‘A real dripping, nighttime record’: Daniel Lanois remembers Bob Dylan collaboration on Oh Mercy

For Daniel Lanois, producing an album can typically be about “the documenting of time, and what’s going on in people’s lives — emotionally and otherwise.” And with Bob Dylan, that time was typically after sundown.

And in that atmosphere, which gave Dylan’s 1989 comeback triumph Oh Mercy its darkly intriguing quailty, Lanois says there is a difference sense of pacing.

“Late at night, we are satisfied with slower rhythm,” Lanois tells Pharrell Williams. “So, if you make a nighttime record — as I did with Bob Dylan, and this Oh Mercy record we made in New Orleans. He didn’t want to work in the day. He said: ‘Daniel, please. Only work at night. If you do mixes, make them at night,’ because he really wanted to make a real dripping, nighttime record. I think there is some truth to it. We chill it at night, and the rhythm is maybe four or five BPM slower. But that’s alright.”

Oh Mercy would make Rolling Stone’s list of Top 50 albums for the 1980s, opening the door for a second collaboration with Dylan on Time Out of Mind, which won 1997 album of the year honors at the Grammys. Oh Mercy reached gold-selling status, a first for Dylan since 1983′s Infidels. Time Out of Mind would go platinum.


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