One Step Closer

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"One Step Closer"
Single by Linkin Park
from the album Hybrid Theory
B-side My December, High Voltage
Working title Plaster
Recorded 2000
Released September 28, 2000 (US)
January 15, 2001 (UK)
Format CD, Vinyl, Cassette
Length 02:39
Stems Rock Band 2
"Parts" CD
Time signature 4/4
Tempo 95
Key C# Minor
Live debut Unknown
Last played October 27, 2017
Writer(s) Brad Delson, Chester Bennington, Joseph Hahn, Mike Shinoda
Producer(s) Don Gilmore
Label Warner Bros.
Linkin Park singles chronology

One Step Closer (2000) Crawling (2001)

Hybrid Theory track listing
  1. Papercut
  2. One Step Closer
  3. With You
  4. Points Of Authority
  5. Crawling
  6. Runaway
  7. By Myself
  8. In The End
  9. A Place For My Head
  10. Forgotten
  11. Cure For The Itch
  12. Pushing Me Away

"One Step Closer" is the second track on the album Hybrid Theory. It was the album's first single and Linkin Park's first single overall. The single was released on September 28, 2000 and immediately was picked up by rock radio, getting massive airplay and getting Linkin Park nationwide recognition. It has gone on to become one of Linkin Park's biggest songs ever.

Just after Linkin Park went to Europe for the first time in early January 2001, the band released the single there on January 15, 2001 with their first two true b-sides, "My December" and Mike's remix of "High Voltage" (commonly referred to as the "Reprise Version"). Mike and Chester mentioned both songs as being b-sides to "One Step Closer" at their headlining show at London's Docklands Arena that September.


In Jeff Blue's book "One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park", he explained that recording for Hybrid Theory began on March 7, 2000 at NRG Studios. The first week of March, Mike and Brad went to Jeff's office with a two track demo of new tracks they were working on. The first song was "Plaster" without a bridge and the second song was a very rough beat and guitar demo of "Papercut." When Jeff went to the studio in late April, the band presented him with an updated version of "Plaster" with the "shut up" bridge. Don Gilmore, the producer, explained to Jeff, "We built this fort for Chester to sing in. He destroyed the shit out of it." Brian Gardner mastered/sequenced Hybrid Theory on July 6th. He noticed they had songs with non-lyrical titles and thought it might be a good idea to change a couple of them. Plaster had its title changed the same day after a phone call.[1]

In a ShoutWeb interview in October 2000, Mike said, "Yes, "Plaster" was the working title. "One Step Closer" was maybe a little bit more descriptive. I actually wrote that and a bunch of people went "uh... I don't know". Even I went "ugh" and I thought for a minute that it wasn't a good idea to write that song and it sounded kind of bad but then we just went full speed ahead and said screw it. So far it's become one of the more memorable parts of the album. We're happy that people have something like that to hold on to as far as remembering. The song is generally about being at the end of your rope. It's very descriptive and I think that's why people gravitate towards it. It's a very self-descriptive song and it's easy to understand and probably very easy to relate to."[2]

Chester told No Cover Magazine in October 2000, "The real thing about that song is we were making the recorded and Brad just started playing a song and he was like, 'I think I just wrote the single.'"[3] Brad explained, "We were sitting like in an underground parking garage, doing some early photoshoot, but not a real photoshoot, just someone we knew took pictures, we thought it would be cool to do like a 'photoshoot'. I was just bored, I was sitting there, messing around with the guitar, and the guitar is in Drop D, so... Normally the low guitar string is a E, the third string is a D, it was fashionable back then lower the bottom string to a D so it was an octave. So just messing around in that tuning, with the harmonic, and the open string and the harmonic, and the bounce to it, it's probably my favorite riff I've ever come up with. What's cool is the riff in the intro plays straight the whole song, really. I was amazed how modern that song still sounds. The mix of it, the sonic presentation of it, just sounded amazing to it. And I'm used to hearing it live, so I kinda forgot what it sounded like. I mean, it sounds good live too, but I haven't heard the record, the recorded version of it in a while, and I just thought 'Wow! This is really heavy but it's also really melodic'. A lot of electronic information, sounds in that mix. It's a very cool song."[4]

Brad in a Yahoo chat on on November 30, 2000 said, "The response to "One Step Closer" has been really overwhelming in a good way. We hear stories all the time of people who seem to have been really moved by the song, and in that regard I think it was an excellent choice for us to meet the world. Even better would be for people to actually get our full record - because even though "OSC" is a really solid singular track, if people listen to the entire record they will get an idea of what we're trying to do musically and creatively. And that's just starting to happen. We're just starting to get feedback from people who have heard the whole thing."[5]

Rolling Stone talked with Chester in April 2002 about the song. He stated, "It is hard for me to say which tracks on this record are the most powerful as my opinion was so off on the last one. I would never have thought One Step Closer would have been as big as it was. I didn’t even want that on the album! I thought it was weak in comparison to Crawling, In the End, Pushing Me Away, and Points of Authority. Those were the songs that I thought had set the standard for the [first] album, and viewed One Step Closer as underneath that bar. I thought that song was ignorant in a certain way." He later echoed this statements at the 2006 Club Tattoo Anniversary Party, when he said (somewhat drunkenly) that he thought "One Step Closer" and "In The End" were "piles of shit" and should not have made it on Hybrid Theory.[6]

About the song's composition, Mike told Kerrang! on January 16, 2008, "This was written in my apartment. The music came together quickly but the lyrics took a few tries. I wrote 'Shut Up' as a rough example for Chester to scream and we kept that lyric. I remember thinking that was a great calling-card song. It said, 'Hello, we are going to crush you.'" His mom thought the bridge was funny because "shut up" was a "bad word" in their house when he was a kid.[7]

