References
"What I've Done" was the last song finished for the album, as revealed by the booklet for Minutes To Midnight, which read "One of the last songs finished for the album, the lyrics for this song were intended to work on many levels, including freedom, art, and death metaphors." The limited edition booklet expanded on that, stating "At the end of over one year in the studio, the band felt that the album was finished. After initial listening, however, they were devastated to hear from friends that the album felt like it was missing a piece—one more song. The band was horrified. Many of the songs on the record had taken months to write, so throwing a new one together that could stand up to the rest was unlikely. To complicate matters, any further writing meant they might miss deadlines that had been set up for album release and touring. In spite of risks, the band decided to take this challenge of character. A little over a week later, the record was officially ready for release with the addition of “What I’ve Done.”"
The original demo was created in Mike Shinoda's home studio, as he explained, "I usually record demos in my house and historically I’ve done demos for 10 years. We cut my vocals on many, many songs and Chester’s vocals on many, many songs at my house. It’s one room and I’ve got basically a small drum kit, a ton of keyboards, a few guitars and basses and a microphone. The drum sample you hear at the beginning of “What I’ve Done” was done in that room; Chester’s vocals for “New Divide,” “What I’ve Done” and a couple of songs from One More Light were done in that room. All my vocals forever, I demoed them there and some of them ended up being keepers."
Chester Bennington described the song as a summation of the whole mentality of Minutes To Midnight in an interview with MTV, stating "Joe [Hahn] came up to Mike and I and asked us to take the whole idea of Minutes to Midnight and apply that to how the band has changed. So, in a way, it’s us saying goodbye to how we used to be. The lyrics in the first verse are ’In this farewell, there is no blood, there is no alibi,’ and right away, you’ll notice that the band sounds different: The drums are much more raw, the guitars are more raw and the vocals aren’t tripled. It’s just us out there … and that’s how Rick wanted it. Basically he told us, ’If it sounds like it could’ve been on the first two records, then we’re not going to work on it.’" Mike Shinoda backed up this statement in an interview with Kerrang!, where the band did a track-by-track analysis of the album. "On the other albums, Brad and I started every song together [separately]. But this was the only song that we wrote together and was the last one we finished. We wanted a song that encapsulated the feel of the whole record and I think this is that song. You're going to get something different out of every time you listen to it."
Brad Delson described the song as a bridge between the old and new sound of Linkin Park. "There are definitely elements to the record that you can identify as Linkin Park, probably the best of which would be our first single, ‘What I’ve Done.’ It’s really in a sense a bridge from where we were to kind of where this record wound up. But each one of the songs that made the album was recorded in a totally different environment, has a totally unique sound, and beyond just the style of the songs we really focused through and through on the content of this record—the lyrics, the melodies. We didn’t work on the style of many of the songs in terms of the arrangements or polishing the context until we knew that the basic ideas in each case were really, really strong."
During the promotion of Minutes To Midnight, Linkin Park used three different instrumental pieces as background music for their site. One of those instrumentals, known as "Minutes To Midnight Clip 1" was revealed by Mike Shinoda to have been a slow, dark improvisation on "What I've Done".
An alternative version of "What I've Done" can be heard playing in the background during the Making Of What I've Done. In this version, Mike sings an extra "na" in the end of the song.
"What I've Done" received two official remixes, both of which were done by Mike Shinoda and both are very similar. The first, dubbed the "Distorted Remix", was released on the "Bleed It Out" single and on the tour edition of Minutes To Midnight. The second, simply titled the "M. Shinoda Remix", was released on LP Underground X: Demos. The latter is the same as the "Distorted Remix", except for the bridge being shortened and the guitar cutting out at the end of quieter part of the track that leads into the final chorus.
|1||What I've Done||Linkin Park||3:29|
|2||Faint (Live)||Linkin Park||2:46|
|3||From The Inside (Live)||Linkin Park||3:31|
|1||What I've Done||Linkin Park||3:29|
|2||Faint (Live)||Linkin Park||2:46|
The music video for "What I've Done" was directed by Joe Hahn and uses stock footage pertaining to world events along with a performance from the band shot at El Mirage, a dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino, California.
During a Fort Minor Militia chat on April 5, 2007, Mike Shinoda explained why the band decided to shot the video in an Californian desert: "we filmed the video for what i've done in el mirage because the desert scene related the lyrics and because it fit in with the themes of the video (the stock footage)"
Later in the chat, he also talked about the meaning behind the video: "most of the things on the minutes midnight album work in layers of meaning. there's no single correct theme for anything, i think. but there are themes that i know are there...for example the video like the album title, is about death and rebirth. you could apply that concept a part of your life, a relationship, even our band...but the video works on a level that's aware of the world and our power build or destroy it."
