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Phil Ramone, Grammy-winning music producer and engineer, dies at 72

03/30/2013 by Kristina Lopez

Phil Ramone, a Grammy-winning music producer and engineer who recorded with Ray Charles, Billy Joel and more, has died at the age of 72.

Ramone's son, Matt Ramone, confirmed the death to The Associated Press on Saturday, March 30. The family did not release the details of his death but Matt Ramone told the wire service his father was "very loving and will be missed."

Ramone enjoyed a long and diverse career in the music industry and netted 14 competitive Grammy Awards and one Grammy for lifetime achievement. Other artists he worked with included Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Tony Bennett.

Three of the record he produced went on to win Grammy for album of the year including Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years" and Billy Joel's "52nd Street."

Ramone, a pioneer in the music industry's digital realm, produced what is considered the first major commercial release on compact disc, "52nd Street," in 1982. He also helped arrange the 1962 party for John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden which featured Marilyn Monroe famously singing "Happy Birthday."

"I always thought of Phil Ramone as the most talented guy in my band," Billy Joel said in a statement to the AP. "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."

He also worked on producing music for television, film and the stage and won an Emmy for a TV special about Duke Ellington. Some of his 14 Grammy wins included awards for the soundtrack to the Broadway musical "Promises, Promises" and the soundtrack to "Flashdance."

The music legend was a native of South Africa and opened his own recording studio, A&R Recording, before he turned 20. He also produced singles like Barbra Streisand's "Evergreen," Judy Collins' "Send in the Clowns" and Stan Getz's and Astrud Gilberto's "The Girl from Ipanema."

"Phil Ramone was a lovely person and a very gifted musician and producer," Tony Bennett said in a statement to the AP. "He had a wonderful sense of humor and a deep love of music."

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