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Phil Ramone (Phil Ramone)

Phil Ramone

Ramone was born in South Africa and grew up in Brooklyn, New York, USA. As a child in South Africa, Ramone was a musical prodigy, beginning to play the violin at age three and performing for Princess Elizabeth at age ten. In the late 1940s he trained as a classical violinist at the Juilliard School, where one of his classmates was Phil Woods. Ramone opened his own recording studio before he was 20. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States on December 14, 1953.  In 1959, Ramone established an independent recording studio A & R Recording (the initials were derived from the last initials of Ramone and his then-business partner Jack Arnold). Later the partnership which owned the studio consisted of Brooks Arthur owning half while Ramone, Donald Frey and Arthur Downs Ward (1922–2002) owned the other fifty percent. In the studio he quickly gained a reputation as a good sound engineer and music producer, in particular for his use of innovative technology. Among the performers whose music Ramone produced are Clay Aiken, Burt Bacharach, The Band, Bono, Laura Branigan, Ray Charles, Karen Carpenter, Chicago, Peter Cincotti, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Sheena Easton, Melissa Errico, Gloria Estefan, Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Elton John, Quincy Jones, Patricia Kaas, B.B. King, Julian Lennon, Shelby Lynne, Madonna, Barry Manilow, Richard Marx, Paul McCartney, George Michael, Liza Minnelli, Anne Murray, Olivia Newton-John, Sinéad O’Connor, Fito Páez, Luciano Pavarotti (including the Pavarotti and Friends Charity Concerts in Modena Italy), Peter, Paul and Mary, June Pointer, André Previn, Diane Schuur, Michael Sembello, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, The Guess Who, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder and Nikki Yanofsky. He is also credited with having recorded Marilyn Monroe’s intoxicated version of “Happy Birthday to You” to President John F. Kennedy.  In 1972, management of A & R included Robert Gerics (general manager & studio manager), Nick Diminno (studio manager), and Irving Joel (chief engineer). The studio was located at 322 West 48th Street.

His early work in producing and engineering was with jazz artists, working on John Coltrane records and acting as engineer for the landmark Getz/Gilberto album in 1964, for which he won his first Grammy. He transitioned during the 1960s to working with folk-rock, pop-rock, and R&B acts such as Peter, Paul and Mary, James Taylor, Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan, first primarily as an engineer, and later as a producer. He won his first production Grammy for his work on 1975’s Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon. He produced Billy Joel’s 1977 album The Stranger and began a fruitful collaboration with Ramone producing a string of hit Joel albums throughout the rest of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1993, he produced Duets, Frank Sinatra’s comeback album, a commercial hit that peaked at #2 on the Billboard Album Chart. During the rest of the 1990s, Ramone moved from production work to his primary role as an industry executive, serving as chairman of The Recording Academy, though he would still be involved in some studio work including several Broadway cast recordings, as well as helping produce, with Quincy Jones, the televised A Tribute to Brian Wilson in 2001. Ramone was a founding member of META (the Music & Engineering Technology Alliance).  October 1, 2014, marked the thirty-second anniversary of the world’s first commercially marketed compact disc. On that date in 1982, A & R Recording released a digital compact disc version of Billy Joel’s 52nd Street in Japan, alongside Sony’s CD player CDP-101.  Ramone introduced optical surround sound for movies. His book, Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music, written with Chuck Granata, was released on October 9, 2007. Also in October 2007, Ramone produced a limited engagement performance of Richard Vetere’s Be My Love: The Mario Lanza Story. The play was directed by Charles Messina and co-produced by Sonny Grosso. It premiered at The Tilles Center in Greenvale, New York. Ramone was hospitalized in late February 2013 with an aortic aneurysm. He died of complications from surgery related to the aortic aneurysm. on March 30, 2013, at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan at the age of 79.

More Images

  • ramone - Phil Ramone in New York in 1997.

  • Ramone 1 -

Born

  • January, 05, 1934
  • South Africa

Died

  • March, 30, 2013
  • USA
  • New York, New York

Cause of Death

  • complications from surgery

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