In this Oct. 6, 2008 photo, Arts Advocacy Award honoree Phil Ramone attends the 2008 National Arts Awards presented by Americans For The Arts at Cipriani's 42nd St. in New York
(Photo: Evan Agostini, AP)
The list of music stars who enlisted producer and engineer Phil Ramone read like a who's who of 20th century pop icons, from Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to Paul Simon and Billy Joel. So when it was announced that Ramone had died on Saturday, at 79, it didn't take long for musicians to weigh in with tributes.
Many expressed their regrets and appreciation on Twitter, among them Bette Midler ("Phil Ramone, a giant in the recording world; kind beyond words. Goodbye...") and Josh Groban ("I'm filled with sadness at the news of Phil Ramone's passing. He was a great friend and made music the right way.").
Moby called Ramone "one of my favorite people on the planet, unbelievably talented and unbelievably kind and decent," while John Legend tweeted, "I feel fortunate to have had the chance to work with him." Songwriter to the stars Diane Warren: "One of the GREATS. Please send your prayers his way."
Bennett posted on a statement on his Facebook page, noting that Ramone "had a wonderful sense of humor and a deep love of music. Phil had the admiration and respect from everyone in the entertainment industry and his passing is a great loss."
Joel, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Barbra Streisand also issued statements.
"Phil had impeccable musical taste, great ears and the most gentle way with of bringing out the best in all the artists he worked with," Streisand noted. "The monumental recordings he produced will endure for all time."
And Wonder said, "What a heart break to all of us who knew him and loved him. What a great man, what a kind spirit, such an incredible producer. The star of stars behind the stars. Phil will be missed always. Truly a tragic loss for us on earth but what a wonderful blessing for heaven. As I've always said, Love you Phil, God Bless."
"There aren't enough words to express how heavy my heart is with the news of the passing of my dear friend and brother Phil Ramone," Quincy Jones said in a statement. Ramone worked on all of Jones' albums, including the recent Soul Bossa Nova and Q's Jook Joint.
"Phil was a collaborator in the studio and a friend in life for more than 50 years" Jones said. "Whenever I was in the studio recording, if Phil wasn't there by my side it would seem like one ingredient was missing. Today we lost one of the true musicians, innovators and geniuses of the record industry. His immense talents were only surpassed by the gigantic size of his heart, and I will miss him terribly."
Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy, noted that Ramone had won 14 Grammys, including producer of the year in 1980 and three best album trophies for work with Paul Simon, Ray Charles and Billy Joel.
"Our industry has lost an immense talent and a true visionary and genius, and The Academy has lost a very dear and close friend," Portnow said in a statement. Ramone "was a prolific and legendary producer, engineer, and composer who made countless significant contributions to the recording industry. As co-founder of A&R Recordings, he was a pioneer of audio technological developments, creating new innovations for the compact disc and surround sound technologies.
"His impressive career spanned all genres, in which he collaborated with a diverse group of artists including Tony Bennett, Etta James, Paul McCartney, Luciano Pavarotti, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and numerous others," Portnow said, "Everyone who encountered Phil came away a better person for it, professionally or personally."
Elysa Gardner USA TODAY