Top 5 Daniel Lanois Productions
This past Saturday in Los Angeles, legendary producer Daniel Lanois, known for his trademark echo-heavy sound and work with the likes of U2 and Bob Dylan, was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident. Lanois was slated to soon begin work on Brandon Flowers of the Killers' solo debut and the upcoming Neil Young slab that we heard tunes off of during last Friday's gig at Jones Hall. The producer is currently looking at a two-month recovery and rehabilitation period before he can begin work. But knowing his work ethic, the guy may very wheel himself into the studio to twiddle knobs. Producer Ross Robinson helped produce At The Drive-In's major-label debut while up laid from a car accident. The loss of Lanois would have been yet another kick in the balls for music nerds in 2010, considering we have already lost Ronnie James Dio, bassist Marvin Isley, Jay Reatard and Alex Chilton. One of the most influential producers of the past 20 years, Lanois has solo albums of his own that deserve accolades in their own right. His soundtrack to 1996's Sling Blade was a haunting score of ambling guitar work and shadowy chords. His current project, Black Dub, is on hold while he recuperates. We had the rough task of picking five of Lanois' best works behind the boards. He simply can put a shine on anything it seems. For years, he and Brian Eno have been the principal ones behind the boards on most U2 albums since 1984's The Unforgettable Fire. He also has a production credit on a Raffi record from 1977. Sadly, that one didn't feature any of his iconic sonic signatures.
Bob Dylan, Time Out of Mind Dylan was angry and restless by the time he and Lanois got into the studio for this 1997 ode to aging and loss. It ended up winning Album of the Year at the Grammys, no thanks to Soy Bomb. U2, Achtung Baby Lanois and the Dublin boys pulled into the '90s with an album full of electronic rock tracks, reinventing the band's sound for the new decade. U2 hadn't sounded sleazy and slinky before Achtung, an album could be the band's Exile On Main Street, but we'll leave that up Rocks Off No. 1 to decide that. [Ed. Note: More like U2's Sticky Fingers, but close enough.]
Peter Gabriel, So Of the three singles off this 1986 Peter Gabriel release, the most revered is obviously "In Your Eyes," which was featured in the Cameron Crowe flick, Say Anything. Also, it contains "Sledgehammer," which was Rocks Off's first favorite song in the entire world. Emmylou Harris, Wrecking Ball Atmosphere is the word that comes to mind when we hear Emmylou Harris' 1995 album Wrecking Ball. Her voice hadn't achieved the weight that it had on Ball since at least her work with Gram Parsons' in his golden era for our money. The album also featured guest spots from Steve Earle (who needs a Lanois session in his future), Neil Young and U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr.
Willie Nelson, Teatro Willie Nelson ad Lanois went to work in an old movie theatre in 1997 to begin work on one of the country legends best works of his modern period. The ghostly Roy Orbison-laced album also features backing vocals from Harris. Honorable Mention: Scott Weiland, 12 Bar Blues; Luscious Jackson, Fever In Fever Out; Dashboard Confessional, Dusk & Summer; plus the soundtracks to Last Of The Mohicans and The Million Dollar Hotel.
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