Phil Ramone Remembered by Billy Joel, Elton John, Bette Midler, and Other Stars

Hollywood Reporter
Phil Ramone Remembered by Billy Joel, Elton John and Other Stars
March 31, 2013


Response to the news of the death of Phil Ramone was instantaneous on Saturday, as the Internet was filled with tributes and remembrances from his colleagues, collaborators and admirers, including Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Josh Groban and many more.

“I always thought of Phil Ramone as the most talented guy in my band,”Billy Joel, who worked with the producer on several albums, said. “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.”

Barbra Streisand said in a statement: “I’m so saddened to learn of Phil’s passing. We first worked together in 1967 when I did a free concert in Central Park. His brilliance at capturing sound was immediately evident. Later we worked together on the film A Star Is Born where Phil was able to record me singing live, including ‘Evergreen.’ In the next decade we worked on the soundtrack to Yentl and many other recordings. Phil had impeccable musical taste, great ears and the most gentle way of bringing out the best in all the artists he worked with. The monumental recordings he produced will endure for all time.”

Quincy Jones, Ramone’s longtime collaborator, said: “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. From Andy Williams and Lesley Gore, to Billy Eckstine, Paul Simon and all of my albums including 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. 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.”

“This is so shocking. I just performed for his tribute in December,” Aretha Franklin said in a statement. “Truly one of the great names in music has gone on, but the melodies will remain.”

Phil Ramone was a lovely person and a very gifted musician and producer,” Tony Bennett said. “He had a wonderful sense of humor and a deep love of music.”

Stevie Wonder called Ramone “the star of stars behind the stars. What a great man, what a kind spirit, such an incredible producer. Truly a tragic loss for us on earth but what a wonderful blessing for heaven.”

Elton John described him as “a friend, a musical genius and the most lovable person. It was a thrill for me to have worked with Phil, and I have so many wonderful memories.”

ASCAP president and singer/songwriter Paul Williams said in a statement: “Phil Ramone was a giant whose love and understanding of songwriting,  combined with his mastery of the recording arts and science led to a lifetime of producing beautiful music.  His legacy of timeless classics includes the seminal work of a long list of iconic songwriters and legendary recording artists. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. While the world has lost a giant his work will live on and be celebrated for all time. Godspeed, my friend.”

“I’m filled with sadness at the news of Phil Ramone’s passing,” Josh Groban tweeted. “He was a great friend and made music the right way.”

“Phil Ramone was the epitome of class,” songwriter Diane Warren wrote in one of several tribute tweets. “And what a true producer should b. Musical. Sensitive. He knew his shit. And was a gentleman.

“One of not only the greatest producers EVER but one of the greatest people EVER.”

The Band’s Robbie Robertson took to Facebook to write “I am deeply saddened to hear my friend Phil Ramone passed away. We first met in 1968 at A&R Studios while The Band was making Music From Big Pink. I am currently doing a new mix on an album we worked on together many years ago. He was a true sonic genius and a brilliant, versatile record producer. They just don’t make ’em like that no more. Blessings.”

STORY: Legendary Music Producer Phil Ramone Dies at 79

Matthew Morrison, the Glee star whose second album was produced by Ramone and is awaiting release, wrote, “Today the music business and the world lost a music icon in Phil Ramone. I am honored that I had the opportunity to work with him on my forthcoming album, which I dedicate to him.”

“Legendary producer,” John Legend wrote. “I feel fortunate to have had the chance to work with him.

Bette Midler kept it personal in her RIP note: “a giant in the recording world; kind beyond words.”

The young jazz singer Nikki Yanofsky, who worked with Ramone on her debut, wrote “RIP Phil Ramone 1st person ever 2 support me SO sad but so happy 2 have known u will never forget u. No 1 will.”

Ben Folds added “Brilliant generous talented man. Shaped and changed recorded music-left trail of inspired people.”

The Oak Ridge Boys used an emoticon for sadness and reminded the word they had work with Ramone and Paul Simon. “ We have never forgotten working with Phil on ”˜Slip Slidin’ Away.’”

Lalah Hathaway, whose last album was produced by Ramone, tweeted “ABSOLUTELY 1 of the best to ever do it. RIP Phil Ramone!”

Stephen Page of Bare Naked Ladies tweeted: “Had the great pleasure of working with him and dining with him. A genius and a mensch. One of the greats.”

Jazz bassist Marcus Miller tweeted “Another giant gone too soon. So sorry to hear of Phil Ramone’s passing. Condolences to his family.”

“Our industry has lost an immense talent and a true visionary and genius,” Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said in a statement. “Everyone who encountered Phil came away a better person for it, professionally and personally.”

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