Social media has been saturated with tributes to Phil Ramone who died over the Easter weekend, writes PSN’s Frank Wells. Throughout his 50-year career in the music industry, Ramone worked with many a who’s who of musicians (often being influential in establishing their careers) including Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Barbra Streisand. He was nominated for 33 Grammy Awards and won 14, including Producer of the Year in 1980, and three Album of the Year accolades in 1976 for Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years, in 1980 for Billy Joel’s 52nd Street and in 2005 for Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company. Ramone also won a Technical Grammy for his lifetime of innovative contributions to the recording industry. Ramone was active in many industry organisations, serving as chairman emeritus of the Board of Trustees of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), co-chairman of the Producers and Engineers Wing, and as a former trustee of the MusiCares Foundation, producing its annual pre-Grammy tribute. He was also an advocate for music education programmes including serving on the boards of the National Mentoring Partnership and the Berklee College of Music. He was a trustee of the National Academy of Popular Music and the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. He is also a founding member of META (The Music & Engineering Technology Alliance).
In a moving tribute in Rolling Stone magazine, Billy Joel wrote: I sometimes think about how different my life would have been if I hadn’t met Phil. I wouldn’t have had the success I had. I would have had a completely different life.”