Hitmaking Producer Phil Ramone Dead at 72

Streisand, Sinatra, Billy Joel among artists who worked with him
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2013 1:53 PM CDT
Hitmaking Producer Phil Ramone Dead at 72
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.    (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

You may not know his name, but Phil Ramone—one of the most successful music producers of his era—died in a New York hospital this morning at age 72, Billboard reports. He had been admitted late last month with an aortic aneurysm. His incredible career included 14 Grammy awards, the nickname "Pope of pop," and bestselling records with Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, and Ray Charles. He also won an Emmy for a Duke Ellington TV special, the AP reports.

Born in South Africa, he performed the violin for Queen Elizabeth II at age 10, studied at Juilliard as a teenager, and opened a Manhattan recording studio before age 20. Among his biggest successes: Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years, a seven-album relationship with Joel (they were "both lunatics," said Ramone), and Sinatra's comeback album, Duets. His advocated a "relaxed" style in the studio and gave artists "encouragement when needed," he once said. "Players are like prodigies, thoroughbreds. You have to handle them with care." (Read more Producer stories.)

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