Music producer Phil Ramone dies at 72
Los Angeles (CNN) — Music producer and engineer Phil Ramone, a technical innovator and winner of 14 Grammys, died Saturday morning in a New York hospital, his son, Matt, told CNN.
The family did not immediately provide a cause of death.
Ramone’s collaboration credits are a Who’s Who of the music industry: Burt Bacharach, Bono, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder, to name a few.
“Our industry has lost an immense talent and a true visionary and genius,” said Neil Portnow, president of The Recording Academy, which had given Ramone a Technical Grammy for his lifetime of innovative contributions to music.
Artists described Ramone, 72, with superlatives.
“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.”
Said Billy Joel: “I always thought of Phil Ramone as the most talented guy in my band…. The music world lost a giant today.”
Ramone was “the star of stars behind the stars,” Stevie Wonder said.
“What a great man, what a kind spirit, such an incredible producer,” Wonder said. “Truly a tragic loss for us on earth but what a wonderful blessing for heaven.”
On Twitter, John Legend called Ramone a “legendary producer.”
Singer-songwriter Rob Thomas also tweeted: “we have lost one of music’s greatest producers. a true pioneer and a great man.”
Ramone made innovations to the compact discs and surround sound technologies, Portnow said.
He worked across all genres of music, and he served as chair of the board of trustees of The Recording Academy. At the time of his death, he was a board member of the Grammy Museum.
Ramone’s collaboration with Ray Charles, Billy Joel and Paul Simon won a total of three Album Of The Year awards, and Ramone won Producer Of The Year (Non Classical) in 1980, The Recording Academy said.
Ramone produced songs and entire soundtracks to several films, including “A Star is Born,” “Flashdance,” “Ghostbusters” and “Midnight Cowboy.”
He worked on Broadway and off-Broadway productions, including “Chicago” and “The Wiz.”
In television, he produced and supervised music for television specials such as the Oscars, Elton John at Radio City Music Hall, “The Jim Henson Hour” and “The Muppets at Walt Disney World.”
According to Ramone’s website listing technical innovations, he was the first to use a solid-state console for recording and mastering solid state records; to use a digital live recording for Billy Joel’s “Songs in the Attic,” “paving the way for the widespread use of the compact disc in the pop music world”; and to use the fiber optics system EDNet to record tracks in “real time” from different locations for Frank Sinatra’s Duets I and II.
CNN’s Denise Quan contributed to this report.