Brian Eno

Pioneering ambient producer Brian Eno was in the news recently when he offered

at auction one of his works to benefit War Child USA's relief efforts in Kosovo.

The piece being auctioned is a limited-edition box set, Antennae #1,

compiled in 1994 for guests of a benefit for relief efforts in Bosnia. The set

includes performances by Tricky, Massive Attack, Portishead and others. The

online auction is open through Monday at

Eno, one of the most influential artists of the past few decades, was born Brian

Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno 51 years ago today in

Woodbridge, England. He attended art school, and his ambient experimentalism was

influenced by composers such as John Tilbury and minimalists such as La Monte


Eno started his career with the rock band Maxwell's Demon. In 1971, he co-

founded Roxy Music and became the group's synthesizer player and musical

conceptualist. Eno worked on the band's self-titled debut and For Your

Pleasure (1973) before quitting due to disagreements with singer Bryan


In 1973, Eno began his collaborations with guitarist/composer Robert Fripp on

the album No Pussyfooting.

Going solo, Eno issued 1973's Here Come the Warm Jets. An LP, including

Nico, John Cale and Kevin Ayers, was culled from his solo tour and released as

June 1, 1974.

He then received attention for creating his deck of tarot-like cards called

"Oblique Strategies," which he used to make career and artistic decisions.

In 1975, Eno founded Obscure Records. Among his releases was Evening

Star, another collaboration with Fripp that included experiments with tape


He also co-produced or musically collaborated on the David Bowie albums

Low, "Heroes" and Lodger. The Bowie LPs, which impressed

critics, were more ambient and synthesizer-oriented than anything the legendary

singer had tried before.

Eno produced landmark LPs by the Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings

and Food, Fear of Music and Remain in Light. He also worked

with bands like Devo and Ultravox.

As a solo artist, Eno recorded ambient LPs including Discreet Music

(1975), Music for Films (1978) and Music for Airports (1978). The

latter was once played regularly in New York City's LaGuardia Airport.

Eno built his reputation with such pop albums as Before and After Science

and his collaboration with Talking Heads' David Byrne on the techno-world music

set, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. The album with Byrne made the U.S.

top 30.

In 1980, Eno became partners with producer Daniel Lanois, with whom he produced

U2 on albums such as The Unforgettable Fire (1984) and The Joshua

Tree (1987) -- the latter established U2 as superstars. Eno later helped the

band plunge into techno music with Achtung Baby (1991) and Zooropa

(1993). Also with Lanois and his own brother, Roger Eno, he released 1983's

outer space-oriented Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks.

In the '90s, Eno released his own albums, including 1992's Nerve Net,

1994's Brian Eno I, 1996's Begegnungen and 1997's The Drop,

which featured "Hazard" (RealAudio excerpt).

Eno produced the 1980 vertical-format video "Mistaken Memories of Medieval

Manhattan" and 1995's "Self-Storage," a multimedia project with Laurie Anderson.

He also has designed a series of audio screen savers for PCs. In 1997 Eno

teamed with Michael Stipe on the spoken-word album by various artists, Man in

the Moon: the Loving Tongue.

Eno has been an innovator in the genres of techno, world music, art rock and


U2 guitarist The Edge said in the 1987 book "U2: Touch the Flame" by Geoff

Parkyn, "[Eno is] a really solid guy and he also agrees with so many of our

unwritten rules about music ... the axioms upon which we judge our music and

other music. He seems to have so many common feelings about things, it's


Other birthdays: Eddy Arnold, 81; Graham Goble (Little River Band), 55; Dennis

Fredericksen (Toto), 48; Mike Oldfield, 46; Andrew Eldritch (Sisters of Mercy),