Breaking the Habit (song)

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"Breaking the Habit"
Linkin park breaking the habit.png
Single by Linkin Park
from the album Meteora
ReleasedJune 14, 2004
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Linkin Park1
  • Don Gilmore
  • Linkin Park
Linkin Park singles chronology
"From the Inside"
"Breaking the Habit"
Music video
"Breaking the Habit" on YouTube

"Breaking the Habit" is a song by American rock band Linkin Park. It is the ninth track from their second studio album, Meteora, and was released as the fifth and final single from the album. The song was a hit; it became the fifth consecutive single from Meteora to reach number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, a feat unmatched by any other artist in the history of that chart. It was also the third single from the album to reach number one on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[3] The song also peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was certified Gold by the RIAA.[4][5] The song was also successful in many other countries, except in the UK where it became their first single to chart outside of the top thirty, faring only better than their previous single "From the Inside" which failed to chart. On September 4, 2012, "Breaking the Habit", "Shadow of the Day", "New Divide", and "Burn It Down" were released in the "Linkin Park Pack 02" as downloadable content for the music rhythm video game, Rock Band 3.[6]


"Breaking the Habit" features a strong electronica-influenced opening, live strings and guitar. It is an exception from their previous nu metal/rap rock performances as no distorted guitar riffs are included nor are there any rapping vocals from Mike Shinoda, a style they would further explore on their later albums.

A common misconception about the song is that it was written by lead singer Chester Bennington due to his struggles with substance abuse. Band member Mike Shinoda began writing the song before he met Bennington based on another close friend's drug addiction.

In the album notes, it was said that the song was originally going to be an instrumental track lasting a little over three and a half minutes, but Shinoda was convinced by the band to change it. The instrumental was later released on the Underground 9.0 Fan Club as a demo track titled "Drawing".

Shinoda had a lyrical idea of an emotion he had been trying to express for 5 to 6 years before the production of Meteora. To him, the lyrics had sounded wrong until listening to the "Drawing" demo one night and they fell together.[7] He showed the lyrics he wrote to Bennington who read them and teared up, relating to the words to a point where he had difficulty performing the song live for almost a year after the release of Meteora.

An original 2002 demo of this song with different lyrics and Shinoda on lead vocals appears on LP Underground XIV.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Breaking the Habit" was animated by Mike Shinoda;[8] it was directed by Joe Hahn and co-produced by Eric Calderon. It uses an anime stylization which was supervised by Kazuto Nakazawa, who had previously directed the animated segment of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Volume 1 among other things.[9][10] The video was shot of the band performing the song and was later rotoscoped.[11] The video has gone on to be a favorite amongst MTV viewers, going as far as winning the 2004 MTV VMA Viewer's Choice Award.

As the video begins, a deceased man is shown lying on a car's roof. The surrounding area has been taped off and is littered with investigating police officers as well as onlookers. The video cuts to another character, a girl who breaks a mirror, then writes "I'm nothing" onto a sheet of paper. She picks up a shard of glass, clenches it in her hand, and smears her blood on the note. Throughout the different scenes, a wisp of smoke meanders around the characters as their stories play out, and the human face of Chester Bennington singing the song flashes various times. Another character is a young woman throwing tomatoes at a man. At a point, the ubiquitous smoke drifts over the deceased man's body and enters his mouth, and the video begins to seemingly rewind itself, the woman throwing tomatoes at the man who is her husband or boyfriend, is shown coming home to see the man with another woman in bed suggesting they just had sex. The body of the deceased man begins to rise, falling in reverse, towards the roof of a tall building. It is revealed that the body is that of Chester, who had apparently fallen to his death. Upon landing on the roof, he joins with the rest of the band in performing the remainder of the song.

In January 2021, the song has 250 million views on YouTube.

There is also a second music video, titled "Breaking the Habit (05.28.04 3:37 PM)", showing the band in their studio performing the song. The video was directed by Kimo Proudfoot and is available on the Breaking the Habit DVD.[12][13][14]


The video for "Breaking the Habit" is available on iTunes, along with a live video version of the video. The live video was taken from the Road to Revolution: Live at Milton Keynes DVD concert.[15][16][17]


“Breaking the Habit” has been ranked among the best Linkin Park songs by Billboard (6th),[18] Stereogum (2nd),[19] and The Independent.[20]

Live performances[edit]

"Breaking the Habit" was not initially performed in the tour for Meteora, until it received a full performance on November 15, 2003 in San Bernardino. Since then, it has found itself in the majority of their concerts. From its debut up until the end of the tour cycle for the band's 3rd album, Minutes to Midnight, "Breaking the Habit" was played with a piano intro, where the first verse and chorus were played, and after that, the actual song would start. "Breaking the Habit" is also sometimes played live with an extended outro consisting of an a cappella performance of the chorus. After Linkin Park's 'Concert for the Philippines' on January 11, 2014, "Breaking the Habit" was dropped from the band's setlist. It would not be played live again until May 17, 2015, at Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Linkin Park.

