Phil Ramone

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Phil Ramone (2009)

Philip "Phil" Ramone (born January 5, 1934 in South Africa , † March 30, 2013 in New York City ) was an American owner of recording studios , sound engineer and music producer .


He started playing the violin at the age of three , and in 1951 the talented Ramone played in a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II. In the same year 1951, his music teacher rightly complained that he did not read the music from sheet music while playing the violin , but played by heart. At RCA he worked on January 15 and December 28, 1953 in orchestras with recording sessions for the television series Kate Smith Hour . On December 14, 1953, the South African received US citizenship. From 1954 he attended the famous Juilliard School of Music , where he received a classical violin training and the jazz clarinetist Phil Woods was his classmate.

First experiences in the recording studio

His first job in the recording studio was violin recording at New York's JAC Recording Studios for demo purposes . These recording studios belonged to Jack Arnold (piano) and Charles Leighton (Jack and Charles) and were located in Leighton's penthouse apartment. Here Ramone got to know the studio work and Quincy Jones , who aroused his interest in jazz . Penniless, Ramone obtained $ 4,000 and rented space with Jack Arnold in November 1958 at 112 West 48 Street, only 14.6 by 11.5 meters and originally used for commercials. Arnold became Ramone's partner. They named the independent recording studios A&R Recording Inc. after the first letters of their last names. Initially there were two Ampex tape machines (Ampex 300, three-track and 350 two-track). His founding partner Jack Arnold was often absent due to illness and was represented by his son. In December 1958, A&R took on Bill Schwartau as chief engineer, Arthur Downs Ward was president and Ramone was vice-president of the recording studio. The first major album for A&R and Ramone's breakthrough was the album The Genius of Ray Charles , produced between May 6 and June 23, 1959 , produced by Jerry Wexler and arranged by Quincy Jones; Ramone assisted the sound engineers Tom Dowd and Bill Schwartau (published in October 1959, number 17 on the US LP charts). Although Atlantic Records had its own famous recording studios, this LP was recorded in the A&R studios because Tom Dowd was convinced of the sound. In Ramone's new studio, the ceiling was 3.65 meters high, which gave the recordings space and depth.

The 1960s

The next milestone was John Coltrane's last jazz album again for Atlantic Records , Olé Coltrane , which was leveled by Ramone on May 25, 1961 and was only released on the market in February 1962. Brooks Arthur then took over Arnold's 50% stake. Ramone installed the sound system and performed the soundcheck at President Kennedy's early birthday party on May 19, 1962 (10 days before the actual 45th birthday) in Madison Square Garden , so that Marilyn Monroe could say " Happy Birthday, Mr. President .. " , accompanied by the Hank Jones orchestra, was able to sing in front of 15,000 amused guests. He then produced the Quincy Jones LP Big Band Bossa Nova on September 13, 1962 .

For Lesley Gore , the single hits It's my Party (recorded on March 30, 1963; ranked # 1 on the US single hit parade ), Judy's Turn to Cry (May 14, 1963; # 5) and 1964 You Don were created under his supervision 't Own me (December 1963; # 2). Ramone was a sound engineer at Lesley Gore alongside producer Quincy Jones; by way of overdubbing , she sang again over her original voice, which had already been pre-produced in the Bell Sound Recording Studio . It gave Ramone his first top hit as a sound engineer.

In the A&R studios, Ramone's first hit was produced as a producer, the single More (May 27, 1963) for Kai Winding , who was able to advance to number 8 on the US hit parade with this instrumental hit. Ramone leveled the LP Jazz For Playboys (February 5, 1963) and the EP !!! More !!! for Kai Winding under producer Creed Taylor. (May 31, 1963) a. On October 3, 1963, Kai Winding recorded Time is on my Side , which was remarkable in several ways . In the background of the recording, produced by Creed Taylor, a choir sang with Cissy Houston , Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick , and it later became a hit with the Rolling Stones . Winding's trombone took on the role of singer in these instrumental pieces.

On 8./9. and February 27, 1963 Ramone leveled the LP Jazz Samba Encore for Stan Getz / Luiz Bonfá ! a. On 9/10 In May 1963 Phil was the sound engineer for Antônio Carlos Jobim's LP Quiet Nights . Stan Getz (tenor saxophone) stood again, this time with Astrud Gilberto - who wasn't the greatest singer - on March 18 and 19, 1963 in 5 takes for the LP The Girl from Ipanema with the eponymous bossa nova classic The Girl from Ipanema (March 19, 1963) at A&R in front of the microphones ( Creed Taylor produced with composer Antonio Carlos Jobim / piano, Otavio Bailly / bass and Milton Banana / drums). The album won a Grammy for “Best Engineered Recording 1964” - the first major honor for Ramone. Between November 2nd and 3rd, 1964, most of the Donald-Byrd- LP Up With Donald Bird was created at A&R Recording, on November 22nd, 1963 the Woody-Herman- LP Satin Doll was recorded. Wes Montgomery immortalized his LP Movin 'Wes (November 11/16, 1964) here.

