Benjamin Jackson Burnley IV (born March 10, 1978) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, best known as the founder and frontman of the American rock band Breaking Benjamin. As the sole constant of the group, Burnley has served as its principal songwriter, lead vocalist, and guitarist since its inception in 1999. Since signing with Hollywood Records in 2002, Burnley has composed six studio albums under the name Breaking Benjamin, three of which have reached platinum and two of which have reached gold in the United States. Outside of Breaking Benjamin, Burnley has also collaborated with acts such as Adam Gontier and Red.
Burnley's lyrical content frequently and most recently consists of cryptic, angst-ridden themes that "waffle between being plaintive and aggressive." Burnley has the range of a tenor and occasionally utilizes death growls in his singing. IGN described him as having a "somewhat innocuous voice that is crystal clear... fluctuating between contemplative subjectivity and growling anger." Burnley uses baritone guitars and drop tunings to match the range of his voice.
Burnley performing in June 2016
Benjamin Jackson Burnley IV
March 10, 1978
Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
|Known for||Frontman of Breaking Benjamin|
|Associated acts||Breaking Benjamin|
Burnley was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey and grew up in Ocean City, New Jersey before moving with his family at the age of 12 to the Snyder County town of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. At 16, he became home schooled and quickly passed the GED requirement. At 21 he moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he became a roommate of former Breaking Benjamin bass player Jonathan Price. During his early teen years he taught himself to play guitar by listening to Nirvana's Nevermind (he cites Nirvana as his biggest influence). Before Breaking Benjamin was formed, Ben Burnley earned money playing cover songs, mixed in with his own in various coffee houses and other all age venues mostly with local neighboring musicians.
In 1998, Burnley and former lead guitarist Aaron Fink, got together (along with Nick Hoover and Chris Lightcap) and started the band "Breaking Benjamin." Eventually, Ben wanted to try something different and went out to California to try some new material. The other three members went on to form the band Strangers With Candy (later known as Lifer). They recruited old friend Mark Klepaski to play bass and he joined in, and shortly after, Nick Hoover was asked to leave the band.
In 1999, Ben Burnley moved back to Pennsylvania, and started a band called "Plan 9" with drummer Jeremy Hummel. Originally, the band was a three-piece. The lineups consisted of Benjamin on vocals and electric guitar, Jeremy on drums, and Jason Davoli on bass. Plan 9 would occasionally open for Lifer at home shows. During one show, Ben said "Thank you, we're Breaking Benjamin," thus reclaiming the name from 1998. Later on, Mark left Lifer and found himself playing bass for Breaking Benjamin. Lifer continued going through struggles, and months later, Aaron Fink sat in for a set with Benjamin. Finally, Aaron left Lifer, and was offered a spot in Ben Burnley's band, and they became a four-piece.
Burnley has lent his vocal and songwriting talents to other acts as well. He has performed numerous live duets with fellow alternative metal bands such as Three Days Grace, Evans Blue and Disturbed. He made a guest spot on a special remix of The Drama Club's single "Brand New Day." He also co-wrote the Red hit song "Shadows" and Madam Adam song "Forgotten". Burnley has collaborated with former Three Days Grace singer Adam Gontier on a song titled "The End of the Day" (yet to be released).
Burnley has several phobias, a fact that inspired the title of their 2006 album Phobia. Phobia's cover, which depicts a winged man hovering above the ground, represents Burnley's fear of flying, which has prevented Breaking Benjamin from touring outside the United States and Canada in the past. However in May 2016, he and his band members travelled through ferry ship to Europe, and made their first musical tour outside of the US and Canada. Breaking Benjamin again toured Europe in 2017 successfully. Burnley also suffers from hypochondria and a fear of the dark. He says that he doesn't believe in a person's time to die and he wants to put off dying for as long as he possibly can, which is why he doesn't fly or even ride in a car unless it's necessary. He incorporates his phobias into his music on the album We Are Not Alone in the song "Break My Fall," in which a pilot is heard over the music saying, "Mayday, mayday. Request permission to land. I cannot control the plane. We are in danger of crashing."
Burnley is an avid video gamer, and conceived of the idea for Breaking Benjamin to write and record the song "Blow Me Away" for the soundtrack to Halo 2. The song "Polyamorous" is also featured on the games Run Like Hell, WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw and WWE Day of Reckoning (along with their song "Firefly"). "The Diary of Jane" appears on NASCAR 07.
Burnley is a recovering alcoholic, admitting in an interview that he wanted to "drink himself to death." He says that he regrets ever drinking a drop of alcohol and is victim to Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome due to his past excessive drinking. Dear Agony was reported to be the first ever Breaking Benjamin record to be written by Burnley without the use of alcohol.
