phil ramone (1934 – 2013)

Professional career

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.[8]

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 AikenBurt BacharachThe BandBonoLaura BraniganRay CharlesKaren CarpenterChicagoPeter CincottiNatalie ColeBob DylanSheena EastonMelissa ErricoGloria EstefanAretha FranklinBilly JoelElton JohnQuincy JonesPatricia KaasB. B. KingJulian LennonShelby LynneMadonnaBarry ManilowRichard MarxPaul McCartneyGeorge MichaelLiza MinnelliAnne MurrayOlivia Newton-JohnSinéad O’ConnorFito PáezLuciano PavarottiPeter Paul and MaryAndre PrevinDiane SchuurCarly SimonPaul SimonFrank SinatraRod StewartJames TaylorThe Guess WhoDionne 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.[2]

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-rockpop-rock, and R&B acts such as Peter, Paul, and MaryJames 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 DuetsFrank 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.[9]