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Breaking Benjamin

Pennsylvania natives Breaking Benjamin, named after founder and lead singer Ben Burnley, play a brand of metal-tinged alternative rock that came to define the sound of mainstream rock in the early 2000s. Indebted equally to the minor-chord dirges of first-wave grunge rockers like Alice in Chains and the pyrotechnic bombast of vintage arena rock, Breaking Benjamin became one of the most popular rock bands in the United States, scoring a number one with the single "Breath" in 2007. Two of their albums, 2004's We Are Not Alone and 2006's Phobia, have been certified platinum in the U.S. In late 2000, guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark James Klepaski made a surprising and unexpected decision: they left Lifer, an alternative metal band that was signed to Universal and was gaining commercial acceptance. Fink and Klepaski departed Lifer (which was originally called Strangers with Candy) so that they could join forces with singer Ben Burnley and drummer Jeremy Hummel and form Breaking Benjamin. Why would Fink and Klepaski leave a band that had a contract with Universal to form a new alt-rock band that, at the time, was unsigned? According to Breaking Benjamin's press releases, the ex-members of Lifer had so much faith in Burnley's songwriting talents that they were willing to take a gamble and uproot themselves. So in late 2000, Breaking Benjamin got started with a four-man lineup that consisted of Burnley on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Fink on lead guitar, Klepaski on bass, and Hummel on drums. Breaking Benjamin wasn't the first time that Fink had worked with Burnley; he had known the singer since high school. All four members of the band are from Wilkes-Barre, a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. When Breaking Benjamin started playing around Wilkes-Barre, they were far from a carbon copy of Lifer -- instead, they favored a radio-friendly post-grunge approach that was aggressive and forceful yet melodic. The band's various influences included, among others, Live, Bush, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Nirvana. Burnley has been quoted as saying that at age 14 he taught himself to play guitar by listening to Nirvana's seminal 1991 release Nevermind over and over. Korn and Tool have also been cited as influences, but unlike Korn, Breaking Benjamin doesn't have strong hip-hop leanings and isn't quite alt-metal -- hard alt-rock, certainly, but not quite alt-metal. That isn't to say that Breaking Benjamin haven't been influenced by certain aspects of Korn's sound. The Pennsylvanians do incorporate the sort of choppy, downtuned guitars that are quite prevalent in alt-metal, and even though Breaking Benjamin have a lot in common with post-grunge bands like Creed, Default, Cinema8, and Third Eye Blind, they tend to be a bit heavier. In 2001, Breaking Benjamin's Wilkes-Barre gigs caught the attention of a local radio DJ named Freddie Fabbri, who was an on-air personality at alt-rock station WBSX-FM. Fabbri put their song "Polyamorous" in rotation, and he also financed the recording of their self-titled debut EP -- which, in 2001, ended up selling about 2,000 copies in and around Wilkes-Barre. It was also in 2001 that Breaking Benjamin signed with Hollywood Records, which united the band with Ulrich Wild (a busy producer/engineer who had worked with Powerman 5000, Stabbing Westward, White Zombie, Static-X, Pantera, Slipknot, and quite a few others). Wild served as both producer and engineer on Breaking Benjamin's first full-length album, Saturate, which Hollywood released in August 2002. We Are Not Alone followed two years later, complete with a few collaborations with Billy Corgan; the band landed a primo spot on the Evanescence tour in support of the effort, as three of the album's singles made their way onto the Billboard charts ("So Cold" and "Sooner or Later" both peaked at number two in Mainstream Rock). Breaking Benjamin issued their third album, Phobia, in August 2006 before heading out on nationwide headlining dates with Evans Blue and Dropping Daylight in tow. The album featured new drummer Chad Szeliga and was spearheaded by the single "The Diary of Jane," which quickly heated up airwaves and helped the album debut at number two on the Billboard charts. Phobia was reissued that fall with additional bonus tracks, while the band continued touring alongside Godsmack. After the tour, Breaking Benjamin dove back into the studio to begin work on their fourth full-length. The resulting Dear Agony, fueled by the first single "I Will Not Bow," arrived in the summer of 2009. More touring followed, including legs with Three Days Grace and Nickelback, before Burnley announced a hiatus due to alcoholism-related health issues. Ensuing legal disputes within the band led to Fink and Klepaski being fired just before a collection, Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin, was released in 2011. Szeliga exited the band in 2013. The following year, Burnley confirmed that Breaking Benjamin would continue as a quintet, and in June of 2015 they released their first album of new material in six years, Dark Before Dawn, with Burnley (who also produced), guitarists Jasen Rauch and Keith Wallen, bassist Aaron Bruch, and drummer Shaun Foist. With a notably similar sound to prior releases, its lead single, "Failure," cracked the Billboard Hot 100 and hit number one on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart. The album became their first American chart-topper. ~ Alex Henderson
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Stations Featuring
Breaking Benjamin

    Xtreme Alt Rock

    Xtreme Alt Rock
    9 songs

    '00s Alternative

    '00s Alternative
    6 songs

    Hard Rock

    Hard Rock
    9 songs

    Power Ballads

    Power Ballads
    1 song

Albums by
Breaking Benjamin

Top Songs by
Breaking Benjamin

  1.   Song
  2.   The Diary of Jane
  3.   Blow Me Away by Valora
  4.   I Will Not Bow
  5.   So Cold
  6.   Sooner or Later
  7.   Until the End
  8.   Failure
  9.   Breath
  10.   Lights Out
  11.   Angels Fall
  12.   Give Me a Sign
  13.   Never Again
  14.   Polyamorous
  15.   Enjoy the Silence
  16.   Into the Nothing
  17.   Had Enough
  18.   Ashes of Eden
  19.   Crawl
  20.   Follow
  21.   Blow Me Away ("Halo 2")
  22.   Medicate
  23.   Rain
  24.   Dance with the Devil
  25.   Fade Away
  26.   Defeated
  27.   Dear Agony
  28.   You
  29.   Evil Angel
  30.   Without You
  31.   Anthem of the Angels
  32.   What Lies Beneath
  33.   Lie to Me
  34.   Forget It
  35.   Breakdown
  36.   Breaking the Silence
  37.   Next to Nothing
  38.   Close to Heaven
  39.   Topless
  40.   Firefly
  41.   Intro
  42.   Away
  43.   You Fight Me
  44.   Dawn
  45.   Wish I May
  46.   Ordinary Man
  47.   Better Days
  48.   Hopeless
  49.   Unknown Soldier
  50.   Forever
  51.   Shallow Bay
  52.   Sugarcoat
  53.   No Games
  54.   Natural Life
  55.   The Great Divide
  56.   Here We Are
  57.   Break My Fall
  58.   Skin
  59.   Bury Me Alive
  60.   Simple Design
  61.   Phase
  62.   Water
  63.   Home
  64.   Hollow
  65.   Who Wants to Live Forever
  66.   Outro
  67.   Dark
  68.   Believe
  69.   Lady Bug
  70.   Call Out Hook

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