Producer Don Gilmore recalled when they recorded the bridge, "Back then, I would build kind of a little cube for the singers, to take the standing waves out of the room when the microphone was very dry and dead-sounding, almost like a little fort or enclosure for him to be inside. And they were working on "One Step Closer" -- the song was written in the studio -- they were working on the riff and they were writing the lyrics and those were flowing out nicely. And then it was time to sing. And Chester sings the whole song, but then we have the bridge, the breakdown in the middle of the song -- the "Shut up when I'm talking to you" part -- and there was a lot of going back and forth, and they couldn't really find what they wanted to say. There were different lyrics written, we were saying maybe it could be a musical section, and then Mike and Chester came in with this and Chester went out and sang it and it was just overpowering. He knocked the walls down in the little fort. When he sang it, he just literally destroyed the whole thing and almost broke the microphone. He was just out of his mind. And the rest is history."[8]

Chester told KROQ's Kevin and Bean on September 7, 2010, "There are definitely moments on every record where at the end I go "why... did I... do that?", you know? Crawling was that one for me on Hybrid Theory. One Step Closer would hurt but it was easier to sing, and on this one Blackout was that song and I was just sitting going "I don't know what I'm gonna to do to get through this one track every single night", you know? And now I'm gonna have to do all 3 of those freaking songs in the set every single day."

And finally, Chester's interview with Kerrang! on January 29, 2011 had the following comments, "When we were recording it, (producer) Don Gilmore was really drilling me and Mike (Shinoda) about lyrics, and it had gotten to the point where we had rewritten some songs 30 times! I remember walking into the control room, handing Don the lyrics and he grabbed them, passed them in front of his face without even looking, handed them back to me, and told me to do it again. I lost my fucking mind, thinking, 'This guy's a fucking maniac!' But that kind of inspired the lyrics - 'I cannot take this anymore/I'm saying everything I've said before/ All these words make no sense,' and the chorus, 'Everything you say to me takes me one step closer to the edge.' - it all came from that frustration. So I guess in the end he inspired me the way he wanted to."[9]

On the original promotional CD for "One Step Closer", only Brad Delson, Chester Bennington, Joe Hahn and Mike Shinoda are credited for the song, excluding Rob Bourdon.[10]


Due to Phoenix being out of the band at this time (1999 to October 2000) to tour with The Snax, he did not record bass on any songs on the Hybrid Theory EP or Hybrid Theory. Touring bassist Scott Koziol recorded the bass on "One Step Closer", the only song he recorded bass for on the album.


On February 11, 2008, LPLive, LPAssociation, LPFuse and LPProjekt released the first circulating demo of "One Step Closer", titled "Plaster." It was mixed by David Kahne and labeled mix 1 of 4 on the promo CD along with a note that said "June 2, 2000, NOT FINAL MIX, NOT MASTERED".

David Kahne commented on the earliest demos of "One Step Closer" saying, "I think the vocals were different, but I don't know about the tracks, etc. It seems like I remember Chester singing more on the song. But don't quote me..." and added that he "did something for the band before they got the big deal; to help out."[11] His mix was done at Quad Studios in New York over Memorial Day weekend. According to Jeff Blue, Kahne promised he wouldn't charge the band for studio time if they didn't like the mix but charged them for $4,000 after they decided to go with Andy Wallace.[12]

Mike saw the post and responded at length on his blog:

"a few weeks ago, one of our top LP fan sites, LP association, posted an old demo version of one step closer, back when it was still called “plaster.” they did a piece on the article which seemed to be searching for facts and trying to figure out the authenticity of the recording. i heard it, and i thought i’d try to help out.

the track found on their link is actually a rough of the song in its final stages, after we had finished all the recording, but before a final mix. we were trying to decide who should mix the album, and we had our hearts set on andy wallace. our A&R guy’s boss at WB was david kahne.

according to our A&R guy at the time: david was one of the people who wasn’t 100% impressed with our band and our sound, and wanted to take a crack at mixing this song in order to improve things (and obviously try to convince us to let him mix the record). this may or may not be true, but that’s what we were told. obviously, david did a good job (the lpassociation mp3 is his mix)…but we decided to stick with our gut and go with andy. we had a feeling that andy, who mixed nirvana’s “nevermind,” would be a better fit for us.

some of the differences you can hear between “plaster” and the final album mix (by andy wallace)…

the main things that i remember sticking out to me when i first heard it was that david’s mix made the verses sound thick (because of the low end) and therefore the choruses lost a little bit of their punch.

some samples also stood out. the camera shutter-ish samples you hear in david’s mix are actually in the final andy wallace mix as well, but they’re mixed quieter (and thinner, i think). we liked them quieter in andy’s mix because they put more emphasis on the groove of rob’s drums.

finally, a deciding factor for brad and i against david’s mix was the edit to the “shut up” stuff–putting it in the intro. it made it sound like a remix, and ruined the surprise of the “shut up” coming in during the bridge (our thought was: if you’ve already heard that vocal part, the bridge packs less of a punch. it ruined the climax). that made me feel like we didn’t really see eye-to-eye on this mix, so although the mix was good overall, we chose to have andy mix the song and album.

in david’s interview with lpassociaton, he is (understandably) fuzzy about the details of our relationship back then. maybe it’s because he was dealing with many bands, while we, on the other hand, were only dealing with one album, and one label. hopefully i can help out by putting some details out there. david wasn’t involved with us when mark was in the band–he may have heard of us, but he didn’t work on our stuff. he did, however, get involved a bit once we were in the studio, by hearding demos and giving feedback–the same thing many label people and A&R folks do.

as you’ve heard, though, much of the feedback we got from the label at that time didn’t line up with the album we wanted to make or the band we wanted to be, so we chose to follow our own path.

