Phil Ramone,14-Time Grammy Winner Superstar Producer,Dies at 79

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(CNN)-Acclaimed music producer, engineer and technical innovator PHIL RAMONE passed away SATURDAY morning in a NEW YORK hospital at the age of 79, CNN reports. No cause of death has yet been announced for the 14-time GRAMMY winner, although  the L.A. TIMES reports that he was hospitalized last month following an aortic aneurysm.

RAMONE collaborated with a plethora of music superstars , including RAY CHARLES, BOB DYLAN, ARETHA FRANKLIN, PAUL MCCARTNEY, QUINCY JONES, FRANK SINATRA,  STEVIE WONDER, BURT BACHARACH, BONO,  MADONNA, and PAUL SIMON, among many others. More recently, he produced TONY BENNETT‘s “Duets II” set from 2011, when he also reunited with SIMON on the album, “So Beautiful or So What.”

“I always thought of PHIL RAMONE as the most talented guy in my band,” BILLY JOEL noted. “The music world lost a giant today.”

Among RAMONE’s GRAMMYS were Album Of The Year Awards for RAY CHARLES, BILLY JOEL and PAUL SIMON, and Producer Of The Year in 1980. He produced music for several films, including “A Star is Born,” “Flashdance,” “Ghostbusters” and “Midnight Cowboy,” and he worked on Broadway and off-Broadway productions such as “Chicago” and “The Wiz.”

RAMONE also had a hand in a slew of technical innovations. According to his website, RAMONE was the first to use a solid-state console for recording and mastering solid state records; his digital live recording of BILLY JOEL’s “Songs in the Attic,” paved “the way for the widespread use of the compact disc in the pop music world”; and used the fiber optics system EDNet to record tracks in “real time” from different locations for FRANK SINATRA’s “Duets I” and “II.”

In tribute to this visionary, here is my March 1998 interview with Phil Ramone In the Studio in which he discusses a wide variety of topics, including a prescient prediction fifteen years ago on exactly how the internet and digital technology would change our lives. -Redbeard