First contacts with the important pop music composer Burt Bacharach came about when he recorded the single Trains And Boats And Plains / Don't Go Breaking my Heart in London on February 8, 1965 . The distorted electric piano on the A-side was due to the poor British recording quality, and even the Ramone, which was flown in especially, couldn't improve it. A few months later, a successful partnership was to develop between Ramone and Bacharach.

In September 1966, Ramone recorded the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra jazz albums Presenting Thad Jones ( Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orchestra) and Joe Williams and Thad Jones (Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orchestra) in his A&R studios. Jones and Lewis performed live with their jazz band at Village Vanguard on April 28, 1967, which Ramone immortalized for an LP of the same name. Ramone and Brooks Arthur supervised 9 tracks for the young Neil Diamond from February 1966, released on October 29, 1966 on the LP The Feel of Neil Diamond ( Solitary Man , February 1966 or Kentucky Woman , September 1967), I'm a Believer (February 1967) and I Got the Feelin ' (September 1967).

Dionne Warwick - I Say A Little Prayer

From 1966, Burt Bacharach came to the A&R studios more often after he had not booked the Bell Sound Studios previously used for Dionne Warwick . Their seventh LP Here Where There is Love (contained the single hits I Just Don't Know What to do With Myself and Alfie ) was the first in the collaboration between Ramone as a sound engineer and Bacharach / Warwick, and was released on December 4, 1966 released. On April 9, 1966, A&R produced the million seller I Say a Little Prayer as part of the Warwick LP The Windows of the World , which was recorded on April 9, 1966, April 13, 1966 and June 6, 1966 and only in August 1967 appeared. The sessions with her were orchestrated with 8 violins and 2 violas and cellos each. The brass section, which was used in tandem with the strings, was just as important. In Warwick recordings, the drums were not as dominant as is usual in popular music. Bacharach arranged, conducted, produced and played piano on the single, which was only released in October 1967. This was followed by the LP Valley of the Dolls (hits Do You Know the Way to San Rosé , July 6, 1967 and the title song), recorded on April 13, 1966, June 6, 1966 and July 6, 1967. The LP Promises Promises was created on July 7, 1968, September 1 and 2, 1968 and won a Grammy for "Best Score from Original Cast Album". A & R produced a total of 8 hit singles by Dionne Warwick with such a strong voice that overdubbing was not necessary. They were mostly live recordings, i.e. without a previously recorded music track . After stopping at other studios, she only returned to A&R in 1972 for her LP Dionne .

In the meantime the LPs What's new, Pussycat? (from the film of the same name, which was released on June 22, 1965) with the title song (sung by Tom Jones , produced by Ramone in 1965; in Germany: What's new, Pussy? ) and Casino Royale (premiere on April 14 1967; produced by Ramone). On February 22nd and 28th, 1967, Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass recorded the score for the Bond satirical Casino Royale in Los Angeles, the film premiered on April 13th, 1967 in London. In early 1967 Ramone traveled to England to record the LP The Look of Love with Dusty Springfield at Phillips London Studios (and not at CTS Cine Tele Sound ) . It was written between January 21 and 29, 1967, the title song on the evening of January 29, 1967.

The 1970s

In early 1969, A&R Recordings moved to larger premises on 799 7th Avenue, the former Columbia Studios. However, Columbia had cleared the studios and removed all equipment before the sale. A total of three studios were housed here, which Ramone financed through bank loans. A number of jazz LPs were initially created here, such as Grady Tates LP Feeling Life (January 29/30, 1969 and February 4, 1969), Sonny Sharrock's LP Black Woman (A-side; May 16, 1969), recordings for Herbie Mann (LP Memphis Two Step ; August 8, 1969) or Ron Carter (LP Uptown Conversation ; October 6/7, 1969). Led Zeppelin traveled from London to have the 2nd album (hits: Whole Lotta Love and Heartbreaker ) leveled between May 20, 1969 and May 23, 1969 . This was followed by recordings for Van Morrison's LP Moondance (August to November 1969). Louis Armstrong had Ramone We Have All The Time in the World level it at A&R Recording on October 23, 1969, while the Bond film was still in the editing process. Composer John Barry conducted an American orchestra for the first time in Bond history.