the good and bad news about “plaster” is that i can’t think of another, earlier demo of the song that would really exist. the only step before this one probably wouldn’t have included any lyrics, but all the instrumental tracks would essentially be the same. as we wrote the song, we immediately recorded it, so that is to say there is only one recording; the first notes of the demo were in the same protools file that the song was finished in. there are no “live” demos, nor “garage recordings” of the song. so this version of “plaster” might be the earliest version out there."[13]

He later did another post, saying "one edit to my previous post: the “plaster” demo was available on lpfuse, the linkin park live guide, and the linkin park projekt, as well as lpassociation. just wanted to give all the sites their credit…these are not sites run / operated by the band, they’re great fan sites who try to collect and distribute current fan info about the band."[14]

Contrary to what Mike said, an even earlier version of "Plaster" was released on September 14, 2012 on LPAssociation, courtesy of member Ginger. The song is on a 6 track demo from May 8, 2000 and was sold on eBay due to the 99X Atlanta closure. The notes on that release about "Plaster" say, "Different mix to the David Kahne remix. Camera shutter is almost completely muted, and it does not include the 'remixed' Shut Up intro found in the previously released Plaster. Very similar to the album version, with a different vocal take for Chester's 'just like before'. Some scratches are missing."[15]

A version of "Plaster" was also reportedly posted on StreetWise's website prior to the release of Hybrid Theory, providing incredible amounts of publicity to the band.[16]

An early mix of "One Step Closer" was used in the TV show ECW as Nova's theme song from August to November 2000.[17] The mixing on this version is very similar to David Kahne's mix of "Plaster", with the beefed-up drum track, louder bass, and more emphasized samples, but it lacks the bridge vocal samples in the intro. It can be found in the album ECW: Anarchy Rocks, which was released on March 20, 2001. The track contains an introduction to the next song on the album. The version of "One Step Closer" on the Hybrid Theory (Unmastered Studio Finals 5/7/00) CD from May 2000 is the same version released on the ECW Extreme Music Volume 2: Anarchy Rocks album in March 2001.

On May 12, 2020 during a stream, Mike talked about "Plaster" once again when he said bridges of songs being a lost art, saying, "What's a good example? Rage, "fuck you I won't do what you tell me." Woah. It's the same mode of thinking as the bridge in "One Step Closer." If not for the "shut up" part in "One Step Closer", the song would have been like... that's a good metal song / nu metal song / rock song, whatever. We finished that song, we were ready to send it out to mix. The guy who was A&R'ing us at the label, who you guys know we had a difficult relationship with... he didn't send it to the mixer that we wanted. Before we got there, he basically sent it to his boss to get mixed, his boss was a mixer, he was a good mixer, he was just not the mixer we wanted. And then they sent back the song, completely changed around. He had edited out the bridge, the "shut up" part, and put it at the start of the song. And then it happened again in the bridge. Na man. No. That is not how that works. That's like watching the movie "The Sixth Sense" and at the beginning of the movie they go - hey FYI, the main character is already dead. That's a three minute movie."[18]

In April 2023, Linkin Park released a demo of "Figure.09" on Meteora 20 with the name "Plaster II", which references the "One Step Closer" demo title of "Plaster."


Linkin Park released a remix of "One Step Closer" on Reanimation in July 2002 titled "1stp Klosr". The track was remixed by The Humble Brothers and features Jonathan Davis of Korn on vocals. Several versions of the remix without Jonathan Davis have been included on promo CDs.

In 2004 for Collision Course, Linkin Park mashed up "One Step Closer" with "99 Problems'" by Jay-Z, as well as "Points Of Authority", as "Points Of Authority/99 Problems/One Step Closer."

On January 7, 2021, Linkin Park released the "One Step Closer" (100 gecs Reanimation) remix. The track was reinterpreted by Dylan Brady and Laura Les of hyper pop duo 100 gecs. Mike Shinoda said, "Part of the spirit of Reanimation was to take the Hybrid Theory songs that people knew so well, and let innovative artists flip them in ways nobody expected... I think 100 gecs did exactly that."[19] The official visualizer on YouTube, released the next day on January 8, was directed by Weston Allen.[20]

On his Twitch stream on February 18, 2021 with Iann Dior and Upsahl talking about "Happy Endings", Mike mentioned the 100 gecs remix again, "We just did it, it wasn't like a big campaign or whatever. It was funny. I talked to a guy at Warner who said, "You just celebrated Hybrid Theory, do you want to do some remixes like Reanimation style?" And I was like, "Well if we do it, the vibe has to be really the right vibe. I don't want to just do some big pop remixes or whatever. Something like that has been about real artistic inspiration and in particular with artists who make crazy decisions and have a crazy style. So 100 gecs was on my short list right away. Both of them are so sick, Dylan is one of the few producers that I listen to that I'm like, "I don't know how he did that or how he made that sound.""[21]


CD Single

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 One Step Closer Bennington Chester Charles, Bourdon Robert G, Delson Brad, Hahn Joseph, Shinoda Mike 2:39
2 My December Shinoda 4:21
3 High Voltage Bennington, Bourdon, Delson, Hahn, Shinoda 3:45
4 One Step Closer (Music Video) Bennington, Bourdon, Delson, Hahn, Shinoda 2:55

Vinyl Single

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 One Step Closer Bennington, Bourdon, Delson, Hahn, Shinoda 2:39
2 My December Shinoda 4:21

US Promo 1

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 One Step Closer Bennington, Bourdon, Delson, Hahn, Shinoda 2:36
2 With You Bennington, Bourdon, Delson, Hahn, King John Robert, Shinoda, Simpson Michael 3:23

US Promo 2

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 One Step Closer (Album Version) Bennington, Bourdon, Delson, Hahn, Shinoda 2:36
2 One Step Closer (Rock Mix) Bennington, Bourdon, Delson, Hahn, Shinoda 2:36

3-Song E.P.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1 One Step Closer Bennington, Bourdon, Delson, Hahn, Shinoda 2:36
2 With You Bennington, Bourdon, Delson, Hahn, King John Robert, Shinoda, Simpson Michael 3:23
3 Points Of Authority Bennington, Bourdon, Delson, Hahn, Shinoda 3:20

Music Video

Live Video

On September 5, 2000, at their show at The Roxy in Hollywood, CA, Linkin Park shot a live video for "One Step Closer".

