Legendary Music Producer Phil Ramone Dies at 79

Posted on March 30, 2013

Legendary songwriter, engineer and music producer Phil Ramone has died at the age of 79, reports CNN. Reports say Ramone was hospitalized in February with an aortic aneurysm, and died today.

Ramone collaborated with some of the biggest names in music, producing albums for Barbra Streisand (A Star Is Born), Billy Joel (Glass Houses), Paul Simon (One Trick Pony), Paul McCartney (Press To Play and Flowers In The Dirt), Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Chicago, Natalie Cole, James Taylor, Luciano Pavarotti, Madonna and John Legend. The list of hit singles he produced really is staggeringly long. He also recorded Ramone Marilyn Monroe's infamous rendition of "Happy Birthday to You" sung to President John F. Kennedy in 1962, and won an Emmy for producing "Liza With a Z."

Born in South Africa, he was a child prodigy who played violin for Queen Elizabeth II twice: once when he was three years old and once when he was ten. He went to Juilliard, but discovered that he loved the technical side of music production better than performing. He continued to write songs, co-writing the song "Imagination" from the Flashdance soundtrack. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010. He founded his own record company at the age of 20.

Phil is survived by a wife and three sons. Tributes from his friends and colleagues are pouring on on Twitter. Josh Groban tweeted, "I'm filled with sadness at the news of Phil Ramone's passing. He was a great friend and made music the right way." Michael Buble said R.I.P. #PhilRamone My life was better for knowing him and the world is worse off without him. We'll miss you." John Legend tweeted, "RIP Phil Ramone. Legendary producer. I feel fortunate to have had the chance to work with him." Rob Thomas tweeted, "R.I.P. #PHILRAMONE we have lost one of music's greatest producers. a true pioneer and a great man."