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Passings: Producer Phil Ramone (1934 - 2013)

Phil Ramone, who produced some of the greatest albums of the 20th Century, has died on Saturday after being admitted to a Manhattan hospital for a brain aneurysm. He was 79 (although some sources are listing his age at 72).

Ramone’s production credits include Barbra Streisand's A Star Is Born, many Billy Joel albums, Paul Simon's There Goes Rhymin’ Simon and Still Crazy After All These Years and Paul McCartney's Press To Play and Flowers In The Dirt along with albums for Frank Sinatra, Chicago, Natalie Cole, Tony Bennet, Neil Diamond, Julio Iglesias, Elton John, Michael Bolton, Liza Minelli, James Taylor and Van Morrison.

Phil Ramone was a child prodigy. He was playing violin at age 3 and at 10 performed for Queen Elizabeth II.

His work on Billy Joel’s The Stranger gave Joel his first major success. Ramone earned himself a Grammy Award for his production of Just The Way You Are. He went on to win 10 Grammy Awards.

As a songwriter Phil Ramone co-wrote the song Imagination from the Flashdance soundtrack.

Ramone was also known for his technical brilliance, being credited with producing what is considered the first major CD release, Billy Joel's 52nd Street. He also introduced optical surround sound for movies

His son Matt, in announcing the death of his father, said Phil was “very loving and will be missed”.

Billy Joel said in a statement "I always thought of Phil Ramone as the most talented guy in my band. So much of my music was shaped by him and brought to fruition by him. I have lost a dear friend – and my greatest mentor."

Ramone's 14 Grammy Awards:
  • 1965 – Best Engineered Recording (non classical) - Getz/Gilberto - Stan Getz and João Gilberto
  • 1970 – Best Musical Show Album - Promises, Promises
  • 1976 – Album of the Year - Still Crazy After All These Years - Paul Simon
  • 1979 – Record of the Year - Just the Way You Are - Billy Joel
  • 1980 – Album of the Year - 52nd Street - Billy Joel
  • 1981 – Producer of the Year (non classical)
  • 1984 – Best Album Of Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special - Flashdance
  • 1995 – Best Musical Show Album - Passion
  • 2003 – Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album - Playin' With My Friends: Bennett Sings The Blues - Tony Bennett
  • 2005 – Album of the Year and Best Surround Sound Album - Genius Loves Company - Ray Charles
  • 2005 - Technical Grammy for a Lifetime of Innovative Contributions to the Recording Academy
  • 2006 – Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album - The Art of Romance - Tony Bennett
  • 2007 – Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album - Duets: An American Classic - Tony Bennett
  • 2012 – Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album - Duets II - Tony Bennett
Major albums produced by Phil Ramone:
  • Calypso in Brass - Harry Belafonte
  • The Art of Romance - Tony Bennett
  • Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool - Tony Bennett
  • Playin' With My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues - Tony Bennett
  • Duets: An American Classic - Tony Bennett
  • Duets II - Tony Bennett
  • Lovelines - Carpenters
  • Genius Loves Company - Ray Charles
  • Genius and Friends - Ray Charles
  • Chicago 13 - Chicago
  • Hot Streets - Chicago
  • Stardust - Natalie Cole
  • Watermark - Art Garfunkel
  • The Stranger - Billy Joel
  • 52nd Street - Billy Joel
  • Glass Houses - Billy Joel
  • An Innocent Man - Billy Joel
  • The Nylon Curtain - Billy Joel
  • The Bridge - Billy Joel
  • One Night Only: The Greatest Hits - Elton John
  • A Night to Remember - Cyndi Lauper
  • Valotte - Julian Lennon
  • The Secret Value of Daydreaming - Julien Lennon
  • Celebrate Me Home - Kenny Loggins
  • Just a Little Lovin' - Shelby Lynn
  • Songs From the Last Century - George Michael
  • Duets: Friends and Legends - Anne Murray
  • Guitar Slinger - Brian Setzer Orchestra
  • Am I Not Your Girl? - Sinead O'Connor
  • There Goes Rhymin' Simon - Paul Simon
  • Paul Simon in Concert: Live Rhymin' - Paul Simon
  • Still Crazy After All These Years - Paul Simon
  • One Trick Pony - Paul Simon
  • So Beautiful or So What - Paul Simon
  • The Concert in Central Park - Simon & Garfunkel
  • Duets - Frank Sinatra
  • Duets II - Frank Sinatra
  • Phoebe Snow - Phoebe Snow
  • Second Childhood - Phoebe Snow
  • Never Letting Go - Phoebe Snow
  • Time Takes Time - Ringo Starr
  • It Had to Be You: The Great American Songbook - Rod Stewart
  • As Time Goes By: The Great American Songbook Volume II - Rod Stewart
  • A Star is Born - Barbra Streisand
  • Till I Love You - Barbra Streisand
  • Mary - Mary Travers
  • Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall - Rufus Wainwright