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Daniel Lanois
Daniel Lanois - Steel Guitar.jpg
Background information
Birth name Daniel Roland Lanois
Born (1951-09-19) September 19, 1951 (age 71)
Hull, Quebec, Canada
Origin Ancaster, Ontario, Canada
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active 1968–present
Associated acts

Daniel Roland Lanois CM (/lænˈwɑː/ LAN-wah, French: [lanwa]; born September 19, 1951) is a Canadian record producer, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter.

He has produced albums by artists including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Spoons, and Brandon Flowers. He collaborated with Brian Eno to produce several albums for U2, including The Joshua Tree (1987) and Achtung Baby (1991). 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 has released several solo albums. He wrote and performed the music for the 1996 film Sling Blade.


Early life and career

Lanois was born in Hull, Quebec. Lanois started his production career when he was 17, recording local artists including Simply Saucer with his brother Bob Lanois in a studio in the basement of their mother's home in Ancaster, Ontario. Later, Lanois started Grant Avenue Studios in an old house which he purchased in Hamilton, Ontario. He worked with a number of local bands, including Martha and the Muffins (for whom his sister Jocelyne played bass), Ray Materick, Spoons, and the Canadian children's singer Raffi. Lanois attended Ancaster High School.


In 1981, Lanois played on and produced the album This Is the Ice Age by Martha and the Muffins. In 1985, he and two members of the band earned a CASBY award for their work on the band's (by then going by "M + M") 1984 album Mystery Walk.

Lanois worked collaboratively with Brian Eno on some of Eno's own projects, one of which was the "Prophecy Theme" 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 winner, 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.

Lanois' early work with U2 led to him being hired to produce albums for other top-selling artists. He collaborated with Peter Gabriel on his album Birdy (1985), the soundtrack to Alan Parker's film of the same name, and then spent most of 1985 co-producing Gabriel's album So. The album was released in 1986 and became his best-selling release, earning multi-platinum sales and a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. Lanois later co-produced Gabriel's follow-up, Us which was released in 1992 and also went platinum.

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.

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. He has since recovered.

Lanois' production is recognizable and notable for its 'big' and 'live' drum sound, atmospheric guitars and ambient reverb. Rolling Stone called Lanois the "most important record producer to emerge in the Eighties."

Recording artist

As well as being a producer, Lanois is a songwriter, musician and recording artist. He has released several solo albums and film scores; his first album, Acadie was released in 1989. 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. 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.

Lanois' song "Sonho Dourado" was included in the 2004 Billy Bob Thornton film, Friday Night Lights. In 2005 with the re-release of his first solo album, Acadie, a late-1980s version of the song appears on the additional tracks called "Early Dourado Sketch". Lanois had performed the song numerous times in the intervening years, including on a Toronto television program in 1993 where it was credited as "Irish Melody" on a recording of the performance. Though the melody does indeed feel Irish, the title is Portuguese and means golden dream. Lanois also provided an instrumental score for LOUDquietLOUD, a 2006 documentary about the Pixies.

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 on compact disc, in late 2007 and early 2008. Soon after that, 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. In 2014, Lanois played with Emmylou Harris as a sideman and opening act on a tour focused on the Wrecking Ball material he produced.

Solo career

On October 28, 2014, Lanois released an album titled Flesh and Machine on ANTI- Records, based on Brian Eno's ambient albums. The instrumental album consists primarily of original atmospheric and process-based sounds, blending pedal steel guitar and a variety of digital and analog sound processing devices. He was assisted by the drummer Brian Blade. In 2016, he released the album Goodbye to Language with Rocco Deluca.

The collaborative album Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois was released on Venetian Snares' label Timesig in May 2018.

Lanois also contributed to the composition and production of the soundtrack for the 2018 video game Red Dead Redemption 2, released by Rockstar Games. He was given seven composition credits, including one for the song "Table Top".


Lanois was invested in the Order of Canada in 2018. Lanois won a Juno Award in 1990 as most promising artist. Lanois has received seven Grammy Awards for his work with various artists, including Bob Dylan, U2, Emmylou Harris and Neil Young.