Australian Alternative Video
An alternate video for the song was released in Australia and follows a woman (played by Emma Mullings) trying to expose a government conspiracy. It was commissioned by WB Australia with no involvement from the band and was originally released on minutestomidnight.com.au, which was the official Australian website for the new album at the time.
Note: Only the date of the very first release of each version is listed.
|What I've Done||Minutes To Midnight
Transformers: The Album
|3:25||2006-2007||May 14, 2007|
|What I've Done||What I've Done||3:28||2006-2007||April 2, 2007||
|Bang Three (What I've Done Original Demo)||LP Underground Eleven||3:30||November 15, 2011||
|What I've Done||Minutes To Midnight Instrumentals
Radio Publishing Instrumentals CD
|What I've Done (Distorted Remix)||Bleed It Out
Minutes To Midnight (Tour Edition)
|3:48||2007||August 17, 2007||
|What I've Done (M.Shinoda Remix)||LP Underground X: Demos||3:40||2007||November 17, 2010||
|What I've Done||Minutes To Midnight (MVI Disc)
What I've Done (Live)
|3:26||March, 2007||May 14, 2007||
|What I've Done (Live At AOL Sessions)||Minutes To Midnight||3:25||March 14, 2007||May 14, 2007||
|What I've Done (Live At Soundcheck)||Minutes To Midnight (Wal-Mart Edition)||3:22||March, 2007||May 14, 2007||
|What I've Done (Live)||Minutes To Midnight (Circuit City Edition)||3:24||March, 2007||May 14, 2007|
|What I've Done||LP Underground 7.0||3:21||August 26, 2007||December 5, 2007||
|What I've Done (29/01/08 LP Live London 2)||Minutes To Midnight (EU Tour Edition)||7:27||January 29, 2008||December 12, 2007||
|What I've Done||Road To Revolution: Live At Milton Keynes||5:01||June 29, 2008||November 21, 2008||
|What I've Done (Live In Madrid)||A Thousand Suns: Puerta De Alcalá||3:32||November 07, 2010||January 25, 2011|
|What I've Done||Live In Madrid||3:32||November 07, 2010||April 1, 2011||
|What I've Done||Live In Red Square||3:37||June 23, 2011||July 21, 2011||
|What I've Done (Live)||Burn It Down
Living Things (AU Tour Edition)
|4:04||July 04, 2011||May 18, 2012||
|What I've Done (Live From New York, 2008)||Minutes To Midnight - Live Around The World||4:58||February 21, 2008||June 12, 2012|
|What I've Done||Live At Admiralspalast Berlin, Germany||June 05, 2012||March 29, 2013||
|What I've Done||Live In Monterrey||September 12, 2012||June 13, 2014||
|What I've Done||One More Light Live||4:33||June 27, 2017||December 15, 2017|
"What I've Done" has been a staple song in Linkin Park's setlists since it's initial debut on the Minutes To Midnight touring cycle. The song debuted on the promotional tour for the album at the end of the main set, with the album transition intro preceding it. On the Minutes To Midnight European Tour, the song was initially moved up to the closing song in the main set before "Bleed It Out" traded positions with it, moving "What I've Done" into the encore. On Projekt Revolution, the band introduced rotating setlists, where "What I've Done" was featured at the end of the main set in Set A and Set B, and in the encore of Set C. In the "hybrid" set, or Set D, "What I've Done" was moved down into a mid-set position, after "Shadow Of The Day". This change translated into performances of Set B for the remainder of the year. In 2008, the band debuted another three sets, with the song gaining a new extended intro entitled the AMBO Intro - in Set R and Set S, the song with its intro opened the first encore, whereas in Set T, the song and its intro opened the show for the first time. The AMBO Intro was scrapped for the initial drafts of the second batch of setlists for 2008: the song, with its album transition intro, was performed at the end of the main set in Set X and Set Z, and opened the show in Set Y with a piano intro by Mike. On Projekt Revolution, the Street Drum Corps began to join the band for the song, with the AMBO Intro returning in all sets. In the new versions of the sets, "What I've Done" opened the first encore in Set X, opened the show in Set Y, and closed the first encore in Set Z. The song was dropped on the first show of the tour in Mansfield, Massachusetts due to time constraints - the only time on the cycle where the song was not performed. In 2009, "What I've Done" was performed mid-set, but the AMBO Intro was still performed.
