Author Topic: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?  (Read 1352 times)

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Offline catorce

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Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« on: July 07, 2018, 03:50:12 AM »
I'm just wondering because of what happened with Eno/Lanios not getting co-writing credits from earlier albums



Offline McSwilly

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2018, 11:05:07 AM »
I think the last few albums have been over produced and perhaps they should just get in a room with Steve Lillywhite and play some damn rock and roll. That said, my kids are grooving to the popish remix of Love Is Better...

Offline wons

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2018, 09:33:16 PM »
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I'm just wondering because of what happened with Eno/Lanios not getting co-writing credits from earlier albums

They didn't get writing credits on earlier albums because they did not deserve any. They are producers and that is their job. The band are experts at writing and creating music. The problem comes with which version of the song to put on the album. How many attempts in the studio do they make for an individual song? Do they go with the original version after doing 8 takes when they thought they were improving it? That's where Eno/Lanios/Lillywhite come in.

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2018, 07:54:11 AM »
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I'm just wondering because of what happened with Eno/Lanios not getting co-writing credits from earlier albums

They didn't get writing credits on earlier albums because they did not deserve any. They are producers and that is their job. The band are experts at writing and creating music. The problem comes with which version of the song to put on the album. How many attempts in the studio do they make for an individual song? Do they go with the original version after doing 8 takes when they thought they were improving it? That's where Eno/Lanios/Lillywhite come in.

It has been widely recognized that Lanois came up with the guitar riff for One, which is a central feature of the song and, according to interviews, is what got it started.  I think  in many cases their contributions are as great as Larry’s or Adam’s.  We know Summer of Love was a One Republic song as it is documented on Youtube.  Yet no writing credit for Tedder on the album.

Whether or not a producer gets a writing credit is a negotiated term upfront.  They can be paid a fee and percentage of sales or they can be a part owner of the song in perpetuity.  It is whatever arrangement the artist and producer come to. 


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Offline davis

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2018, 10:07:43 AM »
Since UF the producers have played major roles in U2 albums.  Eno and Lanois wrote and played parts on almost every song on every album they worked on with the band.  Often, Eno, working on his own after hours, pushed songs in different directions that the band then bought into and took further.  Without the synergy they've had with certain producers we wouldn't have any of the best albums in anything like the form they exist in.  That's just how it is.  When it works, it's brilliant.  When it doesn't (Songs of Innocence), well...

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2018, 11:44:56 AM »
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Since UF the producers have played major roles in U2 albums.  Eno and Lanois wrote and played parts on almost every song on every album they worked on with the band.  Often, Eno, working on his own after hours, pushed songs in different directions that the band then bought into and took further.  Without the synergy they've had with certain producers we wouldn't have any of the best albums in anything like the form they exist in.  That's just how it is.  When it works, it's brilliant.  When it doesn't (Songs of Innocence), well...

Its also interesting that the songs from NLOTH that most people refer to as the “good ones” are the ones Eno and Lanois have explicit writing credits on.  Where they participated, Eno and Lanois are 5th and 6th members of the band.  They are like George Martin to the Beatles.  For those who got to know U2 during the UF to AB era, they are part of the sound that defined U2.  That is why so many saw ATYCLB as a return to form.


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Offline rlabs19

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2018, 12:30:10 PM »
I don't think its a problem for them to be dependent upon producers. In fact, I'd argue it leads to better albums. TUF and TJT are masterpieces, and while I think the songs are amazing, I'm not sure they would've turned out the way they did without Eno and Lanois.

Same holds for other bands, too. Infidels by Dylan is completely different than his other work because of Knopfler, IMO. DMB had Lillywhite for a lot of years who definitely pushed them in a certain direction, Petty had Iovine.... The list goes on.

Offline wons

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2018, 03:49:01 PM »
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I'm just wondering because of what happened with Eno/Lanios not getting co-writing credits from earlier albums

They didn't get writing credits on earlier albums because they did not deserve any. They are producers and that is their job. The band are experts at writing and creating music. The problem comes with which version of the song to put on the album. How many attempts in the studio do they make for an individual song? Do they go with the original version after doing 8 takes when they thought they were improving it? That's where Eno/Lanios/Lillywhite come in.

It has been widely recognized that Lanois came up with the guitar riff for One, which is a central feature of the song and, according to interviews, is what got it started.  I think  in many cases their contributions are as great as Larry’s or Adam’s.  We know Summer of Love was a One Republic song as it is documented on Youtube.  Yet no writing credit for Tedder on the album.

Whether or not a producer gets a writing credit is a negotiated term upfront.  They can be paid a fee and percentage of sales or they can be a part owner of the song in perpetuity.  It is whatever arrangement the artist and producer come to. 


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The riff for one came up when the band was jamming in Berlin. Lanois experiments during Achtung Baby were all in the style of Joshua Tree which the band did not want to repeat. Edge would often shake his head when he came in the door of the studio hearing Lanois experimenting with sounds reminiscent  of the Joshua Tree. U2 by in large write their own music and do most of the work when it comes to the direction, style, and sound they want to have on the album. Larry's and Adams contributions to the music have always been as significant as Bono's and Edge's.

Offline wons

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2018, 03:52:32 PM »
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Since UF the producers have played major roles in U2 albums.  Eno and Lanois wrote and played parts on almost every song on every album they worked on with the band.  Often, Eno, working on his own after hours, pushed songs in different directions that the band then bought into and took further.  Without the synergy they've had with certain producers we wouldn't have any of the best albums in anything like the form they exist in.  That's just how it is.  When it works, it's brilliant.  When it doesn't (Songs of Innocence), well...

Not true, the majority of the bands sound and direction is from them. The producers help and give advise, but its up to the band to decide what they really want. Thats the quality of the bands work typically never falters from album to album. The producers may change, but the band is the same. The band is the key indgredient.

