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Record producer Phil Ramone dies at 79

March 30, 2013 at 3:12 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, March 30 (UPI) -- Phil Ramone, a producer-engineer who won 14 Grammys for his work with a who's who of recording artists, died Saturday in New York, his son said. He was 79.

Ramone's son, Matt, told CNN the producer died at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. No cause of death was reported but Ramone -- who worked with Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, among others -- had been hospitalized since last month after suffering an aortic aneurysm, Billboard.biz reported.

A native of South Africa, Ramone was a classically trained violinist who worked as a songwriter, engineer and acoustics specialist before becoming a top music industry engineer and producer.

He produced "A Happening in Central Park" for Streisand, "Blood on the Tracks" for Dylan, "Ram" for McCartney and "Still Crazy After All These Years" for Simon -- one of three projects that earned him a Grammy for Album of the Year. The other two were Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company" and "52nd Street" for Joel.

He produced seven albums in all for Joel, including the singer-songwriter's breakthrough project, "The Stranger."

The list of artists with whom Ramone collaborated also includes Burt Bacharach, Tony Bennett, Etta James, Luciano Pavarotti and Bruce Springsteen.

In a 2005 interview, Ramone told Sound magazine his years as an engineer, observing producers and artists working together, helped him develop a relaxed style in the studio.

"Players are like prodigies, thoroughbreds," he said. "You have to handle them with care."

Ramone served as chairman of the Recording Academy, and was the recipient of a Recording Academy Trustees and Technical GRAMMY Award.

"Our industry has lost an immense talent and a true visionary and genius," Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said in a statement posted at the academy's website. "Everyone who encountered Phil came away a better person for it, professionally and personally."

Ramone is survived by his wife, Karen, and three sons, Matt, BJ and Simon.

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