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Legendary Producer Phil Ramone Dead at 79




Acclaimed music producer Phil Ramone has died, about a month after being hospitalized with an aortic aneurysm.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ramone died Saturday morning at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He was 79.

Over his long and successful career, Ramone received a total of 33 Grammy nominations and won 14 awards, including a trophy for Producer of the Year in 1981.  Among the many well-known albums he's produced are Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These YearsBilly Joel's The Stranger52nd Street and Glass HousesFrank Sinatra's Duets;Paul & Linda McCartney's RamBob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks and Ray Charles'Genius Loves Company.

Ramone also recorded Marilyn Monroe's famous rendition of "Happy Birthday" that she sang to President John F. Kennedy in 1962.  In 1973, he won an Emmy Award for producing Liza Minnelli's Liza with a Z special.

In the last few years, Phil had worked on such recordings as Simon's So Beautiful or So WhatTony Bennett's Duets albums and Dionne Warwick's Now.

In a statement to ABC News Radio, Billy Joel said, "I always thought of Phil Ramone as the most talented guy in my band. He was the guy that no one ever saw onstage. He was with me as long as any of the musicians I ever played with -- longer than most.  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.  The music world lost a giant today."

In an interview with Music Radar in November, Ramone explained his approach to producing, saying, "You have to be able to run as fast as the artist, capture the magic early on. After a few takes, people start intellectualizing what they’re doing, and it loses something. What’s special happens right away -- so you have to be ready for it.”


 Photo courtesy of latimes.com

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