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April 2, 2013 |Music Notes Blog

Phil Ramone: Legend Behind the Music

Frank Sinatra. Barbra Streisand. Tony Bennett. Ray Charles. Elton John. Billy Joel. Paul Simon. Aretha Franklin. Luciano Pavarotti. Bob Dylan. Bono. Bruce Springsteen. These are names that people the world over know instantaneously and to whose music they’ve grooved joyfully for generations.

Yet, traversing all of these diverse musical styles and giants, helping to lead them (and legions more) to the best performances and albums they could muster, was someone deeply singular but also representative of the brilliance behind the magic.

Phil Ramone was a musical titan, winner of 14 Grammy Awards and the producer of some of the most acclaimed musical moments of all time. From: Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are,” “52nd Street” and “The Stranger” albums; to Frank Sinatra’s “Duets;” to Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years;” to even capturing Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday” to President Kennedy at Madison Square Garden; to countless more over decades of excellence and tens of millions of album sales.

Yes, Phil Ramone was a singular force. But, he also embodied so much more: the brilliance of the producers, the engineers, the composers, the arrangers, the technologists and the musicians who take that painstaking care, the countless hours, the genius of layering and texturing, of passion and skill – so often unsung – that brings that music to fruition and life.

He represented, too, the best of where music meets technology, helping to forge paths that brought forth the CD, fiber optics and surround sound, all in service of bringing the ultimate musical experience to listeners and fans.

By all accounts as unassuming in temperament as his music was majestic, the depth and breadth of the music he helped create will last forever. While the magic that pulls music together in a studio or on a stage will always retain an element of the mystical, Phil Ramone was the ultimate, inspiring reminder of the distinctly human endeavor that lies behind the music that we all love. For he was one of the chief wizards making the beautiful mystery of music occur.

Joel Flatow
GM, West Coast Operations/SVP, Artist & Industry Relations