born on 5/1/1934 in South Africa
died on 30/3/2013 in New York City, NY, United States
Phil Ramone (born 1941) is a South African violinist, composer, recording engineer, and record producer.
As a young child in South Africa, Ramone was a musical prodigy, beginning to play the violin at age three and performing for Queen Elizabeth II at age ten. In the late 1940s he trained as a classical violinist at The Juilliard School, where one of his classmates was Phil Woods.
In 1959, he 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). There 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, 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, 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, and Dionne Warwick. He is also credited with recording Marilyn Monroe's rendition of "Happy Birthday to You" to President John F. Kennedy .
The technical innovations he introduced include optical surround sound for movies, and digital recording techniques. His studio was the first to release music commercially on compact disc; Billy Joel's 52nd Street was the first album to be broadly released on the medium.
His book, Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music, written with Chuck Granata, was released on October 9, 2007.
Also in October 2007, Ramone produced a limited engagement performance of Richard Vetere's Be My Love: The Mario Lanza Story. The play was directed by Charles Messina and co-produced by Sonny Grosso. It premiered at The Tilles Center in Greenvale, NY.
On July 8, 2008 Columbia records released The Stranger 30th Anniversary, which features interviews with Ramone. This box set includes a remastered version of the 1977 Billy Joel album, The Stranger by Ramone.
In the summer of 2009, Ramone produced Gershwin Across America, a tribute album to the music of George and Ira Gershwin. The album features Jewel, Jason Mraz, Darius Rucker, and Paul Simon among others.
In 2011 Phil Ramone is working with George Michael, during his 2011 Symphonica Tour.
Ramone has been nominated for 33 Grammy awards, winning 14 awards and a technical Grammy for a lifetime of innovative contributions to the recording industry.
- 1965 - Best Engineered Recording (non classical), for Getz/Gilberto
- 1970 - Best Musical Show Album for producing Promises, Promises
- 1976 - Album of the Year for producing Still Crazy After All These Years
- 1979 - Record of the Year for producing "Just the Way You Are"
- 1980 - Album of the Year for producing 52nd Street
- 1981 - Producer of the Year (non classical)
- 1984 - Best Album Of Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special, for Flashdance
- 1995 - Best Musical Show Album for producing Passion
- 2003 - Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, for producing "Playin' With My Friends: Bennett Sings The Blues"
- 2005 - Album of the Year and Best Surround Sound Album for producing Genius Loves Company
- 2006 - Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for producing The Art of Romance
- 2007 - Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for producing Duets: An American Classic
He also won an Emmy Award in 1973 as sound mixer for "Duke Ellington...We Love You Madly", a tribute to Duke Ellington broadcast on CBS.
Ramone has been awarded honorary degrees by Five Towns College, Berklee College of Music, and Skidmore College. He is also on the Berklee's Board of Trustees.
He was awarded a Fellowship by the Audio Engineering Society in 2007.
- Gene Lees, Meet Me at Jim & Andy's: Jazz Musicians and Their World, Oxford University Press (November 22, 1990) — Jim and Andy's was a beloved bar/diner downstairs from one of the A&R Studios (next to Manny's on 48th) and has many references to Phil Ramone. The bar had a direct line from A&R Studios and when the studio had a "no-show," Phil Ramone would use the line to inquire whether a substitute musician was available.
- Ramone, Phil; Granata, Charles L., Making records: the scenes behind the music, New York : Hyperion, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7868-6859-9
|Grammy Award for Album of the Year (2000s)|