Daniel Lanois

Daniel Lanois

Lanois playing steel guitar
Background information
Birth name Daniel Roland Lanois
Born (1951-09-19) September 19, 1951
Hull, Quebec, Canada
Origin Ancaster, Ontario, Canada
Genres Rock, alternative rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, pedal steel, omnichord, keyboards
Years active 1976–present
Labels Opal, Warner Bros., ANTI-, Red Floor, MapleMusic Recordings (Canada)
Associated acts Bob Dylan, U2, Peter Gabriel, Raffi, Malcolm Burn, Brian Eno, Aaron Neville, Daryl Johnson, Black Dub, Trixie Whitley
Website daniellanois.com

Daniel Roland Lanois (/lænˈwɑː/ lan-WAH;[1] born September 19, 1951) is a Canadian record producer, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter.

Lanois has released several albums of his own work. However, he is best known for producing albums for a wide variety of artists, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, and Brandon Flowers. Lanois also collaborated with Brian Eno: most famously on producing several albums for U2, including the multi-platinum The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby. Three albums produced or co-produced by Lanois have won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Four other albums received Grammy nominations.

Lanois wrote and performed the music for Billy Bob Thornton's 1995 film, Sling Blade.


Early career

Lanois started his production career when he was 17,[2] working in his own studio with his brother Bob Lanois in the basement of their mother's Ancaster, Ontario, home recording local artists including Simply Saucer. Later, Daniel started Grant Avenue Studios in an old house he purchased in Hamilton, Ontario.[3] He worked with a number of local bands, including Martha and the Muffins (for whom his sister Jocelyne played bass), Ray Materick, as well as the Canadian children's singer Raffi.


Lanois worked collaboratively with Brian Eno on some of Eno's own projects, one of which was the theme song for David Lynch's film adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune. Eno invited him to co-produce U2's album The Unforgettable Fire. Along with Eno, he went on to produce U2's The Joshua Tree, the 1987 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and some of the band's other works including Achtung Baby and All That You Can't Leave Behind, both of which were nominated for the same award but did not win. Lanois once again collaborated with U2 and Brian Eno on the band's 2009 album, No Line on the Horizon. He was involved in the songwriting process as well as mixing and production.[4]

Lanois' early work with U2 led to him being hired to produce albums for other top-selling artists. Bono recommended Lanois to Bob Dylan in the late 1980s; in 1989 Lanois produced Dylan's Oh Mercy. Eight years later Dylan and Lanois worked together on Time Out of Mind which won another Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1997. In his autobiographical Chronicles, Vol. 1, Dylan describes in depth the contentious but rewarding working relationship he developed with Lanois.[5]

Lanois spent most of 1985 producing So, Peter Gabriel's Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum-selling album, released in 1986. Lanois also co-produced Gabriel's platinum selling follow-up, Us.

Wrecking Ball, his 1995 collaboration with Emmylou Harris, won a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. In 1998, he produced and appeared on Willie Nelson's album Teatro.

Lanois was working on Neil Young's record Le Noise in June 2010 when he was hospitalized after suffering multiple injuries in a motorcycle crash in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles.[6] He has since recovered.[7] Lanois' production is recognizable and notable for its 'big' and 'live' drum sound, atmospheric guitars and ambient reverb.[8] Rolling Stone called Lanois the "most important record producer to emerge in the Eighties."[9]

Recording artist

Daniel Lanois plays with Black Dub in 2011

As well as being a producer, Lanois is also a songwriter, musician and recording artist. He has released several solo albums and film scores. A number of Lanois' songs have been covered by other artists, including Dave Matthews, Jerry Garcia Band, Willie Nelson, Tea Party, Anna Beljin, Isabelle Boulay and Emmylou Harris, and his albums have had some success, particularly in Canada. Lanois plays the guitar, pedal steel, and drums. "Belladonna", an instrumental album released in 2005, was nominated for a Grammy.[10] Lanois also provided an instrumental score for LOUDquietLOUD, a documentary about the Pixies.[11]

Lanois premiered a documentary entitled Here Is What Is at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2007. The film chronicles the recording of his album of the same name, and includes footage of the actual recording. The album Here Is What Is was released, first by download, then in compact disc, in late 2007 and early 2008. Soon after, Lanois released a three-disc recording called Omni.

