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Phil Ramone Passes

PHIL RAMONE, 72, the 14-time Grammy-winning producer who worked with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Burt Bacharach in his 50-plus year music business career, died this morning at New York Presbyterian Hospital after being hospitalized in late February with an aortic aneurysm.  The South African native, who  performed violin for Queen Elizabeth II as a 10-year-old, worked as a songwriter in the Brill Building, an engineer and acoustics expert in N.Y. before becoming  arguably the greatest pop producer of his generation. Among his productions: Streisand's live A Happening in Central Park, Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years, Joel's The Stranger, Sinatra's Duets and Charles' final, mega-selling Grammy winner Genius Loves Company. After attending Juilliard School as a teenager, he worked as a songwriter with Quincy Jones, Tom Dowd, Creed Taylor, Lieber & Stoller and Bacharach & David before launching A&R Recording Studios on Seventh Avenue in N.Y., where such albums as Blood on the Tracks were recorded.  In 1964, he engineered the classic bossa nova album, Getz/Gilberto, and co-produced the original Broadway cast album of Bacharach/David's Promises, Promises. He also recorded Marilyn Monroe's rendition of "Happy Birthday" to JFK. More recently, Ramone produced Bennett's Duets II, which featured the last-ever recording by Amy WinehouseThe Recording Academy's Neil Portnow called Ramone  "a pioneer of audio technological developments [who created] new innovations for the compact disc and surround sound technologies... His impressive career spanned all genres." Ramone was previously the Chair of the Academy's Board of Trustees, a MusiCares board member, Co-Chair of the Producers and Engineers Wing and served on the Board of the Grammy Museum. He is survived by wife Karen, and sons Matt, BJ and Simon. (3/30p)

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