Phil Ramone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search
Phil Ramone, June 2009

Philip Ramone (born 5 January 1941 South Africa) is an American recording engineer, record producer, violinist, and composer,[1] who, in 1958, co-founded A & R Recording, Inc., a recording studio at 112 West 48th Street, New York — above what then was Manny's Music. The success of that studio grew into several studios and a record producing company.



As a young child in South Africa, Ramone was a musical prodigy, beginning to play the violin at age three and performing for Queen Elizabeth II at age ten. In the late 1940s he trained as a classical violinist at The Juilliard School, where one of his classmates was Phil Woods. He became a naturalized citizen of the U.S.A. on December 14, 1953.[2]

A & R Recording

In 1959, Ramone established an independent recording studio A & R Recording (the initials were derived from the last initials of Ramone and his then-business partner Jack Arnold). Later the partnership consisted of Brooks Arthur owning a half and Phil Ramone, Don Frey, and Arthur Downs Ward (1922–2002) owning the other half.[3]

In the studio he quickly gained a reputation as a sound engineer and music producer, in particular for his use of innovative technology. Among those whose music he has produced are Clay Aiken, Burt Bacharach, Bono, Laura Branigan, Ray Charles, Karen Carpenter, Chicago, Peter Cincotti, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Sheena Easton, Melissa Errico, Gloria Estefan, Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Elton John, Quincy Jones, Patricia Kaas, B. B. King, Julian Lennon, Madonna, Barry Manilow, Richard Marx, Paul McCartney, George Michael, Liza Minnelli, Anne Murray, Olivia Newton-John, Sinéad O'Connor, Fito Páez, Luciano Pavarotti, Peter Paul and Mary, Andre Previn, Diane Schuur, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, The Guess Who, Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder. He is also credited with recording Marilyn Monroe's intoxicated version of "Happy Birthday to You" to President John F. Kennedy[4].

The technical innovations Ramone introduced include optical surround sound for movies, and digital recording techniques.

Compact disc pioneer

October 1, 2012, marked the thirtieth anniversary of the world's first commercially marketed compact disc. On that date in 1982, A & R Recording released a digital compact disc version of Billy Joel's 52nd Street in Japan, alongside Sony's CD player CDP-101.[5]

Other Professional Activities

In addition to producing music, Ramone has numerous concert, film, Broadway and television productions to his credit that include “A Star is Born”, “August Rush”, “Beyond the Sea”, “Flashdance”, “Ghostbusters”, “Midnight Cowboy”, “On Her Majesty's Secret Service”, “Passion”, “Seussical”, “Simon and Garfunkel: The Concert In Central Park”, Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards, “The Score”, VH1/BBC “Party at the Palace: Queen’s Jubilee Concert”, and “The Good Thief”[6].

Other innovations

Ramone introduced optical surround sound for movies.

His book, Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music, written with Chuck Granata, was released on October 9, 2007.

Also in October 2007, Ramone produced a limited engagement performance of Richard Vetere's Be My Love: The Mario Lanza Story. The play was directed by Charles Messina and co-produced by Sonny Grosso. It premiered at The Tilles Center in Greenvale, NY.[7]

On July 8, 2008 Columbia records released The Stranger 30th Anniversary, which features interviews with Ramone. This box set includes a remastered version of the 1977 Billy Joel album, The Stranger by Ramone.

In the summer of 2009, Ramone produced Gershwin Across America, a tribute album to the music of George and Ira Gershwin. The album features Jewel, Jason Mraz, Darius Rucker, and Paul Simon among others.

In 2011 Phil Ramone is working with George Michael, during his 2011 Symphonica Tour.


Ramone has been nominated for 33 Grammy awards, winning 14 awards and a technical Grammy for a lifetime of innovative contributions to the recording industry.

He also won an Emmy Award in 1973 as sound mixer for "Duke Ellington...We Love You Madly", a tribute to Duke Ellington broadcast on CBS.

Ramone has been awarded honorary degrees by Five Towns College, Berklee College of Music, and Skidmore College. He is also on the Berklee's Board of Trustees.

He was awarded a Fellowship by the Audio Engineering Society in 2007.


Phil is married to Karen Ichiuji-Ramone.

See also


Further reading

External links