"Linkin Park will be recording their show at the Roxy in Los Angeles on September 5th and will possibly using some of the live footage from it in the forthcoming video for their current single, "One Step Closer." The track is the first single from the group's upcoming debut album "Hybrid Theory" which was produced by Don Gilmore and will see a release on October 24th through Warner Bros."

The video was filmed by Speedway Films with 3 cameras. The crew from the shoot was:[22]

  • Atom Rothlein - CoDirector/Editor/Camera Operator
  • Brian Dee - CoDirector/Camera Operator
  • Jennifer Mackenzie - Producer
  • George Reasner - Camera Operator

Although the band decided not to use this live footage, the live video was featured on and it soon became available for download at early Linkin Park fan sites. It would, however, disappear from the internet and become uncirculated until August 2013, when LPLive released the full show.

Brad broke a string during "One Step Closer".

Music Video

Gregory Dark, a former adult film director, directed the official music video for "One Step Closer".[23][24] It was filmed right before Linkin Park went on tour with the Kottonmouth Kings.[3] Shooting was on September 8 and 9, 2000 in an abandoned subway tunnel on Hill Street.[12]

The record label gave the band the liberty to do whatever they wanted for their first music video. Joe came up with a concept for it, described by Mike as a just for fun "escapist action movie video".[25] This was the band's only music video filmed with Scott Koziol, their touring bassist at the time.

Speaking to ShoutWeb, Mike said, "Yeah, I got red hair. The video is very green and very dark. It was shot in Los Angeles in an underground, abandoned subway tunnel that is adjacent to an abandoned V.A. hospital. It's an extremely scary place to hang out and shoot a video. The air was very thick and filled with minerals and dust and dirt. It's very hard to breathe down there. But we endured. We had a lot of fun. Somebody just told me that they heard that most bands don't have a good time shooting their video or they don't like their first video. I think we had a blast. Our DJ and I went to art school together. I graduated with a major in illustration at the Arts Center in Pasadena. He left after his first year to go do special effects in the film industry so when it came time to do the video, he was right there with the idea for the treatment for the video. He knew who he thought we should look into for directors. We hooked up with Gregory Dark who is amazing. Joe and Gregory hit it off. Gregory is an extremely experienced and talented individual and really helped us achieve our goals as far as a first video goes. Our budget wasn't so huge. It was our first try at being in front of a camera in that way. We had a lot of fun. It came out great. Joe did a great job. Gregory and everybody in the crew kicked ass. It was awesome. You'll see. It's very dark but it's really colorful at the same time. We have floating monks. I'm serious. We have floating monks. We have awesome artwork in the background by some friends of ours from school. Just in general, we were really happy with it."[2]

One of the actors on the video was the double of Lawrence Fishburne in Matrix.[26]

The band made a special intro for the video that thanks street teamers for all of their hard work. This version was put on DVD and sent to the street teamers.[27]

Experiment Version

An alternative version of the "One Step Closer" music video was aired in Germany after the release of the film Das Experiment, which contains "One Step Closer" in its soundtrack. This version is very similar to the original video but it also includes scenes from the film.


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


Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
One Step Closer One Step Closer

Hybrid Theory

MTV: The Return Of The Rock - Volume 2

Dracula 2000

Kerrang! The Album

Big Shiny Tunes 6

2:35 2000 September 28, 2000
One Step Closer (Rock Mix) One Step Closer (USA Radio CD)

Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition)

2:36 2000 September 28, 2000
  • Lacks Mr. Hahn's scratches during the bridge.
One Step Closer ECW Extreme Music Volume 2: Anarchy Rocks 2:51 2000 March 20, 2001
  • Beefed-up drum track.
  • Louder bass.
  • More emphasized samples.
  • Used as Nova's theme between August and November 2000.
  • Includes an introduction to Powerman 5000's "Neckbone" by Dawn Marie at the end.
Plaster Hybrid Theory 6-Track Demo 2:45 2000
  • The CD dates from April 25, 2000.
  • Hi-hat loop in the intro.
  • Different vocal take for Chester's 'just like before'.
  • No scratching in the bridge.
  • Released on LPAssociation for free download on September 15, 2012.
Plaster (David Kahne Mix 1 Of 4) Plaster (David Kahne Mix 1 Of 4) 2:46 2000
  • The CD dates from June 2, 2000.
  • 'Shut Up' bridge screamed in the intro.
  • Louder camera shutter sample.
  • Released on LPAssociation for free download on February 11, 2008.
Plaster Studio Finals 5/7/00 2:42 2000
  • The CD dates from May 7, 2000.
  • The mixing on this version is identical to the ECW version.
  • Released on LPLive for free download on April 9, 2011.
One Step Closer Hybrid Theory - Instrumentals 2:37 2000
  • Official instrumental version.


Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
1stp Klosr Reanimation 5:46 2001 July 30, 2002
  • Remix by The Humble Brothers.
  • Features vocals by Jonathan Davis.
One Step Closer (Humble Brothers Remix) Frat Party At The Pankake Festival

"One Step Closer" Humble Brothers Remixes

"Reanimation" Internal Demo

6:13 2001 November 20, 2001
  • The promo CD dates from March 6, 2001.
  • There's another version of the CD which dates from February 2002.
  • November 20, 2001 was the release date of Frat Party At The Pankake Festival.
  • Lacks the vocals by Jonathan Davis.
  • Different bridge, containing a few more samples and being a little longer.
  • Listed as "Extended" on the promo CD.
One Step Closer (Humble Brothers Remix) (FM Radio) "One Step Closer" Humble Brothers Remixes

"Reanimation" Internal Demo

3:12 2001
  • The promo CD dates from March 6, 2001.
  • There's another version of the CD which dates from February 2002.
  • Shorter version.
  • Similar to the song structure of "One Step Closer" on Hybrid Theory.
  • Lacks the vocals by Jonathan Davis.
Points Of Authority/99 Problems/One Step Closer Collision Course 4:55 2004 November 30, 2004
  • Official mash-up with Jay-Z.
Points Of Authority/99 Problems/One Step Closer Collision Course (Clean) 4:55 2004 November 30, 2004
99 Steps Klosr (Explicit) Linkin Park/Jay-Z Mix 3:52 2004 Summer 2004
  • Mash-up of Jay-Z's "99 Problems" and Linkin Park's "One Step Closer" and "1stp Klosr" made by a DJ called AL-B prior to the release of Collision Course.
  • While this isn't an official remix, it was discovered that Warner Bros. Records had an internal CD containing it.
  • The CD dates from May 19, 2004.
99 Steps Klosr (Edited) Linkin Park/Jay-Z Mix 3:52 2004 Summer 2004
  • Clean version.
One Step Closer (8 Bit Rebellion Version) 8-Bit Rebellion! Ringtones 0:30 2010 April 17, 2010
  • 8-bit version.
  • Intro only.
One Step Closer (8 Bit Rebellion Version) 8-Bit Rebellion! Ringtones 0:32 2010 April 17, 2010
  • 8-bit version.
  • Chorus only.
One Step Closer (8-Bit) 8-Bit Rebellion! 2:39 2010 April 26, 2010
  • Full 8-bit version.
One Step Closer (100 Gecs Reanimation) One Step Closer (100 Gecs Reanimation) 2:22 2020 January 08, 2021
  • Remix by Dylan Brady and Laura Les.
  • Features vocals by Laura Les.
1stp Klosr Reanimation - Instrumentals 5:46 2001
  • Official instrumental version.


Title Album Length Recorded Released Notes
One Step Closer Crawling (DVD) 0:30 January 11, 2001 2001
One Step Closer The Family Values 2001 Tour 3:51 November 17, 2001 May 7, 2002
  • Features vocals by Aaron Lewis.
  • Credited to "Linkin Park (featuring Aaron Lewis)".
In The End / One Step Closer (Live) World Premiere Of Meteora: Wiltern 3-24-03 9:21 March 03, 2003
  • The CD dates from March 26, 2003.
  • Contains elements of "1stp Klosr".
One Step Closer (Reanimated Live) Faint

Reanimation (iTunes)

Meteora (Tour Edition Cassette)

3:43 March 17, 2003 June 9, 2003
  • Contains elements of "1stp Klosr".
  • Recorded live during the LP Underground Tour 2003.
  • Labeled "One Step Closer (Live LP Underground Tour 2003)" on Reanimation.
One Step Closer Live In Texas (Street Team Promo CD)

Live In Texas

4:13 August 02, 2003

August 03, 2003

November 18, 2003
  • Contains elements of "1stp Klosr".
  • Recorded live August 2nd 2003 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX and August 3rd 2003 at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX on the Summer Sanitarium Tour.
One Step Closer (featuring Jonathan Davis) (Live) LP Underground 4.0

Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition)

3:57 August 13, 2004 November 22, 2004
  • Features vocals by Jonathan Davis.
  • Contains elements of "1stp Klosr".
  • Recorded live at Projekt Revolution 2004.
Points Of Authority/99 Problems/One Step Closer Collision Course 7:47 July 18, 2004 November 30, 2004
  • Censored.
  • DVD only.
One Step Closer (11/18/07 LP Live Shanghai) Minutes To Midnight (Asian Tour Edition) 3:44 November 18, 2007 November 21, 2007
  • Downloadable MP3.
  • Download codes expired on December 17, 2008.
One Step Closer LP Underground 7.0 3:41 August 21, 2007 December 5, 2007
  • Recorded live at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY on August 28, 2007.
One Step Closer (29/01/08 LP Live London 2) Minutes To Midnight (EU Tour Edition) 4:10 January 29, 2008 December 12, 2007
  • Downloadable MP3.
  • Download codes expired on December 17, 2008.
One Step Closer Road To Revolution: Live At Milton Keynes 4:07 June 29, 2008 November 21, 2008
  • Live show filmed at the National Bowl, Milton Keynes on June 29, 2008.
One Step Closer (Live From Frankfurt, 2008) Hybrid Theory - Live Around The World 4:13 January 20, 2008 May 31, 2012
One Step Closer Live At Admiralspalast Berlin, Germany 4:25 June 05, 2012 March 29, 2013
  • DVD only.
  • Living Things+ bonus DVD.
  • Live show filmed at Admiralspalast in Berlin, Germany on June 5, 2012.
One Step Closer Live In Monterrey 4:08 September 12, 2012 June 13, 2014
  • DVD only.
  • The Hunting Party bonus DVD.
  • Live show filmed at Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico on September 12, 2012.
One Step Closer (Live At Download Festival 2014) Hybrid Theory - Live At Download Festival 2014 3:12 June 14, 2014 August 12, 2014
One Step Closer Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition) 5:49 January 30, 2001 October 9, 2020
One Step Closer Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition) 2:51 June 03, 2001 October 9, 2020
One Step Closer Hybrid Theory (20th Anniversary Edition) 3:29 February 23, 2002

February 24, 2002

October 9, 2020
  • DVD only.
  • Features vocals by Mark Chavez, B-Real, Sen Dog and Riff Raff and scratches by DJ Z-Trip.
  • Projekt: Revolution 2002.
One Step Closer (Live In Texas) Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) 4:01 August 02, 2003

