So sad. One of music’s most decorated producers, a man who worked with Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, Barbra Steisand and more, passed away on Mar. 30.
Phil Ramone, the man behind some of the best American music ever made, died on Mar. 30 at the age of 79. Though his son — who confirmed Phil’s passing — did not state a cause of death, Phil had been admitted to a Manhattan hospital in late February for treatment of an aortic aneurysm.
Phil Ramone: Legendary Music Producer Dies At 79
Phil produced music for some of our most iconic musicians — Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, the list goes on. And though music producers have regularly been strictly behind-the-scenes, Phil was one of the most well-known people in the music industry — and one of the most decorated. He won 14 Grammys in his career, including Producer of the Year in 1981. In 2005, he was awarded a Technical Grammy Award for a lifetime of innovative contributions to the recording industry.
Phil Ramone was born in South Africa and grew up in Manhattan. He started his own recording studio in Manhattan at the ripe age of 24, where he began honing his craft and quickly gained acclaim. Phil became a role model in the producing world, and pioneered technological advancements in recording. He was an advocate of digital recording, and Billy Joel’s 52nd Street was the first ever released on compact disc.
Phil Ramone’s Death: Billy Joel Releases A Statement
Billy and Phil developed an extremely close relationship throughout their years of collaboration — Phil is pictured on the back of Billy’s 1977 album The Stranger and one of Phil’s children is named William, after Billy.
Upon hearing the news of Phil’s tragic death, Billy released a personal statement. “I always thought of Phil Ramone as the most talented guy in my band,” Billy said. “He was with me as long as any of the musicians I ever played with — so much of my music was shaped by him and brought to fruition by him.”
Phil is survived by his wife, Karen and their three children, Simon (named after Paul Simon), William, and Matthew. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
WATCH: 52nd Grammy Awards — Phil Ramone Interview
— Andrew Gruttadaro