Billy Joel - Honesty

He produced the soundtrack LP Midnight Cowboy by John Barry (released on May 25, 1969), whose single hit Everybod's Talkin ' by Harry Nilsson (November 8, 1967, included on Nilsson's LP Aerial Ballet in August 1968) but not with Ramones Participation had arisen. From October 22, 1970, A&R was involved in the recording sessions of Paul - & - Linda-McCartney -LP Ram (ranked 1 in Great Britain; single: Uncle Albert ), which lasted until July 22, 1971. Richard "Groove" Holmes recorded the single Theme From Love Story on May 19, 1971, Peggy Lee was released at the Capitol Tower Hollywood recording studio for the LP Where Did They Go (April 5/6 and May 11, 1971) with Ramone as Sound engineer. Mother Earth 's blues rock LP of the same name was created on June 25, 1971, Delaney & Bonnie even named their LP recorded here on July 22, 1971 after the studios: A&R Recording Studios . The old companion Quincy Jones immortalized his own album in 1971 with the title Smackwater Jack , which Ramone produced and leveled at A&R (released in October 1971).

Dionne Warwick returned in 1972 for her LP Dionne . Paul Simon had Ramone oversee his single Me And Julio Down By the Schoolyard (January to March 1971), then Ramone was the sound engineer for Simon's LP There Goes Rhymin 'Simon (released May 5, 1973). Paul Simon used Ramone as a "factual producer" to musically distance Simon's solo albums from Simon & Garfunkel . The next two LPs Paul Simon in Concert: Live Rhymin ' (released in March 1974) and Still Crazy After All These Years (single: 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover is Simon's biggest solo success; released October 1975) were made with Ramones Participation; the latter album took 9 months to produce and won a Grammy for "Album of the Year". Bob Dylan recorded in Studio A from September 16, 1974 to September 19 and October 8, 1974 the LP Blood on the Tracks with Ramone (January 1975). Billy Joel became one of the most important studio tenants, because the LPs The Stranger (single: Just the Way You Are ; July – August 1977; rank 2) and 52nd Street (July to August 1978; “Album of the Year”; single: Honesty) ; Rank 1) and Glass Houses (released March 10, 1980; Rank 1) were made at A&R Studios.

Chicago had James William Guercio as the main producer , but the less successful LPs Hot Streets (single: Alive Again ; May to June 1978) and the most unsuccessful studio album Chicago 13 (May to June 1979) were produced by Ramone.

The 1980s

Paul McCartney - Once Upon A Long Ago

Almost Billy Joel's entire repertoire was recorded with the assistance of Ramone. So the other LPs Songs in the Attic (June to July 1980; released September 1981) and An Innocent Man (early 1983; singles: Uptown Girl , Tell Her About It and The Longest Time ). Simon & Garfunkel's famous live LP The Concert in Central Park (September 19, 1981) was co-produced by Ramone. The live LP, released in February 1982, was the world's most successful LP with 2 million copies with Ramone's participation.

On October 1, 1982, the LP 52nd Street, produced in his studio between July and August 1978, was released by Billy Joel as the first commercial CD , which was already released on October 13, 1978. Julian Lennon entrusted his debut album Valotte (February to August 1984; single: Too Late For Goodbyes , released October 1984) to the more experienced Ramone. Joel's LP The Bridge (released July 1986; Singles: This is the Time and A Matter of Trust ) was the last album Ramone produced for him. Paul McCartney had his single Once Upon a Long Ago (November 1987, ranked 10 in Great Britain) produced by Ramone (longtime Beatles producer George Martin was just a mixer). In 1989 Ramone supervised the production of four previously unreleased titles by the sibling duo Carpenters from 1978 to 1982 for the LP Lovelines . The Barbra Streisand -LP Till I Loved You (published Oct. 25, 1989) came from the A & R Studios.

The 1990s and after

Frank Sinatra had his LP Duets leveled at Capitol Records (Studio A) by Ramone between August and September 1993. The album was criticized because Sinatra's duet partner did not record synchronously with him, but based their singing in other studios on his pre-produced vocal parts. One year later, Sinatra's LP Duets II was released in November 1994 . The LP Karen Carpenter contained recordings between 1979 and 1980 and was released in October 1996. From 1997 Patricia Kaas visited his studios, followed by recordings for the Burt Bacharach LP One Amazing Night (new cover versions of Bacharach compositions; 1998). The live performance of Liza Minnelli at the Palace Theater on December 27, 1999 was produced by Ramone. On October 20 and 21, 2000 he produced the live performance of Elton John and Kiki Dee , immortalized on the LP One Night Only (with their remake of Don't Go Breaking My Heart at Madison Square Garden). Most of the songs on Rod Stewart LP It Had to Be You were produced by Ramone (October 2002). Liza Minnelli's live show on June 2, 2002 was produced as LP Liza's Back by Ramone. For Ray Charles, his artistic life came to an end in the Ramone recording studios. He had been involved in the first LP by Ray Charles, Ramone should also produce his last LP Genius Loves Company (June 2003 to March 2004). Charles passed away shortly afterwards on June 10, 2004. Paul Simon returned to Ramone for the album So Beautiful or so What (released April 8, 2011), Tony Bennett released his LP Duets II (September 20, 2011) immortalized by Ramone, who has been producing for over 50 years.