August 03, 2003

April 7, 2023
  • Contains elements of "1stp Klosr".
  • Edited differently from the 2003 release.
  • Live In Texas.
One Step Closer (Live In Nottingham 2003) Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) 4:03 March 03, 2003 April 7, 2023
  • Contains elements of "1stp Klosr".
  • Mixed and edited differently from the radio broadcast.
One Step Closer Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) 4:27 July 12, 2003 April 7, 2023
One Step Closer Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) 6:17 October 29, 2003 April 7, 2023
One Step Closer Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) 6:06 June 15, 2004 April 7, 2023
One Step Closer Meteora (20th Anniversary Edition) 5:07 August 30, 2004 April 7, 2023


"One Step Closer" is a live staple for Linkin Park setlists. While its exact debut is unknown, the first known performance of the song was on July 22, 2000 on the band's first tour ever. However, it is almost certain that it was performed at the Linkin Park and Hybrid Theory shows before that. The song has appeared in almost every Linkin Park setlist since 2000 (only considering full shows), with it rarely being dropped here and there, (Madrid 2010 being an example).

The song has featured a numerous amount of guests throughout its live history. Throughout the Hybrid Theory and Meteora touring cycle, the lead vocalists from bands opening for Linkin Park often came out onstage to sing with Chester, especially during the bridge. Prominent guests for this occurrence include Aaron Lewis from Staind and Marky Chavez from Adema. In 2004, the song was extended, with the bridge featuring "1stp Klosr" from Reanimation. During the band's performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, the X-Ecutioners came out and performed an extended bridge for the song. During Projekt Revolution 2004, Jonathan Davis from Korn came out to sing his part from that version of the song live. On Projekt Revolution 2008, the Street Drum Corps guested on the song, performing an extended intro in one set and an extended bridge in another.

"One Step Closer" closed every Linkin Park show until 2006 (barring Live 8 2005, where "Numb/Encore" closed the shortened set). In 2006, during the short Summer Sonic Festival tour in Japan, the band moved "One Step Closer" to the end of the main set, and "Breaking The Habit" closed the shows instead. In 2007, the band boldly decided to open with the song and it featured a brand new extended intro, entitled "Gunshot Intro #1" (a second alternative Gunshot Intro was performed in 2008). At these shows, "Faint" closed the show with a brand new extended outro. On Projekt Revolution 2007, the band started moving around the song in the setlist. While it did not return to it's esteemed closing spot, it moved around from opening the set (Set C) to opening the encore (Set A) to closing the main set (Set B). In Set A, the song did not feature the Gunshot Intro and instead was performed as the studio version. By the end of the tour, the band had created a "hybrid" set, entitled Set D, which had "One Step Closer" neither closing nor opening any part of the show for the first time in its live history; instead, it was the second-to-last song in the encore, right before "Faint". The final show of Projekt Revolution in Greenwood Village, Colorado had the band do a short jam to the riff of the song as Mike invited everyone on the tour onstage.

The song returned as closer in 2008 in Set T, along with a brand new extended outro that became a staple with the song. In Set R, the song retained its Gunshot Intro and opened up the encore, while Set S saw the song solely with its new outro to close the main set. The second European Summer Tour in 2008 saw "One Step Closer" see more movement in the sets: Set X featured a brand new Gunshot Intro ("Gunshot Intro #2") with the song opening the set (also the first instance where the song opened the show and had its extended outro), and both Set Y and Set Z had it close the show with its extended outro. Projekt Revolution 2008 saw the same general setlists being performed, except the song now featured extensions featuring the Street Drum Corps. In Set X, they performed a drum intro featuring their song "6th Street Bridge", and in Set Y they performed an extended bridge and ending to the song with the band. In the Projekt Revolution 2008 iteration of Set Z, "One Step Closer" did not close or open any part of the setlist. Instead, it was the second to last song performed in the main set (preceding "Faint"), featuring only its extended outro. For every performance of the song in 2009, the song closed every show. It was listed on a potential rehearsal setlist on June 16, 2009, where it was listed to have an extended intro. The band did not perform it as such on the following tour, however.

"One Step Closer" closed the main set throughout 2010, featuring only its extended outro. The song saw quite a bit of movement throughout 2011. In Set A-1 and Set C-6, the song remained as closer of the main set. Both sets B-11 and B-13 had the song close the shows. Set C-5 saw it performed as the second-to-last song in the main set, preceding "Bleed It Out". For the summer tour, Set A had the song close the main set, and both Set B and Set C had it close the show. The setlists for the A Thousand Suns Asian Tour remained the same as the summer tour, except for the final show in Singapore, Singapore. For the first time ever, "One Step Closer" featured in the third spot in the setlist.

The band closed out with "One Step Closer" in most European festival performances of 2012 (barring Prostorock in Ukraine), and closed the main set in headlining performances. On the Honda Civic tour, the song closed the main set in Set A, and closed the show in both Set B and Set C. The setlists did not change for the rest of the Living Things World Tour, and "One Step Closer" remained in its select spot in the respective setlists. At the end of 2012, Chester and Mike performed the song with Camp Freddy at the Dell World presentation in Austin, Texas. This is the only time that Camp Freddy has performed the song, and the only time Chester and Mike has performed the song with another artist.

"One Step Closer" moved around quite a bit in the very beginning of 2014. At the Harman Infinity One Launch, the song was performed in the second position of the set for the first time, after "Faint" opened the show. The next show in Las Vegas, Nevada saw it close the show again. Then, at the Music For Relief Concert For The Philippines, the song opened the show, for the first time without any iteration of the "Gunshot Intro".

When The Hunting Party World Tour started, "One Step Closer" remained at a fixed position for the entire tour. Throughout 2014, the song was in the fifth position for the first time ever, closing out "Act I" in the setlists with its extended outro. The position changed slightly in Summer 2015, where it moved down to position three (as a result of the dropping of songs) in the shortened version of the U.S. Festival setlist, moved up to position four with the addition of "Rebellion" in the regular iteration of the U.S. Festival setlist, and stayed in the fourth position when "Points Of Authority" replaced "Rebellion" in the full version of the U.S. Festival setlist.

