Steve Lillywhite

Steve Lillywhite
Background information
Born (1955-03-15) March 15, 1955
Origin Egham, England, United Kingdom
Genres Rock, new wave
Occupation(s) Record producer
Years active 1977–present
Associated acts Kirsty MacColl (former wife)

Stephen Alan Lillywhite, CBE (born 15 March 1955) is an English record producer.[1] Since he began his career in 1977, Lillywhite has been credited on over 500 records[2] and has collaborated with a variety of musicians including U2, The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Foxton (of The Jam), Big Country, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Morrissey, Thirty Seconds to Mars, The Killers, The Pogues, David Byrne, XTC, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Simple Minds, The Psychedelic Furs, Beady Eye, Phish, Counting Crows and Joan Armatrading. He has won six Grammy Awards, including the Producer of The Year in 2006, and was made a Commander of the Order of The British Empire (CBE) in 2012 for his contributions to music.

Personal Life

Lillywhite was born in Surrey, England. From 1984 to 1994 he was married to Kirsty MacColl, with whom he had two sons, Jamie and Louis.[3] He has been married to Patricia Louise Galluzzi since May 29, 2004.[4] He was made a Commander of the Order of The British Empire (CBE) in 2012 for his contributions to music.[5]

Early career

Lillywhite entered the music industry in 1972, when he worked as a tape operator for Polygram. He produced a demo recording for Ultravox, which led to them being offered a recording contract with Island Records. Lillywhite soon joined Island as a staff producer, where he worked with many of the leading new wave musicians, including the legendary New York Dolls /Heartbreaker's guitarist Johnny Thunders for whom he produced a groundbreaking solo album entitled 'So Alone.' His first commercial success was with Siouxsie and the Banshees in August 1978, after producing their first single, "Hong Kong Garden". He also produced "Ku Klux Klan" the first single that Steel Pulse released under Island Records in 1978.


In February 1980 the Psychedelic Furs' self-titled debut album was released, produced by Lillywhite. He also produced Peter Gabriel's critically acclaimed third solo album Peter Gabriel (also known as III or Melt), which was released in May 1980 and topped the UK album chart. It established Gabriel as "one of rock's most ambitious, innovative musicians" and "raised considerably" Lillywhite's profile.[6][7] During the recording of the album he pioneered (with Gabriel and engineer Hugh Padgham) the gated reverb drum sound which became a hallmark of Phil Collins' solo career.[8] Later in the year, Boy, the debut album of U2, was released, produced by Lillywhite. Lillywhite's collaboration with U2 continued with the albums October and War. He moved on to produce work by Simple Minds, Bruce Foxton (of The Jam), Big Country, XTC, The Chameleons, Toyah, Talking Heads, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Morrissey, The Rolling Stones and the Shine album by the former ABBA vocalist Anni-Frid Lyngstad. Lillywhite was also hired by Rush produce their 1984 album, Grace Under Pressure. However, he withdrew at the last-minute to produce Simple Minds, much to the frustration of Rush.[9]

In 1987 Lillywhite worked with The Pogues, producing "Fairytale of New York". It was due to him that his then wife, Kirsty MacColl, provided the lead female vocal for their biggest hit. The single narrowly missed being the UK Christmas number one single, but was still one of the biggest selling records that year. The song "Cotton Fields," from the Pogues' 1989 album Peace and Love, (also produced by Lillywhite) includes a reference to "Steve Lillywhite's drunken mix".


During the 1990s, Lillywhite continued to produce Morrissey, but began to make his mark with albums by Travis, Phish and on multi platinum albums, including Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash, and Before These Crowded Streets by the Dave Matthews Band. In 1990, he co-produced U2's Achtung Baby, along with Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Flood. In 1991 he returned to Dublin to produce Engine Alley's debut album entitled A Sonic Holiday, and his wife Kirsty MacColl would again provide backing vocals – this time on the single "Song for Someone". He was also brought in to produce the debut (and only album) by The La's. In 1996, he produced Phish's Billy Breathes, and he returned to produce Joy in 2009.[10]

Lilywhite was featured as the subject for a BBC Radio 1 documentary series on record producers. In 1999, he produced the US band Guster's Lost and Gone Forever.


In 2000, Lillywhite was fired from his fourth album by the Dave Matthews Band after band members cited creative differences. In 2001, a number of their recordings emerged on a bootleg album, known now as The Lillywhite Sessions; many of the songs from those recordings followed later, on the Dave Matthews Band's album Busted Stuff. The unfinished tracks appeared online, and the majority of the tracks were re-recorded, without Lillywhite, with Stephen Harris as the preferred choice by the band.[11]

In 2002, Universal Music Group head Lucian Grainge invited him to become managing director. Lillywhite signed singer-songwriter Darius Danesh and executively produced his debut album Dive In, which spawned three Top 10 hits, and Mercury Records' first number one in eighteen years. He also signed Razorlight, and also produced Jason Mraz's Mr. A-Z.

