01 April 2013

As you may have heard over the weekend, record producer Phil Ramone died on Saturday. You may not know his name, but you definitely know some of the albums he’s produced or engineered, including Billy Joel’s “The Stranger,” Bob Dylan’s “Blood On the Tracks,” Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover,” Paul McCartney’s “Ram,” and Tony Bennett’s” Duets.” 

I didn’t know Ramone well, but the time I spent with him was always pleasant. He was a joy to interview because he so willingly shared his amazing stories from more than five decades of making music. I got to be in the studio with him when he worked with Bennett and it was a pleasure to see him in action. A classically trained musician, Ramone attended Julliard, then went on to start as an engineer before becoming a producer. His command of his craft showed in every production. 

One thing I read over and over about Ramone in many of the tributes to him was how willing, actually eager, he was to help upcoming talent. He seemed to always have time to answer someone’s questions. Many, many people considered him a mentor. 

I went to his website to see if there was a charity that he was affiliated with, and, not surprisingly, one of the ones listed was the National Mentoring Partnership. NMP’s MENTOR program links with 28 mentoring partnerships national wide and with more than 5,000 mentoring programs, according to its website. Mentor’s ambitious goal is to find mentors for all 18 million kids it says are looking for one. 

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