1."Breaking the Habit"3:16
2."Crawling" (Live)3:30
3."Breaking the Habit" (Video)3:16


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2004) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[21] 23
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[22] 43
Canada Rock Top 30 (Radio & Records)[23] 2
Czech Republic (IFPI)[24] 4
France (SNEP)[25] 27
Germany (Official German Charts)[26] 25
Ireland (IRMA)[27] 46
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[28] 19
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[29] 41
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[30] 27
Polish Singles Chart[31] 1
Scotland (OCC)[32] 41
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[33] 56
UK Rock and Metal (OCC)[34] 3
UK Singles (OCC)[35] 39
US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)[36] 1
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[37] 25
US Billboard Hot 100[38] 20
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[39] 15
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[40] 1
Chart (2017) Peak
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[41] 69
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[42] 99
US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs (Billboard)[43] 12

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2004) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 79
Chart (2019) Position
Portugal (AFP)[44] 1891


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[45] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[46] Gold 500,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


Linkin Park

Additional musicians

  • Joel Derouin, Charlie Bisharat, Alyssa Park, Sara Parkins, Michelle Richards, Mark Robertson – violins
  • Evan Wilson, Bob Becker – violas
  • Larry Corbett, Dan Smith – cellos
  • David Campbell – strings arrangement


1.^ Band member Mike Shinoda began writing the song before he met Bennington based on another close friend's drug addiction.


  1. ^ "Ranking Every Alternative Rock No. 1 Hit from Worst to Best". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  2. ^ "FAN POLL: TOP 5 CHESTER BENNINGTON VOCAL PERFORMANCES". Revolver. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Linkin Park Breaking The Habit Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  4. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". RIAA. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  5. ^ "NMPA Announces Top Gold & Platinum Songwriters for August 2017". Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  6. ^ Harmonix (August 31, 2012). "Four Linkin Park Hits Come To The Rock Band Music Store!". Harmonix Music Systems. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  7. ^ "Breaking The Habit by Linkin Park Songfacts". Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  8. ^ Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2006). The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917. Stone Bridge Press. p. 224. ISBN 978-1-933330-10-5.
  9. ^ Steve Hochman: Anime finds its match in Linkin Park, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2004
  10. ^ Jeffrey Rotter: MUSIC VIDEO; Faith, Hope And Anime, The New York Times, May 30, 2004
  11. ^ Jon Wiederhorn: Linkin Park Avoid Bodily Harm In New Video By Using Anime Stand-Ins,, May 17, 2004
  12. ^ "Breaking the Habit (Official Video) on Youtube". from Linkin Park's Youtube Channel
  13. ^ "Breaking the Habit (Official Video) on Youtube". from the Warner Bros. Records
  14. ^ "Linkin Park - Breaking the Habit | Official Alternate Version Music Video". 2012.
  15. ^ "Breaking the Habit (Live at Milton Keynes) on Youtube". From the Warner Bros. Records Youtube Channel
  16. ^ "Breaking the Habit (Live at Milton Keynes) on Youtube". From Linkin Park's Youtube Channel
  17. ^ "Breaking the Habit (5.28.04 3:37 PM) on Youtube". From ShinikLP's Youtube Channel
  18. ^ "The 15 Greatest Linkin Park Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-12-26.
  19. ^ "The 10 Best Linkin Park Songs". Stereogum. 2017-05-26. Retrieved 2019-12-26.
  20. ^ "8 of the best Linkin Park songs". The Independent. 2018-07-20. Retrieved 2019-12-26.
  21. ^ " – Linkin Park – Breaking the Habit". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  22. ^ " – Linkin Park – Breaking the Habit" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  23. ^ "RR Canada Rock Top 30" (PDF). p. 56. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  24. ^ "Oficiální Česká Hitparáda - Pro týden 4/2005" (in Czech). IFPI ČR. Archived from the original on February 4, 2005. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  25. ^ " – Linkin Park – Breaking the Habit" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  26. ^ " – Linkin Park – Breaking the Habit" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  27. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Breaking the Habit". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  28. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Linkin Park" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  29. ^ " – Linkin Park – Breaking the Habit" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  30. ^ " – Linkin Park – Breaking the Habit". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  31. ^ "Polish Singles Chart |". Archived from the original on 2013-10-18. Retrieved 2012-07-11.
  32. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  33. ^ " – Linkin Park – Breaking the Habit". Swiss Singles Chart.
  34. ^ "Official Rock & Metal Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 21, 2020.
  35. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  36. ^ "Linkin Park Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard.
  37. ^ "Linkin Park Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  38. ^ "Linkin Park Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  39. ^ "Linkin Park Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  40. ^ "Linkin Park Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  41. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – SINGLES DIGITAL – TOP 100 and insert 201730 into search. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  42. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Select SINGLES DIGITAL - TOP 100 and insert 201730 into search. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  43. ^ "Linkin Park Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  44. ^ "Top AFP - Audiogest - Top 3000 Singles + EPs Digitais" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Associação Fonográfica Portuguesa. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  45. ^ "British single certifications – Linkin Park – Breaking the Habit". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  46. ^ "American single certifications – Linkin Park – Breaking the Habit". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 25, 2020. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]