"What I've Done" was used as the closing song for the first few shows of the A Thousand Suns touring cycle in New York and South America, before "Bleed It Out" returned as the closing song. "What I've Done" was featured as the second-to-last song in the encore for nearly every show of the A Thousand Suns European Tour until the second night in London, England, where the song was third in the set after an opening of "Fallout" and "The Catalyst". This position was held for one more show, when the band played the same opening sequence in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The band introduced two sets on the A Thousand Suns Australian tour, with the song still featured second-to-last in Set A-1. In Set B-1 and Set B-9, the song was featured near the beginning of the show. In 2011, the song experienced much the same fate. In Set A, the song was featured second-to-last in the encore. In Set B and Set C, the song was performed earlier in the set. During the band's summer touring, the song was performed early in the set in Set A, Set B, and Set C, and second-to-last position in the encore in Set D and Set E.
On the Living Things touring cycle, "What I've Done" was performed mid-set in the festival setlist and near the end of the main set in the headlining setlist on the European promotional tour. On the Honda Civic Tour, the song was featured at the end of the main set in Set A and Set B, and initially in the second-to-last spot in Set C before being moved down to the mid-set. Starting in Mexico City, Mexico, Mike began periodically extending the outro of the song and conducting a sing-a-long with the crowd. The band shortened the song at their performance at the iHeartRadio Festival, cutting the first chorus and second verse of it. The song's position was maintained in 2013. At the beginning of 2014, the band performed the song with Mike Einziger from Incubus at the Concert For The Philippines. At the band's honoring at the UCLA Evening Of Environmental Excellence, the song was performed as part of a piano medley, along with "Leave Out All The Rest" and "Shadow Of The Day".
The song saw the least movement of The Hunting Party touring cycle. The song featured a shortened intro, transitioning from the ending of "Until It's Gone", and a new extended guitar solo bridge. For the entirety of 2014, the song was played as the second-to-last song in the setlist, barring one performance: at the band's surprise appearance on the Warped Tour, the band was joined by Ryan Key from Yellowcard to perform the song, which was third-to-last, before "A Place For My Head" and "Bleed It Out". At the band's last performance on The Hunting Party European Tour (the second night in London, England), Brad's guitar technician, Benjamin Chandler, came out after the song concluded and performed a guitar solo. The song did not see much movement in 2015, though the song has some interesting changes at the end of the cycle. The song was performed with a short piano cover of the "Halloween" theme by Mike Myers before the song at the band's show at the Monster Mash. The song was dropped due to time constraints at the show at BlizzCon, and was finally performed with Adrian Young of No Doubt at Relief Live at the end of the touring cycle.
Before the touring for One More Light began, Mike and Chester did a series of promotional shows in Europe leading up to their performance of "Heavy" at the ECHO Awards in Berlin, Germany on April 6. At some of these performances, they performed a new piano version of "What I've Done" similar to the one played during the medley in 2014. This version lacks the bridge, where the guitar solo would normally be. The full version of the song returned when the full band began touring, a new intro being added to the track, while the extended guitar solo bridge remained. Mike would vary when he began playing the piano intro of the song during the intro. At the Hollywood Bowl tribute show, all of Blink-182 performed the song with the band. This performance had the 2017 Intro but not the extended guitar solo.
Although the band eventually went with an extended ticking intro for the song in 2014, the first draft of the set had a fan-made dubstep remix (likely as a placeholder) of "What I've Done" as an intro, transitioning out of the Vice remix of "I'll Be Gone".
