5 Songs You Didn’t Know Brian Eno Wrote for Other Artists

Creator of ambient music. Pioneer of more avant-pop soundscapes. A mastermind behind rock, electronic, and artier productions. Brian Eno is synonymous with all the experimental sounds he’s captured as much as he is for the albums he’s produced and thought-provoking lyrics.

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First venturing into Roxy Music in the early 1970s, adding his synthesized textures to the glam band, and through their first two albums, before parting ways in 1973, Eno explored his own sounds. Early solo offerings Here Come the Warm Jets and Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978) and more woolgathering pieces over a catalog of more than 30 albums showcase his repertoire.

Throughout the 1970s, Eno set the groundwork as a songwriter and producer. This can be seen through his multiple collaborations with David Bowie —from his Berlin Trilogy of albums through Outside with “I’m Afraid of Americans” in 1995 — along with former Roxy bandmate, guitarist Phil Manzanera, King Crimson, and more artists.

By the 1980s the ’90s, Eno’s production spanned Talking Heads, including co-penning their classic “Once in a Lifetime,” along with several albums with U2, John Cale, Bryan Ferry, and more through collaborations with Coldplay, The Killers, Grace Jones, and Damon Albarn, among others, well into the ’00s and 2010s.

A visionary of sound and words, and within varied visual mediums, Eno has written and co-written a lengthy collection of songs over the past 50 years.

Here’s a look at five songs he wrote for other artists.

1. “Luminous Times (Hold on to Love),” U2 (1987)
Written by Brian Eno, Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton

Eno’s working relationship with U2 began with his production of the band’s third album The Unforgettable Fire, and continued on into their more epic Joshua Tree in 1987, and thereafter. Though the album was written entirely by Bono, Eno did co-write one track with the band during the Joshua Tree sessions, “Luminous Times (Hold On To Love),” which was later released on its 20th-anniversary release.

Eno went on to co-produce U2’s Achtung Baby, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and No Line on the Horizon.

She is the gun fire
She is the car crash
She is a avalanche
She is the thunder
She is the waves and
She pulls me under

2. “Some Kind of Love,” The Killers (2017)
Written by Brian Eno, Brandon Flowers, Jacknife Lee

The second single off The Killers‘ fifth album, Wonderful Wonderful, Eno co-wrote the dreamier pop track “Some Kind of Love.” A song frontman Brandon Flowers wrote for his wife Tana, who suffers from PTSD, to try to help boost her spirits, “Some Kind of Love” also features backing vocals from the couple’s three young sons.

“’Some Kind of Love,’ in particular, struck a chord with her,” said Flowers. “That one’s real emotional, because she’s been as low as a person can get. The end of the song is me and my boys singing, I can’t do this alone/We need you at home/There’s so much to see/And we know that you’re strong. It’s really emotional. I played that for her, and she just sobbed. But I’m proud of that one.”

You got the will of a wild
A wild bird
You got the faith of a child
Before the world gets in

You got some kind of love

3. “I Thought,” Bryan Ferry (2002)
Written by Brian Eno and Bryan Ferry

In 1994, Eno worked with Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry for his ninth solo album, Mamouna with the two co-writing “Wildcat Days.” In 2002, the two also reconnected on Ferry’s 11th album, Frantic, for its transfixing close “I Thought.”

I thought – you’d be my streetcar named desire
My way – my taste of wine
I thought – you’d be that flame within the fire
One dream that just won’t die
All night – looking for new love
Impossible true love – nothing at all
Looking for new gods – looking for new blood
Looking for you
I thought – I’d find you walking in the rain
Just like a wayward child
I thought – I’d find you calling out my name
So foolish is my pride

4. “Another Galaxy,” Paul Simon (2006)
Written by Brian Eno and Paul Simon

For his 11th album, Surprise, Paul Simon penned all the tracks with the exception of three, which he co-penned with Eno: “Outrageous,” “Once Upon a Time There Was an Ocean,” and “Another Galaxy.”

Eno is also credited for offering some “sonic soundscape” to the entire album.

On the morning of her wedding day
When no one was awake, she drove across the border
Leaving all the yellow roses on her wedding cake
Her mother’s tears, her breakfast order
She’s gone, gone, gone

There is a moment, a chip in time
When leaving home is the lesser crime
When your eyes are blind with tears but your heart can see
Another life, another galaxy

5. “Paradise” Coldplay (2011)
Written by Brian Eno and Coldplay‘s Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, and Will Champion

Following his production on the band’s 2008 album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, in 2008, Coldplay continued working closely with Eno on their fifth album, Mylo Xyloto.

Eno co-wrote a majority of the 14 tracks on the album, including the hit single “Paradise.”

Lord, I don’t know which way I am going
Which way the river gonna flow
It’s just seems that upstream, I keep rowing
Still got such a long way to go
Still got such a long way to go

Then that light
Hits your eye
I know, I swear
We’ll find somewhere the streets are paved with gold

(Photo by Rob Ball/Redferns via Getty Images)

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