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"Angels Fall" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. Released soon after the album's lead single "Failure" on April 14, 2015, the track is the second single on their fifth studio album Dark Before Dawn and is the album's third track overall.Ashes of Eden (song)
"Ashes of Eden" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin, released on May 3, 2016 as the fourth single on the band's fifth studio album Dark Before Dawn.Blow Me Away
"Blow Me Away" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. The song is a non-album single, because it was written in 2004 specifically for the Halo 2 Original Soundtrack. It was later released in 2010 as a digital single. In 2011, a remixed version of the song was released on Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin, featuring vocals of Sydnee Duran from Valora. Written by vocalist and guitarist Benjamin Burnley and then-drummer Jeremy Hummel, the song is described as featuring "hard rock roots, ... a vocal-centric aesthetic, heavy electric rhythm guitars", and "an aggressive male vocalist".Breath (Breaking Benjamin song)
"Breath" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was released in January 2007 as the second single from their third album, Phobia. It was the band's fourth charted song on the US Hot 100 overall, and the second from Phobia. Although "Breath" failed to capture the pop success of "The Diary of Jane" at No. 50 where "Breath" hit No. 84 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was more successful on the rock charts where it hit No. 1 on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, making it Breaking Benjamin's first number-one hit, staying there for seven weeks where "The Diary of Jane" hit No. 2 and it also hit No. 3 on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart, tying with "So Cold" as their highest-charting single on the chart where "The Diary of Jane" hit No. 4. The single was certified platinum by the RIAA in 2015.Dear Agony
Dear Agony is the fourth studio album by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was released on September 29, 2009. A Best Buy edition, Japanese import version, and Zune exclusive version were also released, all of which feature bonus content. This is the last album to contain work from all featured band members except Benjamin Burnley due to the legal issues between Burnley and the two members Aaron Fink and Mark Klepaski during 2011, and drummer Chad Szeliga departing in 2013 over creative differences.Defeated (Breaking Benjamin song)
"Defeated" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was released as an airplay-only single on May 12, 2015 from the band's fifth studio album Dark Before Dawn.Failure (Breaking Benjamin song)
"Failure" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. The song was released on March 23, 2015 as the lead single on the band's fifth studio album, Dark Before Dawn. The track marks the band's first release since the start of an extended hiatus entered upon in mid-2010, and is also the first recording to feature a different lineup alongside singer, writer, and guitarist Benjamin Burnley. The track is their third single to reach No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, after "Breath" (2006) and "I Will Not Bow" (2009), and spent nine weeks there. On January 9, 2017, the single was certified Gold by the RIAA.Give Me a Sign
"Give Me a Sign", or as listed on charts and the single "Give Me a Sign (Forever and Ever)", is the second single by American rock band Breaking Benjamin's 2009 album Dear Agony.I Will Not Bow
"I Will Not Bow" is the first single by American rock band Breaking Benjamin's 2009 album Dear Agony. It was featured in the ending credits of the Bruce Willis film Surrogates. The song was not written specifically for the film, but according to drummer Chad Szeliga, "Ben sent a few songs to our record label, Hollywood Records," which is owned by Disney, who then decided they "wanted a Breaking Benjamin song for this movie." The song was also being used heavily on MLB Network as lead-in and lead-out music during the 2010 MLB postseason.Lights Out (Breaking Benjamin song)
"Lights Out", is the third single by American rock band Breaking Benjamin's 2009 album Dear Agony. The song was released as a radio single on June 15, 2010.Never Again (Breaking Benjamin song)
"Never Again" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin, released on January 20, 2017 as the fifth single on the band's fifth studio album Dark Before Dawn. The song topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in 2017, the third song from the album to do so, behind "Failure" and "Angels Fall".Polyamorous (song)
"Polyamorous" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was released in July 2002 as the lead single from their debut album Saturate. The song reached number 31 on the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart and number 19 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.Red Cold River
"Red Cold River" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was their lead single from their sixth studio album Ember. The song peaked at number two on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.So Cold (song)
"So Cold" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was released in March 2004 as the lead single from second album, We Are Not Alone. Despite never having reached the number one spot on the Mainstream Rock chart, "So Cold" holds the record for the most weeks spent in the chart with 62 weeks. The single was certified Platinum by the RIAA on September 25, 2015, the same day the band's debut album Saturate was certified Gold.Sooner or Later (Breaking Benjamin song)
"Sooner or Later" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was released in September 2004 as the second single from their second album, We Are Not Alone.The Diary of Jane
"The Diary of Jane" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was released in June 2006 as the lead single from their third album, Phobia. The song, one of their most notable and successful, is the fastest added single ever in the history of Hollywood Records. It gained a massive amount of radio play throughout the United States and reached number one under three rock charts. The single was certified 2× Platinum in the United States on November 24, 2015, and is their most successful single in terms of sales based on this in their home country.Torn in Two
"Torn in Two" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was their second single off of their album Ember. It topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart in September 2018, outperforming the album's first single, "Red Cold River", which peaked at number two on the chart.Tourniquet (Breaking Benjamin song)
"Tourniquet" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was their third single off of their album Ember. The band made a video for the single, completing a trilogy of videos for the singles from the album.Until the End (Breaking Benjamin song)
"Until the End" is a song by American rock band Breaking Benjamin. It was released in October 2007 as the third single from their third album, Phobia. On February 11, 2014, "Until the End" was certified gold by the RIAA, which made the single the then-most commercially successful song by the band. Since then, the band have been awarded with more platinum and gold singles, and two double platinum singles.