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

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



Album Label Year Note
Acadie Opal 1989
For the Beauty of Wynona Warner Bros. 1993
Shine Anti- 2003
Rockets self-released 2004 compilation
Belladonna Anti- 2005
Here Is What Is Red Floor 2007
Omni Series Red Floor 2008 [3CD] box set
Black Dub
as Black Dub
Jive 2010
Harvest Festival 2011 self-released 2011
My Music For Billy Bob Red Floor 2014
Flesh and Machine Anti- 2014
Goodbye to Language
with Rocco DeLuca
Anti- 2016
Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois
with Venetian Snares
Timesig 2018
Heavy Sun Maker 2021
Player, Piano BMG 2022


  • Trip: Soundtrack Collection (self-released, 1993) – compilation
  • Sweet Angel Mine (1996)
  • Lost in Mississippi (1996)
  • Sling Blade (1996)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (2018) – game


Year Title Description
1993 Rocky World Documentary about Lanois' music and travels in the early 1990s.
2007 Here Is What Is Documentary about the creation of the album Here Is What Is

Production credits

Production credits
Year Album Artist Notes
1974 Demo  Simply Saucer not released commercially until 1989 album Cyborgs Revisited
1976 Blues and Sentimental Jackie Washington As "Dan Lanois"
1977 Hobo's Taunt Willie P. Bennett Engineered as "Dan Lanois," with Bob Lanois
1977 More Singable Songs Raffi Recording credit as "Dan Lanois"
1978 Can't Wait For Summer Ron Neilson
1978 Choice Cuts Crackers As "Dan Lanois"
1979 Desperate Cosmetics Scott Merritt
1980 The Millionaires (EP) The Millionaires As "Danny Lanois", included two members of Teenage Head
1981 This is the Ice Age Martha and the Muffins
1981 Dream Away Bernie LaBarge
1982 Mama Quilla, KKK, Angry Young Woman Mama Quilla II 3-song 12" Album
1982 Dance After Curfew Nash the Slash
1982 Ambient 4: On Land Brian Eno Engineered as "Danny Lanois"
1983 Danseparc Martha and the Muffins
1983 Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks Brian Eno
1983 Parachute Club Parachute Club
1984 The Pearl Harold Budd and Brian Eno
1984 Mystery Walk M + M
1984 The Unforgettable Fire U2
1984 Secrets and Sins Luba
1985 Thursday Afternoon Brian Eno
1985 Hybrid Michael Brook
1985 Birdy Peter Gabriel
1985 Voices Roger Eno
1986 Power Spot Jon Hassell
1986 So Peter Gabriel
1987 The Joshua Tree U2
1987 Robbie Robertson Robbie Robertson
1988 Flash of the Spirit Jon Hassell/Farafina
1989 Acadie Daniel Lanois
1989 Oh Mercy Bob Dylan
1989 Yellow Moon Neville Brothers
1990 Home Hothouse Flowers
1991 Achtung Baby U2
1992 Us Peter Gabriel
1992 The Last of the Mohicans movie soundtrack
1993 For the Beauty of Wynona Daniel Lanois
1994 Ron Sexsmith Ron Sexsmith
1995 Wrecking Ball Emmylou Harris
1996 Night to Night Geoffrey Oryema
1996 Fever In Fever Out Luscious Jackson
1997 Time Out of Mind Bob Dylan
1998 Brian Blade Fellowship Brian Blade
1998 12 Bar Blues Scott Weiland
1998 Teatro Willie Nelson
2000 The Million Dollar Hotel: Music from the Motion Picture movie soundtrack
2000 All That You Can't Leave Behind U2
2003 La Bella Vista Harold Budd secretly recorded in Lanois Los Angeles living room
2004 How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb U2 track "Love and Peace or Else"
2006 Dusk & Summer Dashboard Confessional produced with Don Gilmore
2006 loudQUIETloud movie soundtrack
2007 Back Where You Belong Sinéad O'Connor
2007 Let It Go Mother Superior
2006 Snake Road Bob Lanois
2009 No Line on the Horizon U2 plus songwriting credits
2009 "Mind Games" & "Night Nurse" Sinéad O'Connor
2009 Mercy Rocco DeLuca and the Burden
2010 Flamingo Brandon Flowers
2010 Le Noise Neil Young
2012 Honest Mistake Jim Wilson
2012 Battle Born The Killers co-writer on tracks "The Way It Was", "Heart of a Girl", and "Be Still"
2014 Rocco Deluca Rocco Deluca
2019 Red Dead Redemption 2 video game soundtrack various artists produced at Lakeshore Records


See also

  • Canadian Music Hall of Fame
  • List of ambient music artists
  • Music of Canada
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