In October 2009, Lanois started a project called Black Dub which features Lanois on guitar, Brian Blade on drums, and Daryl Johnson on bass, along with multi-instrumentalist/singer Trixie Whitley. They released a self-titled album in 2010.[12] In 2014, Lanois played with Emmylou Harris as a sideman and opening act on a tour focused on the Wrecking Ball material he produced.[13]

Solo career

Flesh and Machine

On October 28, 2014 Lanois released an album, entitled Flesh and Machine, with ANTI- Records. The fully instrumental album consists primarily of original atmospheric and process-based sounds,[14] blending pedal steel guitar and a variety of digital and analog sound processing devices. He was assisted by the drummer Brian Blade.[15] In 2016, he released the album Goodbye to Language with Rocco DeLuca.[16][17]


Daniel Lanois' star on Canada's Walk of Fame.

In 2005, he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.[18] In June 2013, he received a lifetime achievement award at the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards.[19]

Current work

After his October 2014 release of Flesh and the Machine with ANTI- Records, Lanois has been touring extensively, often bringing renowned lap steel player Lloyd Leonard with him.


Year Album
1989 Acadie
1993 For the Beauty of Wynona
1993 Trip: Soundtrack Collection
1993 Waves of Air
1994 Cool Water
1996 Sweet Angel Mine
Lost in Mississippi (soundtrack)
Sling Blade (soundtrack)
2003 Shine
2004 Rockets
2005 Belladonna
2007 Here Is What Is
2008 The Omni Series (Box Set)
2010 Black Dub
2011 Harvest Festival 2011
2014 My Music For Billy Bob
2014 Flesh and Machine
2016 Goodbye to Language


Year Title Description
1993 Rocky World Documentary about Lanois' music and travels in the early 1990s, available through his website[20]
2007 Here Is What Is Documentary about the creation of the album Here Is What Is

Production credits

See also


  1. "NLS Other Writings: Say How? A Pronunciation Guide to Names of Public Figures". Library of Congress. December 17, 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
  2. "Lanois, Daniel". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2011-29-06.
  3. "Grant Avenue Studios/ Daniel Lanois". Retrieved 2007-01-24.
  4. "No Line on the Horizon". U2.com. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
  5. Dylan, Bob (2004). Chronicles, Vol. 1. Simon & Schuster. pp. 176ff.
  6. Daniel Lanois injured in motorcycle crash Archived June 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. Sterdan, Daniel. "Lanois, Daniel: Lanois back in action after crash". Canoe Inc.
  8. "Electronic Musician Feature". Emusician.com. October 13, 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  9. "Candadaswalkoffame.com". Canadaswalkoffame.com. September 19, 1951. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  10. "NYtimes.com". NYtimes.com. December 8, 2005. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  11. Lee, Nathan (September 29, 2006). "New York Times". Movies.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  12. Regina Leader-Post
  13. Doole, Kerry (April 15, 2014). "Emmylou Harris/Daniel Lanois – Concert Review". Exclaim Magazine. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  14. "First Listen: Daniel Lanois, Flesh and Machine". NPR. 2014-10-19. Retrieved 2014-11-28.
  15. "Albums from Jerry Lee Lewis and Daniel Lanois". New York Times. 2014-10-27. Retrieved 2014-11-28.
  16. Moon, Tom (September 1, 2016). "Review: Daniel Lanois, 'Goodbye To Language'". NPR.org. Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  17. Kupper, Oliver Maxwell; Bowie, Summer (January 28, 2016). "Transcending the Blues: An Interview With Legendary Record Producer Daniel Lanois". Autre Magazine. Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  18. "Canadaswalkoffame.com". Canadaswalkoffame.com. September 19, 1951. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  19. "NFB shorts: Stories Sarah Tells, Canadian Famous and Daniel Lanois". Toronto Star. June 10, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  20. "Daniellanois.com". Daniellanois.com. Retrieved 2012-02-11.


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