"One Step Closer" remained mid-set on the One More Light World Tour, usually being performed as the sixth song, after "Burn It Down." It stayed in that position for the entire tour. The song was performed with a new extended intro similar to the old Gunshot Intros from the Minutes To Midnight Tour. At the Hollywood Bowl tribute show, Linkin Park was joined by Ryan Shuck and Amir Derakh from Julien-K and Dead By Sunrise, as well as Korn's Jonathan Davis, performing on the song for the first time since 2004. The song was performed with its 2017 Intro but without an extended outro for the first time since 2008.


Last Updated: August 22, 2018

Type Description First Played Last Played
Intro Falling Down Interlude January 10, 2001 June 4, 2001
Intro Falling Down Interlude Tease June 8, 2001 June 8, 2001
Intro Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" Guitar Tease June 22, 2001 June 22, 2001
Intro Reanimated Intro June 6, 2004 September 11, 2004
Intro Gunshot Intro #1 April 28, 2007 March 8, 2008
Intro Gunshot Intro #2 June 5, 2008 August 23, 2008
Intro 2017 Intro May 6, 2017 October 27, 2017
Bridge w/ X-Ecutioners September 6, 2001 September 6, 2001
Bridge Riff repeated as roadies came onstage February 24, 2002 February 24, 2002
Bridge Reanimated Bridge February 23, 2003 September 11, 2004
Outro Jam Outro September 3, 2007 September 3, 2007
Outro Bridge riff repeated with Chester screaming January 16, 2008 August 8, 2008
Outro Bridge riff repeated and Mike playing powerchords up the octave with Chester screaming July 19, 2009 July 6, 2017

Live Guests

Last Updated: August 22, 2018

  • Aaron Lewis (Staind)
  • Amir Derakh (Julien-K & Dead By Sunrise)
  • B-Real (Cypress Hill)
  • Benjamin Chandler (replacing Brad Delson)
  • Chad Gray (Mudvayne)
  • Christian Lindskog (Blindside)
  • Dan Marsala (Story Of The Year)
  • Davey Havok (AFI)
  • DJ Z-Trip
  • Douglas Robb (Hoobastank)
  • Ice-T (Body Count)
  • Jared Gomes (Hed PE)
  • Jonathan Davis (Korn)
  • Marky Chavez (Adema)
  • Nate Barcalow (Finch)
  • Redman
  • Ryan Shuck (Julien-K & Dead By Sunrise)
  • Sonny Sandoval (P.O.D.)
  • Street Drum Corps
  • The X-Ecutioners
  • Warren Willis (replacing Joe Hahn)
  • Wes Scantlin (Puddle Of Mudd)
  • Yohan (Pia)


"One Step Closer" was released to US radio stations on September 28, 2000 as the first single from Hybrid Theory. Cassette tapes entitled Linkin Park Sampler, containing "One Step Closer" and "With You", were sent out to street team members via Streetwise and given away by radio stations, namely New York City's KROCK and San Francisco's Live 105, to promote the single as well as the band's upcoming debut album.

During the band's trip to Kansas City on December 11, 2000, Linkin Park went to a local rock radio station and awarded tickets to that night's sold-out show to the caller who best howled out the 'Shut up when I'm talking to you!' portion of "One Step Closer".[29]

The song was featured on the professional wrestling TV show ECW as well as in the ending credits to the 2000 film Dracula 2000, and in the German film Das Experiment.

The single was released internationally on January 15, 2001, with a CD single being released in Europe and Australia and a vinyl single being released in the UK. Linkin Park held a fan art contest on their website in 2001 where the band selected ten pieces to be exhibited on the site and the ten winners also received a special autographed 10" import vinyl single of "One Step Closer".[30][31]

Awards and Nominations

Year Award Category Status
2001 Teen Choice Awards Choice Rock Track Nominated


Linkin Park

  • Chester Bennington: vocals
  • Rob Bourdon: drums, backing vocals
  • Brad Delson: guitars, bass, backing vocals
  • Joseph Hahn: records, sampling, backing vocals
  • Mike Shinoda: emcee, vocals, beats, sampling

Additional Musicians

  • Scott Koziol: bass

Track 01

  • Produced by: Don Gilmore
  • Mixed by: Andy Wallace
  • Written by: Linkin Park
  • Engineered by: Don Gilmore
  • Executive Producer: Jeff Blue

Track 02

  • Written by: Mike Shinoda, Brad Delson & Joseph Hahn
  • Produced & Mixed by: Mike Shinoda
  • Additional Pro Tools by: Joe Hand
  • Recorded at: The Loft in Nashville

Track 03

  • Written by: Mike Shinoda, Joseph Hahn, Brad Delson & Chester Bennington
  • Produced & Mixed by: Mike Shinoda



In Other Media

  • An early version of "One Step Closer" was used in the TV show ECW as Nova's theme song from August to November 2000.
  • "One Step Closer" is featured in the 2000 film Das Experiment.
  • "One Step Closer" is featured in the 2000 film Dracula 2000 and was included in its soundtrack album.
  • "One Step Closer" is featured in the 21st episode of Season 8 of the TV series ER, titled "On The Beach".
  • "One Step Closer" is featured in the 13rd episode of Season 11 of the TV series Hinter Gittern - Der Frauenknast, titled "Wege Ins Glück".
  • "One Step Closer" is featured in the 2008 videogame Rock Band 2.
  • "One Step Closer" is featured in the 2008 videogame Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades.
  • "One Step Closer" (in both studio and 8-bit versions) is featured in Linkin Park's 2010 videogame 8-Bit Rebellion!.
  • "One Step Closer" is referenced in the 2011 book The Heart And The Fist by Eric Greitens, specifically the bridge section of the song.
  • "One Step Closer" was released in 2015 as part of a DLC for the 2013 videogame Rocksmith 2014.

