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One Step Closer turns 15


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Happy 15th anniversary to the first single from Linkin Park, One Step Closer! Here's some background information on one of the biggest songs from LP.


The band released One Step Closer on September 28, 2000 as the lead single from Hybrid Theory (due out October 24, 2000). The song was immediately was picked up by rock radio, getting massive airplay and getting Linkin Park nationwide (and then worldwide) recognition. It has gone on to become one of Linkin Park's largest 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).


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."


Chester told Rolling Stone in April 2002, "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."


Chester later said that the chorus lyrics came from the pressure of working with Don Gilmore, the producer for Hybrid Theory and Meteora. He forced Linkin Park to rewrite the lyrics to some songs more than 30 times, trying to get the band to perfect their craft. "Everything you say to me, takes me one step closer to the edge, and I'm about to break." Mike came up with the idea for the "shut up" bridge at his apartment for Chester to scream, and the lyrics ended up sticking. Mike said, "I remember thinking that was a great calling-card song. It said, 'Hello, we are going to crush you.'"


The demo for One Step Closer, titled Plaster, was released on February 11, 2008 by LPLive, LPAssociation, and a few other Linkin Park fansites. Mike at the time said, to his knowledge, it was the only known demo of the song, but LPAssociation released an even earlier version of Plaster on September 14, 2012. Listen to the FIRST released demo of Plaster HERE and the SECOND released demo of Plaster HERE. Finally, a version on the May 2000 "studio finals" version of the album can be heard at 10:08 HERE.


The song has been played at virtually every known Linkin Park show, with two exceptions...the band dropped it for two shows in a row in Europe in 2011 - Arras and St. Gallen. It closed every show from 2000 to 2005 (Live 8 2005 excluded), and finally was moved in the set in 2006. Since 2007, it has jumped all around the setlist...most recently it is about the fourth or fifth song on the world tour for The Hunting Party. Regardless, it is one of the most played songs in Linkin Park's live history. It has gone through quite a lot of changes live, from a Reanimated bridge (sometimes with Jonathan Davis from Korn...check the LP Underground 4 CD for that one) to extended intros and outros to a long list of guests on the song. There have been many memorable performances of the song over the years, of course, but one that REALLY sticks out to us is the band's show at Rock am Ring in 2007 where the crowd completely loses their minds....



Originally, OSC was going to have a live video released from the show at The Roxy in September 2000, but the idea was scrapped even after the video was filmed. Joe eventually came up with a concept for the band's first music video. In the video, you can see Scott Koziol, a bassist that was with the band for a short period of time while Phoenix was still touring with The Snax.


Here's the ORIGINAL idea for the One Step Closer music video. Of course, the editing would have been much different once it was finalized.



And here's the band's first music video ever - what they decided to go with for OSC in the end (ha). It's a performance video, which sees Linkin Park performing in a misty room with some crazy shenanigans going on between the band and these monk-looking creatures.



One Step Closer was later remixed on Reanimation, released in 2002. The Humble Bros handled the remixing of the song, and Jonathan Davis from Korn lent his vocals to the legendary bridge of the song. OSC later was remixed with Points Of Authority and Jay-Z's 99 Problems for inclusion on 2004's Collision Course as Points Of Authority/99 Problems/One Step Closer and was performed several times live.


We can write for pages on the song, but the impact of One Step Closer is obvious. The one-two-three punch of One Step Closer, Crawling, and In The End as singles from Hybrid Theory launched Linkin Park's career and sent them on to become one of the biggest bands of our lifetime. So happy 15th birthday, One Step Closer!

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Doesn't Mike scream in the chorus?

Either way, great post and happy birthday OSC, you angry teenager.


Mike doesn't have vocals in any part of the song it's all Chester

super awesome post I feel identified with it One Step Closer it was love at first sight, I still jam to it

2001 was an awesome year.


thanks Mark for writing that only an old school fan like us could write it.

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I didn't like One step closer at first, but the song has grown on me

This song by any means is not one favorite linkin park song. It is however one of my favorite live. Saw the band perform in LA 4 years ago and it was crazy.

Edited by Thor
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