Last Updated: August 25, 2018
|Type||Description||First Played||Last Played|
|Intro||Album Transition Intro||April 28, 2007||October 7, 2012|
|Intro||Album Transition Intro Tease||June 17, 2008||June 17, 2008|
|Intro||AMBO Intro||January 16, 2008||August 22, 2009|
|Intro||MS Piano Intro||June 7, 2008||June 27, 2008|
|Intro||Improv. Piano Intro||June 10, 2008||August 19, 2013|
|Intro||Street Drum Corps Intro: Train/Tailpipe||July 18, 2008||August 24, 2008|
|Intro||Short Piano Intro||October 26, 2010||October 26, 2010|
|Intro||Long Album Transition Intro||January 22, 2011||January 22, 2011|
|Intro||Short Ticking Intro||May 24, 2014||November 14, 2015|
|Intro||2017 Intro||May 6, 2017||October 27, 2017|
|Intro||2017 Intro w/ Piano Improv.||June 17, 2017||June 17, 2017|
|Bridge||Ext. Guitar Solo Bridge||May 24, 2014||July 6, 2017|
|Outro||Sing-a-long Outro||August 1, 2007||June 20, 2017|
|Outro||Improv. Keyboard Outro||January 27, 2008||January 27, 2008|
|Outro||Keyboard Outro||January 22, 2011||January 22, 2011|
|Outro||Guitar Solo Outro (performed by Benjamin Chandler)||November 24, 2014||November 24, 2014|
|Alternative||Shortened (No First Verse or Second Chorus)||September 22, 2012||September 22, 2012|
|Alternative||Piano Version (Piano/Vocals Only)||March 24, 2017||March 27, 2017|
Last Updated: December 26, 2015
- Adrian Young (No Doubt)
- Benjamin Chandler (replacing Brad Delson)
- Mike Einziger (Incubus)
- Ryan Key (Yellowcard)
- Street Drum Corps
- Warren Willis (replacing Joe Hahn)
Awards and Nominations
|2007||MTV Video Music Awards||Best Editing in a Video||Nominated|
|2007||MTV Video Music Awards||Best Director||Nominated|
|2007||mtvU Woodie Awards||Viral Woodie||Nominated|
|2007||Kerrang! Awards||Best Video||Nominated|
|2007||Planeta Awards||The Megaplaneta of the Year||Nominated|
|2007||Planeta Awards||Rock Song of the Year||Nominated|
|2007||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Rock Track||Nominated|
|2008||MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Rock Video||Nominated|
|2008||MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Video from a Film||Nominated|
|2008||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Song from a Soundtrack: Transformers: The Album||Nominated|
Live At Milton Keynes
|2010||Grammy Awards||Best Hard Rock Performance||Nominated|
- Chester Bennington
- Mike Shinoda
- Brad Delson
- Dave "Phoenix" Farrell
- Joseph Hahn
- Rob Bourdon
- Produced by Rick Rubin and Mike Shinoda
- Engineers: Dana Neilsen, Andrew Schelps, and Ethan Mates
- Engineer Assisting: Phillip Broussard, Jr.
- Mixing: Neal Avron
- Mixing Assisting: Nicolas Fournier and George Gumbs
- Mastering: Dave Collins
In this farewell
In Other Media
- "What I've Done" is featured in the 2007 film Transformers and was included in its soundtrack album.
- "What I've Done" is featured in the 2008 videogame Guitar Hero World Tour.
- "What I've Done" was released in 2011 as part of a DLC for the 2010 videogame Rock Band 3.
- "What I've Done" was released in 2015 as part of a DLC for the 2013 videogame Rocksmith 2014.
American singer Marié Digby uploaded to her YouTube channel a video of herself playing piano and singing Linkin Park's "What Ive Done" on June 25, 2007. Later that year, a professionally recorded acoustic version of the song was released on her Start Here EP. A video of herself covering "Waiting For The End" was uploaded to her YouTube channel a video on October 10, 2010.
Ukrainian musician Denis Stoff, known for being Make Me Famous and Asking Alexandria's frontman, recorded a cover of "What I've Done" which was uploaded to his YouTube channel in 2015. Asking Alexandria also performed the song acoustically at the Hard Rock Cafe in Detroit during 101 WRIF's Riff Rock Girl Finals Party in May 2016.
On July 30, 2016, "What I've Done" was performed by 130 musicians as part of the second Rocknmob that took place at the Gorky Park in Moscow, Russia. The performance draw the attention of Linkin Park, who shared the video on Facebook.
- What I've Done (Music Video): LPTV | WBR | WMG | MTV | VK
- What I've Done (Moscow 2011) - LPTV
- What I've Done (Rio+Social 2012) - The Live Room
- LOATR/SOTD/WID (UCLA Evening of Environmental Excellence 2014) - UCLA IoES
- Linkin Park Offering Free College Concert In Latest Contest - Blabbermouth.net, March 17, 2008
- Mike Shinoda on New Album 'Post Traumatic': 'My Priority Wasn't to Impress Anybody', October 30, 2018
- MTV, March 2007
- Kerrang!, April 2007
- The Aquarian, April 2007
- What I've Done (Demo), May 15, 2007
- Linkin Park - What I've Done - YouTube, June 25, 2007
- Start Here - EP by Marié Digby on Apple Music
- Waiting For The End - by Linkin Park (Marie Digby cover ) - YouTube, October 10, 2010
- Denis Stoff - What I've Done (Linkin Park cover) - YouTube, April 20, 2015
- Asking Alexandria performs at the WRIF Rock Girl Finals Party - WRIF Rocks Detroit, May 23, 2016
- Rocknmob #2 - What I've Done (Linkin Park) - YouTube, August 13, 2016
- Linkin Park, August 16, 2016