One of the giants of the music world passed away yesterday. Phil Ramone, the producer behind Frank Sinatra’s Duets, some of Billy Joel’s biggest hits, amazing albums by Paul Simon (“Still Crazy After All These Years“), Ray Charles (“Genius Loves Company“) and many others. He described his role aptly in his autobiography: “Unlike a director (who is visible, and often a celebrity in his own right), the record producer toils in anonymity. We ply our craft deep into the night, behind locked doors. And with few exceptions, the fruit of our labor is seldom launched with the glitzy fanfare of a Hollywood premiere.”
Yesterday (3/30/13) Billy Joel issued this statement: “I always thought of Phil Ramone as the most talented guy in my band. He was the guy that no one ever, 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.”
Bottom line: a record producer with the vision and skill of Phil Ramone plays a huge role in the music that is the soundtrack of our lives. He or she also plays an invaluable role developing the genius of talented artists — bringing their music to fruition. R.I.P. Phil. You will be so missed.