After 31 Grammy nominations (14 wins) and dozens of historical albums, Phil Ramone has decided to let the cat out of the bag and share a bit about his approach to production and recording. His new book, Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music
, has more production wisdom than any textbook I've ever seen on the subject and to top it off, it often reads with the same intrigue and excitement as a gripping novel.
The book follows Ramone's path from his early days recording commercial jingles and jazz at A&R in New York to his eventual rise to legendary producer status. Ramone gives the reader a peek into the production of some historical albums such as Billy Joel's The Stranger
, Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years
, and Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company
I loved reading Ramone's description of the making of Frank Sinatra's Duets album. I already knew the outcome, but I still found myself sitting on the edge of my chair as I read the story of Ramone waiting in the studio (along with the studio staff and a full orchestra – all on the clock) wondering if Sinatra was going to show up.
Ramone has a unique way of interjecting his wisdom into the stories he tells. And he tells each story with a youthful passion that rarely exists in someone that has been making records for 20 years, much less Ramone's half century behind the glass.
Throughout sharing his experiences, the single constant is Ramone's approach towards putting the artist first. He points out that his name doesn't appear on the covers of the albums he produces and instead of having his own style, he caters to the vision of the artists he produces. Making Records
finds itself in the unique position of being neither a technical guidebook nor a straight memoir, but rather a blend of the two. The reader gains invaluable insight on the making of several milestone albums, an understanding of the music industry's development over the past half-century, and a look into the ideal relationship between an artist and their producer. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone with high-hopes of making a name for themselves in the world of music production or engineering. Contact: Hyperion Books