A & R Recording
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, Don Frey, and Arthur Downs Ward owned the other half.
In the studio he quickly gained a reputation as a sound engineer and music producer, in particular for his use of innovative technology. Among those whose music he has 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, Peter Paul and Mary, Andre Previn, Diane Schuur, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, The Guess Who, Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder. He is also credited with recording Marilyn Monroe‘s intoxicated version of “Happy Birthday to You” to President John F. Kennedy.
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. His breakthrough album became Billy Joel‘s 1977 album The Stranger and began a fruitful collaboration that would lead to 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, withQuincy Jones, the televised A Tribute to Brian Wilson in 2001.