Offline wons

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2018, 03:57:44 PM »
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I don't think its a problem for them to be dependent upon producers. In fact, I'd argue it leads to better albums. TUF and TJT are masterpieces, and while I think the songs are amazing, I'm not sure they would've turned out the way they did without Eno and Lanois.

Same holds for other bands, too. Infidels by Dylan is completely different than his other work because of Knopfler, IMO. DMB had Lillywhite for a lot of years who definitely pushed them in a certain direction, Petty had Iovine.... The list goes on.

The most important parts of many songs are already there before real production on an album begins. Its the band and their playing together which is key. Steve Lillywhite always complained that the band should tour before the album, because the live versions they created were often superior to anything they did in the studio. Think about what U2 does with their songs in a live setting. No producers involved there. More evidence that the key ingredient is the band and this is just another thread attempting to throw crap at the band which they don't deserve. But its the internet and most people would rather say something critical whether its valid or not than say something nice.

Offline davis

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2018, 04:57:34 PM »
I'm not sure why you think I (or others) am "throwing crap" at U2 by acknowledging the role of the producers. 

If you read up on how albums like Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby were made, you would acknowledge the amazing creative synergy between band and producers.  It's not a knock on the band.  After all, it was they who sought out Eno when they needed a fresh start.  You could also listen to demos from Achtung sessions, for instance.  Few of the songs began in anything like the form we know them now. 

No artists work alone.  Writers have editors, musicians have producers, etc.  It doesn't diminish the art or the artists at all (when the partnerships are productive). 

Offline Tortuga

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2018, 05:37:49 PM »
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I'm not sure why you think I (or others) am "throwing crap" at U2 by acknowledging the role of the producers. 

If you read up on how albums like Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby were made, you would acknowledge the amazing creative synergy between band and producers.  It's not a knock on the band.  After all, it was they who sought out Eno when they needed a fresh start.  You could also listen to demos from Achtung sessions, for instance.  Few of the songs began in anything like the form we know them now. 

No artists work alone.  Writers have editors, musicians have producers, etc.  It doesn't diminish the art or the artists at all (when the partnerships are productive).

Don’t try and understand the logic or waste your time arguing it.

Have you read Lanois’ book “Soul Mining”?  Lots of interesting discussion on how he collaborates with the artists he produces, including U2 content.


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Offline wons

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2018, 09:48:11 PM »
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I'm not sure why you think I (or others) am "throwing crap" at U2 by acknowledging the role of the producers. 

If you read up on how albums like Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby were made, you would acknowledge the amazing creative synergy between band and producers.  It's not a knock on the band.  After all, it was they who sought out Eno when they needed a fresh start.  You could also listen to demos from Achtung sessions, for instance.  Few of the songs began in anything like the form we know them now. 

No artists work alone.  Writers have editors, musicians have producers, etc.  It doesn't diminish the art or the artists at all (when the partnerships are productive).

Look at the thread title. Lots of people write and work alone including U2. The producers do their job, but to say that U2 would not have their songs or albums without them is just grossly false.

After all, most of the bands best work is not in the studio, its live. Most of what U2 does live is better than what they do on record. No better evidence than that, to show that what the producers do for U2 is rather minor.

Beware of the fan that sits down at concerts and never buys the artist music!

Offline Johnny Feathers

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2018, 09:18:28 AM »
Seriously, what is up with this dogmatic "fans sitting down" drum-beating?  Didn't one thread already get shut down on this topic?

Also, of COURSE bands are dependent on producers.  Sometimes it comes down to producers just offering suggestions: what if you added a verse here, and held off on the chorus until here?  What about adding a pre-chorus?  Sometimes it's more instinctive: think of Brian Eno's push to put Elvis Presley And America on TUF.  The band wasn't recording that song with the intention of it being a final product.  Or his use of the Oblique Strategy cards to get musicians out of their own patterns of thinking and playing.  If producers didn't matter, then bands wouldn't bother changing them, or chasing down certain ones.

None of this is to say that U2 don't make their own music.  At the end of the day, the producers' job is to help the band realize the music they want to make.  But there's no way TUF sounds like what it does without Eno and Lanois helping to guide things--even playing on the songs in certain instances.  The line between the musicians and producers at times is extremely nebulous.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 09:33:08 AM by Johnny Feathers »

Offline wons

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Re: Is the band a bit dependent on producers?
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2018, 01:55:21 PM »
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Seriously, what is up with this dogmatic "fans sitting down" drum-beating?  Didn't one thread already get shut down on this topic?

Also, of COURSE bands are dependent on producers.  Sometimes it comes down to producers just offering suggestions: what if you added a verse here, and held off on the chorus until here?  What about adding a pre-chorus?  Sometimes it's more instinctive: think of Brian Eno's push to put Elvis Presley And America on TUF.  The band wasn't recording that song with the intention of it being a final product.  Or his use of the Oblique Strategy cards to get musicians out of their own patterns of thinking and playing.  If producers didn't matter, then bands wouldn't bother changing them, or chasing down certain ones.

None of this is to say that U2 don't make their own music.  At the end of the day, the producers' job is to help the band realize the music they want to make.  But there's no way TUF sounds like what it does without Eno and Lanois helping to guide things--even playing on the songs in certain instances.  The line between the musicians and producers at times is extremely nebulous.

You can tell from the video of the making of the Unforgettable Fire Video that the band is running things often to the frustration of Eno and Lanouis. Although the band are not often credited they probably should get co-producer credit. The Police's first album was produced by the band itself. Each album there after, the Police were co-producers. So a producer can help, but it is not necessarily a necessity. Then there is U2 live and what they do with the music live, which on average, is usually better than what they did in the studio.