After 16 years, Breaking Benjamin’s ‘Halo 2’ single ‘Blow Me Away’ is certified platinum
A little over 16 years after it was released, the RIAA certified Breaking Benjamin’s 2004 single “Blow Me Away” platinum on Jan. 14, which means it has sold over one million units in the United States.
Frontman Benjamin Burnley describes himself as a “huge gamer,” so the Wilkes-Barre rock band wrote the song specifically for the original soundtrack of the bestselling Xbox video game “Halo 2,” which also included tracks by Incubus and Hoobastank. “Blow Me Away” was the standout single, though, and it went on to become a fan favorite that earned a gold certification in 2015. Now that streams often surpass downloads, the RIAA counts “150 on-demand streams” as “being equivalent to one download sale.”
Breaking Benjamin already has an impressive number of gold and platinum awards in their discography, including the singles “Ashes of Eden” (gold), “Dear Agony” (gold), “The Diary of Jane” (3x platinum), “Dance with the Devil” (gold), “I Will Not Bow” (2x platinum), “Angels Fall” (gold), “Failure” (gold), “Breath” (platinum), “Give Me a Sign” (gold), “So Cold” (platinum), and “Until the End” (gold), as well as the albums “Dark Before Dawn” (gold), “Dear Agony” (platinum), “Saturate” (gold), “Phobia” (platinum), and “We Are Not Alone” (platinum), all released on Hollywood Records.
While the new certification of “Blow Me Away” is another achievement for the band, it was also part of some major lineup changes for the group that remain controversial with fans to this day. Drummer Jeremy Hummel, who is credited as a co-writer of the song, sued the band in 2005 after he was fired by Burnley, saying he wasn’t properly compensated for profits from “We Are Not Alone” and other releases like “Blow Me Away,” though their manager Larry Mazer said they received no payments for that song, as it was created for promotional purposes, according to reports at the time. The lawsuit was later settled for an undisclosed amount in 2006.
When the track was included on “Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin” in 2011, it was a new version that featured vocals by Sydnee Duran of Valora. Burnley said that guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark Klepaski approved this new recording without his knowledge and then fired them, leading to further litigation that effectively ended this era of the band. Once the legal matters were settled, Burnley reformed Breaking Benjamin with a new lineup in 2014.
This iteration of the band has proved to be just as successful, and while only one member, Aaron Bruch, currently lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania, they are still hometown favorites who visit the area often for sold-out concerts and meet and greets. They were set to return to The Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton on July 18, 2020 with Bush, but their entire national summer tour was canceled due to COVID-19.
However, they were able to release an album last year called “Aurora” that contains reimagined versions of some of their biggest and most popular songs, including “Dear Agony” and “So Cold.” It also features several special guests, including Lacey Sturm (ex-Flyleaf), Spencer Chamberlain (Underoath), and Scooter Ward (Cold).
Breaking Benjamin’s current drummer, Shaun Foist, did get to play in the area in 2020 with his other band, ViFolly. They were one of 13 acts to perform in “Come Together: A Community Benefit Concert for the Arts,” a drive-in show in the parking lot of the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township that included Fink’s current band, Lifer. The massive local production raised funds for music venues and nonprofits heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.