U2 took "unforgettable" trip to castle for '84 album

Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:47pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When U2 producer Danny Lanois and the band made "The Unforgettable Fire" in 1984, they recorded it at an Irish castle because they wanted a place with history, which Lanois said suited him just fine.

The album, which will be re-released on Tuesday in a remastered 25th anniversary edition, marked the first time U2 worked with Brian Eno and Lanois, two producers who would collaborate with the band several times more, and not always in a conventional studio setting.

Before arriving at Ireland's Slane Castle, an 18th Century structure overlooking the River Boyne, the Canadian-born Lanois had recorded in unusual places and he was ready to lend that expertise to U2 and its singer Bono.

"Bono was looking for a different kind of location, a building that had ghosts in the walls and some kind of a sense of history," Lanois told Reuters. "So that we weren't just in an empty modern warehouse, that we were actually feeling the presence of goings-on from the past," he said.

Over the years, the multi-instrumentalist Lanois has worked everywhere from an excavated Mexican mountaintop to a Victorian mansion in New Orleans, and he said he likes to record in unusual settings because it fosters creativity.

For U2's latest album, the current "No Line on the Horizon," the pair helped produce sessions in a Moroccan "riad," an interior garden open to the sky.

"We enter a location with a sound in mind," Lanois said.

In the case of "Unforgettable Fire," Lanois initially thought Slane Castle's ballroom would be an ideal place to record but found it was too large. So, the band moved to a library where they were surrounded by books, which was more compact and offered better sound quality.   Continued...

<p>The rock group U2, (L-R) The Edge, Adam Clayton, Bono, producer Daniel Lanois and Larry Mullen, pose after winning five Grammy Awards at the 44th annual Grammy Awards February 27, 2002 in Los Angeles. REUTERS/Mike Blake</p>