Legendary record producer and engineer, Phil Ramone, and equally legendary studio guitarist, Hugh McCracken have passed away. Both of these guys made music that I grew up with and that I loved. I never met Hugh but I was lucky enough to work with Phil a few times and he was a real gentleman. Their careers intersected many times over the years as they both worked primarily in the NYC studio scene.
More about them and their work below the fold ...
Ramone was one of the most prolific music producers of his time, as NPR's Sami Yenigun says:From AP:
"The list of musicians Phil Ramone produced reads like a who's who of 20th century musical icons. Paul McCartney Tony Bennett, Barbara Streisand, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Burt Bacharach, Bono, Ray Charles, Andre Previn, Renee Fleming and BB King.
"In a career that spanned over five decades, Ramone racked up 14 Grammy awards and a technical grammy for a lifetime of innovation in the industry. He was a classical violin prodigy who got his start in the industry as a recording engineer. He went on to work in a diverse range of media, producing for film, broadway, and TV."
His credits as a producer, engineer and arranger make it hard to believe they belong to just one person: Joel's "The Stranger," Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years," the Bob Dylan/The Band concert album "Before the Flood," such popular singles as Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant," Streisand's "Evergreen," Judy Collins' "Send in the Clowns" and Stan Getz's and Astrud Gilberto's "The Girl from Ipanema."
The bearded, self-effacing Ramone was among the most famous and welcome faces within the business, yet he could walk down virtually any street unnoticed. He was not a high-strung visionary in the tradition of Phil Spector, but rather a highly accomplished craftsman and diplomat who prided himself on his low-key style, on being an "objective filter" for the artist, on not being "a screamer."
Hugh's list of credits is full of great recordings. Here's a partial list:
McCracken was one of the most sought after session guys on the planet. He played on Paul McCartney ‘Ram’ and Wings ‘Red Rose Speedway’, John Lennon ‘Double Fantasy’, Aretha Franklin ‘Young, Gifted and Black’, Marie Gabrielle, ‘Restless Angel’, Peter Allen ‘Tenterfield Saddle’, Bette Midler’s debut, Hall & Oates ‘Abandoned Luncheonette’, Van Morrison ‘T.B. Sheets’, Paul Simon ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’, Steely Dan ‘Katy Lied’, Billy Joel ‘The Stranger’ as well as other albums for Carly Simon, Foreigner, B.B. King, Roberta Flack, Neil Diamond, Yoko Ono, Graham Parker, Gordon Lightfoot, Janis Ian and Dr John.Here's a more complete list of his credits.
Rest well, gentleman, and thanks for the great sounds.