Cover Versions

Deena Noroian (now Unruly Helga) recorded an acoustic cover of "One Step Closer" for her 2000 sophomore release No Alternative. Her cover was air played on radio stations throughout the United States and Canada.[34] The track is commonly mistaken for a No Doubt song.

Richard Cheese And Lounge Against The Machine recorded a lounge rendition of "One Step Closer" for their 2002 album Tuxicity.[35]

English metalcore band Asking Alexandria have sporadically performed the chorus of "One Step Closer" at their shows over the years.

Scottish metal act Yashin recorded a cover of "One Step Closer" which was released on their Runaway Train EP in 2012.[36] The track received an official music video which is available at the band's YouTube channel.[37]

On June 30, 2011, Asian American hip hop/EDM group Far East Movement performed at the annual Isle of MTV Festival in Malta. During the show, their track "So What?" was followed by a freestyle over Linkin Park's "One Step Closer".[38]

German electronic duo Solar Fake covered "One Step Closer" in their 2013 album Reasons To Kill. The cover was performed live regularly from 2013 to 2015.

American metalcore group Motionless In White performed "One Step Closer"[39] during their fall 2015 North American tour, Apollo X, which was co-headlined with The Devil Wears Prada.[40] They played the song again on July 21, 2017 at the Concrete Street Amphitheater in Corpus Christi, Texas, as a tribute to Chester Bennington.[41]

Other Uses

  • This song was sampled by Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman in the song "Get A Dog" on the EP Lice released in 2015.
  • The art for the Fort Minor Militia box contains lyrics fragments from "One Step Closer".[42]

External Links


  1. Blue, Jeff (2020). One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park. Permuted Press. ASIN: B08LMZLXTJ
  2. 2.0 2.1 Shoutweb Interview 2000 - Mike Shinoda Clan
  3. 3.0 3.1 derek on Twitter: "No Cover Magazine // October 2000 At the time I got this I was told it was the first time they made the cover of a Magazine. #HybridTheory #HT20" / Twitter, October 15, 2020
  4. Space Shower TV - Hybrid Theory 20 Interview - Linkin Park Live, April 16, 2021
  5. Linkin Park Text Interview recorded 11/30/2000, November 30, 2000
  6. Bucket Of Weenies - Club Tattoo 11th Anniversary 2006-04-22 - YouTube, January 02, 2014
  7. Mike Shinoda on Twitter: "My mom thought it was so funny that was the bridge of our first single, because "shut up" was a "bad word" in our house when we were kids. #HybridTheory20😂" / Twitter, October 09, 2020
  8. Linkin Park's 'Hybrid Theory' Producer Calls Working With Chester Bennington a 'Dream Come True' | Billboard, July 24, 2017
  9. Linkin Park Kerrang! | Tom Bryant -, January 23, 2008
  10. LPCatalog - 2000 One Step Closer / Promo / United States, PRO-CD-100323
  11. World Premiere Download: Linkin Park - Plaster (One Step Closer Demo), February 11, 2008
  12. 12.0 12.1 Blue, Jeff (2020). One Step Closer: From Xero to #1: Becoming Linkin Park. Permuted Press. ASIN: B08LMZLXTJ
  13. "plaster" « Mike Shinoda's Blog, February 20, 2008
  14. plaster correction « Mike Shinoda's Blog, February 21, 2008
  15. AUDIO: Previously Unreleased Hybrid Theory 6-Track Internal Demo CD (May 8th, 2000), September 15, 2012
  16. Linkin Park Band
  17. Mike Bucci - Pro Wrestling - Wikia
  18. LPLive: Mike Q&A Summary 5/12/2020
  19. LPLive: "One Step Closer" (100 gecs Reanimation), January 7, 2021
  20. YouTube: Linkin Park - Linkin Park - One Step Closer (100 gecs Reanimation) [Official Vizualizer], January 8, 2021
  21. YouTube: Mike Shinoda - 2.18 Talking with Iann Dior and Upsahl about our new song Happy Endings + Accepting bids on the H.E., February 18, 2021
  22. Linkin Park Web, September 26, 2000
  24. Backatcha: Linkin Park's Chester Bennington Reminisces, February 18, 2014
  25. Linkin Park Central [home]
  26. PP Underground
  27. Linkin Park Web, October 06, 2000
  28. Linkin Park - One Step Closer (2001) | IMVDb
  29. 008.jpg, November 18, 2010
  30. Linkin Park [news]
  31. Linkin Park [contest]
  32. LINKIN PARK | #HybridTheory20 on Twitter: "From the archives: @mikeshinoda’s notes on the One Step Closer single cover from 20 years ago. Stream/Download #HybridTheory20" / Twitter, October 13, 2020
  33. Frank Maddocks on Instagram: “Congrats to @linkinpark on the 20th Anniversary of Hybrid Theory. I’m honored to have contributed to the album and grateful for the…”, October 10, 2020
  34. No Alternative | Official Website of Unruly Helga
  36. Runaway Train - EP by Yashin on Apple Music
  37. Yashin - One Step Closer (Linkin Park Cover) Official Video - YouTube, November 15, 2012
  38. Far East Movement Perform So What?/One Step Closer at Isle of MTV Festival | LP Association Forums, July 24, 2011
  39. Motionless in White - One Step Closer (Linkin Park cover) - YouTube, November 06, 2015
  40. The Devil Wears Prada And Motionless In White To Join Forces For 'Apollo X' Tour -, September 08, 2015
  41. Motionless In White - One Step Closer (Linkin Park Cover Chester Bennington Tribute) LIVE 7/21/17 - YouTube, July 21, 2017
  42. FMM Volume One | LP Association Forums, June 27, 2014