When I was a kid, maybe my early teens, I used to get a little confused. For example, I thought that Phil Ramone had some sort of relationship to the Ramones. Sadly, he never produced anything they did; that would’ve been kind of awesome. The Ramones are long defunct, and most of them have passed away. Today, the word came down that legendary producer Phil Ramone has also passed away at 72. Maybe they can collaborate at the great rock concert in the afterlife.
Sometimes, an artist is only as good as his/her/their producer can make him/her/them sound. Phil Ramone could make anyone sound good. I’m not going to list the many different artists Ramone worked with (but you can find a pretty comprehensive list here). Suffice it to say that over the course of his nearly 60 year career, Phil Ramone worked with just about everybody. He didn’t limit himself to any one genre, but much of his work was in pop/rock and jazz. Ramone also pioneered a lot of innovation in recording, including being one of the first to use digital recording (for better or worse). He was one of the greats, and I know he’ll be missed.
One of his huge successes was Billy Joel’s The Stranger, released in 1977. It is one of Joel’s finest albums, and it probably wouldn’t have been half as good with any other producer.