Phil Ramone was one of the giants of the recording industry, most often associated with soft rock acts like Paul Simon or Billy Joel or acts like Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles or Barbra Streisand. In February he was treated for a heart aneurysm condition, and had been troubled with failing health since this incident.
Ramone’s career was one of the longest one’s in the music business including early sound equipment work when Marilyn Monroe cooed “Happy Birthday” in her most sexy voice to President Kennedy back in 1962.
Way back in 1958, Ramone’s musical genius first presented itself when he founded the A&R Recording studio in Manhattan, and engineered some of the best sounding recordings of the era. Ramone was so versatile that he could do a Stan Getz album one day, and a Lesley Gore album another day. The greatest jazz artists such as John Coltrane and Quincy Jones trusted in his work. Quincy Jones seemed to be inspired by Ramone’s work that he later became a producer himself, producing some artists such as Michael Jackson.
Along with Phil Spector and George Martin, Phil Ramone was considered to be one of the innovative giants of the recording industry.
Much of Ramone’s work ranged from soft rock acts like Carly Simon, The Guess Who, Billy Joel, Karen Carpenter, Elton John, Olivia Newton-John to soul acts like Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole and Stevie Wonder to easy listening and jazz. Ramone was one of the greatest producers of softer music that ever existed, pulling as much as he could out of these musical acts that he engineered and produced. Some artists like Carly Simon was so shy that she had difficulty singing in public. But, Phil Ramone made her feel at ease in the studio, bringing out all of the quality of her excellent voice. He was a true friend to those he produced, having their complete trust.
Some of the greatest albums ever produced have Phil Ramone’s name associated with them. He was a true musical genius, nominated for 33 Grammy Awards, and winning 14 awards during his long career in the music business.
When you picked up a record and Phil Ramone’s name was listed as producer on the cover, you had to buy it. His name was just that good of a trademark of quality. His records were always good.
The South African born record producer became a U.S. citizen and made quite a major mark on the American recording industry, leaving behind an impressive catalog of incredible albums bearing his name as producer and head sound engineer.