Remembering Legendary Music Producer Phil Ramone
LAURA SULLIVAN, HOST:
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Laura Sullivan. Coming up, from the "Last King of Scotland" and "X-Men: First Class," actor James McAvoy.
But first, we'll pay tribute to a legendary music producer we lost this morning. Phil Ramone has died. Ramone was born in South Africa, and he displayed an early talent for music, even playing violin for Queen Elizabeth when he was just 10 years old. He broke into the industry as a jazz recording engineer at the helm of iconic sessions like when American saxophonist Stan Getz met Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA")
ASTRUD GILBERTO: (Singing) Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking...
SULLIVAN: As a producer, Phil Ramone quickly became one of the hottest names in the business, racking up 33 Grammy nominations and 14 awards. I think you'll recognize some of his work.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BIG SHOT")
BILLY JOEL: (Singing) Because you had to be a big shot, didn't you?
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS")
PAUL SIMON: (Singing) Still crazy after all these years...
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "POETRY MAN")
PHOEBE SNOW: (Singing) You're the poetry man.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE LOOK OF LOVE")
DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: (Singing) The look of love...
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN")
FRANK SINATRA: (Singing) I have got you under my skin.
SULLIVAN: Despite his overwhelming success with some of the most important recording artists of the 20th century, Phil Ramone spoke very humbly about his craft in a 2004 interview with NPR's Scott Simon.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)
PHIL RAMONE: You can't be a wise guy and just be so sure. You have to keep listening to where the music and the lyric marry and accompany the artist. That, to me, is 90 percent of not getting into trouble.
SULLIVAN: Today, Billy Joel said in a statement: I always thought of Phil Ramone as the most talented guy in my band. The music world lost a giant today. Producer Phil Ramone, dead at the age of 79.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUST THE WAY YOU ARE")
JOEL: (Singing) I just want someone that I can talk to. I want you just the way you are.