Ramone, now 70 years old, produced the jazz classic Body and Soul for Amy Winehouse & Tony Bennett at Abbey Road Studios on March 23, 2011, Amy's last studio recording before her death on July 23, 2011. The single was released posthumously on March 14, 2011 Launched September 2011. In 2013 he and George Michael produced his album Symphonica , which was dedicated to him posthumously in 2014.

Innovative studio technology and reception

In 1966 he built the United Artists sub-label Solid State with Sonny Lester and Manny Albam , which existed until 1969. A&R Recordings was the first independent recording studio in the USA with 4-track technology. In October 1970, A&R opened the first satellite-based recording studios in Jacksonville (Florida) and later in other cities. Ramone was the first to use Dolby 4-track in 1976 for the soundtrack A Star is Born (LP by Barbra Streisand; released November 1976) and Dolby Surround for the soundtrack One Trick Pony by Paul Simon (August 1980). In May 1986 Ramone was the first producer to use the Dolby Spectral Recording (SR) process in his studio for the soundtrack to "Ruthless People" (German title: The incredible kidnapping of crazy Mrs. Stone ). He produced the first high definition television show Liza Minnelli: Live From Radio City Music Hall (November 10, 1992). He sold his production company A & R Recordings in 1989 , but continued to work as a music producer or sound engineer.

Ramone is considered to be one of the most technically and creatively versed music producers and has set benchmarks across all styles, whether in rhythm and blues , country music , jazz or pop music . That earned him the unspoken title of "Pope of Pop Music". His understanding of technology revolutionized the recording studio when he was the first to introduce the Dolby four-track discrete sound system, try out fiber optics or digital live recordings.

He received awards like no other studio owner before him. Out of 33 nominations, he received 15 Grammy Awards , three of which related directly to his profession: 1965 “Best Engineered Recording” for the Getz / Gilberto Jazz LP, 1966 “Best Engineered Recording” for the Thad Jones jazz album, in 1981 he was "Producer of the Year". He also received an Emmy (1973 as a sound mixer for " Duke Ellington ... We Love You Madly"). Ramone wrote the book "Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music," which was published in October 2007.

Musicians produced by Phil Ramone

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Phil Ramone Dies at 79; Helped Music's Stars Shine obituary in the New York Times, March 30, 2013 (accessed March 31, 2013)
  2. ^ Obituary , CNN, March 31, 2013.
  3. Keynoter Profile: Phil Ramone , Billboard Magazine of March 21, 1998, p. 84.
  4. Interview with Phil Ramone , JazzWax, November 8, 2010.
  5. ^ Phil Ramone, Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music , 2007, p. 117
  6. Billboard Magazine, December 15, 1958, p. 81.
  7. Vladimir Simosko / Barry Tepperman, Eric Dolphy: A Musical Biography & Discography , 1979, p. 57
  8. The bass player is controversial in the specialist literature
  9. History of The Girl from Ipanema ( Memento of the original from May 16, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. a b Jim Cogan / William Clark, Temples of Sound , 2003, p. 190.
  11. ^ John Burlingame, The Music of James Bond , 2012, p. 65.
  12. ^ John Burlingame, The Music of James Bond , 2012, p. 89.
  13. ^ Marc Eliot, Paul Simon: A Life , 2010, p. 120.
  14. Marc Eliot, Paul Simon: A Life , 2010, p. 141.
  15. ^ The single Just The Way You Are received a Grammy for Record of the Year
  16. Michael Brocken, Bacharach: Maestro! The Life of a Pop Genius , 2003, p. 133
  17. Billboard Magazine, October 24, 1970, p. 10.
  18. Dolby SR Used Commercially by Phil Ramone , Billboard Magazine June 7, 1986, p. 59.
  19. ^ Frank Hoffman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound Volume 1 , 2004, p. 891.
  20. ^ Tribute to Phil Ramone on September 20, 2000 before the US House of Representatives , Congressional Record vol. 146 part 13, p. 18775.