In September 2005 Lillywhite joined Columbia Records as a Senior Vice-President of A&R. During his tenure he signed MGMT. He left the label at the end of 2006. Lillywhite collected consecutive Grammy Awards for Record of the Year with U2's "Beautiful Day" and "Walk On." In 2006, Lillywhite won three more Grammys: Producer of the Year (Non-Classical), Best Rock Album also with U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb; and a partial win for Album of the Year, also for How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

In late 2006 he began working with Chris Cornell on Carry On, his second solo album, which was released in June 2007. He also produced two songs on Switchfoot's album, Oh! Gravity., which was released on 26 December 2006. In February 2007 Lillywhite began work with Crowded House on tracks for their first studio album in fourteen years, Time on Earth. The majority of the album was produced by Ethan Johns, but Lillywhite produced four songs with the full touring line-up, including new drummer Matt Sherrod as well as studio guest guitarist Johnny Marr. Lillywhite's next project was working with Matchbox Twenty on an EP, that comprised a portion of Exile on Mainstream. The two disc album entered the US charts at No. 3 and Australian charts at No. 1, and included "How Far We've Come". In 2008, Lillywhite was in the recording studio with U2 working alongside Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois on tracks for 2009's No Line on the Horizon. He was also at work in Austin, Texas with Blue October on that group's follow-up to Foiled, called Approaching Normal. He joined his fellow music producer Flood in 2008 to work with Thirty Seconds to Mars, on This Is War which was released on 4 December 2009.

In 2008 Lillywhite produced a number of recordings for the World Cafe radio show on NPR. This included sessions at Avatar Studios in New York with Fleet Foxes, She & Him, Bell X1, Dr. Dog, and Mercury Rev.

In November 2009, he began presenting a weekly radio show on East Village Radio called "The Lillywhite Sessions".[12]


On 25 May 2010, the official Oasis website announced that Lillywhite was working with Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock on material for their new band Beady Eye. Also, On 3 February 2010, Amy Lee of Evanescence announced on her Twitter that Lillywhite will be producing their upcoming third album, which was expected to be released in late 2010.[13] However, in June 2010, Lee announced that due to conflicts with their record label, the band's album would be delayed[14] and in February 2011, drummer Will Hunt announced that the band would be working with Foo Fighters and Alice in Chains producer Nick Raskulinecz.[15] Later, during an interview with, Lee said that "Steve [Lillywhite] wasn't the right fit".[16] In 2011, Bono & The Edge brought Lillywhite in to Produce the "Spiderman Turn Off The Dark" cast recording for Interscope.

In 2012, Lillywhite was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to music.[17] This was followed by his Producing Oberhofer's debut LP for Glassnote Records entitled Time Capsules II -released on 27 March 2012. The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers also announced on 4 January 2012 that Lillywhite was working with the band on a their new album Battle Born -which was released on 17 September 2012. Lillywhite also reunited with Dave Matthews Band after twelve years, producing their album Away from the World, released 11 September 2012.

On 16 July 2012 – the Irish Examiner reported that Lillywhite was attached to a new television format entitled "The Hit".[18]

Lillywhite reunited with Thirty Seconds to Mars in 2012, co-producing the band's fourth studio album Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams, alongside Jared Leto. It was released 21 May 2013.

In 2015, at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, Lillywhite was awarded his sixth Grammy Award for his work on Juanes's album Loco De Amor.

Selected works


  1. "Past Winners". Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  2. "Steve Lillywhite Discography at Discogs". Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  3. Lichtenstein, Olivia (1 January 2012). "I hear Mum's voice every Christmas. I feel so lucky: Kirsty MacColl's son relives the day she died in his first ever interview". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  4. "IMDB Biography". IMDB. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  5. Halperin, Shirley (31 December 2011). "Producer Steve Lillywhite Honored With Commander of British Empire (CBE) Title". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  6. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Peter Gabriel biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  7. Ankeny, Jason. "Steve Lillywhite biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  8. Howell, Steve (March 2005). "Q. How do I set up a gated reverb?". Sound On Sound. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  9. Elliott, Paul. "The History Of Rush by Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson: Moving Pictures and the 1980s". Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  10. Daniel Kreps (17 March 2009). "Phish Add 12 Shows to Reunion Tour, Plot Return to the Studio". Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  11. Halperin, Shirley (29 August 2012). "Steve Lillywhite's Full Slate: Albums by Dave Matthews Band, The Killers and 30 Seconds to Mars on Deck (Q&A)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  12. "The Lillywhite Sessions Archives". East Village Radio. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  13. "You could tell everyone...". 3 February 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  14. "Amy Lee on EvThreads". Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  15. "Interview: Will Hunt talks new Evanescence album | Rhythm Magazine |". Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  16. Goodman, William (13 April 2011). "Interview: Amy Lee Talks Evanescence's Comeback LP". Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  17. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60009. p. 7. 31 December 2011.
  18. Kelleher, Lynne (16 July 2012). "Whitmore to front show tapped for global success". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 16 July 2012.

External links

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