'Making Records - The Scenes Behind The Music'
By: Phil Ramone
(Hardcover / 336 Pages / Hyperion / ISBN: 0786868597 / $24.95)
Description: Sinatra. Streisand. Dylan. Pavarotti. McCartney. Sting. Madonna. What do these musicians have in common besides their super-stardom? They have all worked with legendary music producer Phil Ramone.For almost five decades, Phil Ramone has been a force in the music industry. He has produced records and collaborated with almost every major talent in the business. There is a craft to making records, and Phil has spent his life mastering it. For the first time ever, he shares the secrets of his trade.
Verdict: 'Making Records' is a peek into the career of legendary music producer Phil Ramone. Mr. Ramone has been either a recording engineer or producer since the late 1950's and has probably done more to help create and shape the music of the 20th century than anybody. He has 14 grammy awards to his credit and is one of the most respected producers in the industry.
The book begins with Phil's early years recording jazz and commercial jingles to getting his own studio and eventually becoming one of the most recognized music producers today. Phil has collaborated with some of the most prominent well known musicians ever and has also helped other musicians beginning their career become prominent and well known. The record producer's primary goals are to create a stimulating environment, develop the ideas of the musicians and make sure the performance is recorded and mixed properly.
The book doesn't really go into the minuet technical details into making records. It tells more of the personal or human aspect which Phil shows is just as important as any technical facet. Think about suggesting to someone like Frank Sinatra or Barbra Streisand that the music doesn't sound right or let's try something different. He explains that it has a lot to do with the human relation as there are some pretty big ego's out there and as soon as you offend one of them or let them become uncomfortable everything may be lost.
The book skirts through the three basic steps in making a successful record which the producer is directly involved in each. Recording, mixing and mastering. Another thing that Phil stresses in the book is when recording a session start recording before the very first note and don't stop until the session is completely over because you never know when that magic moment or elusive sound your looking for will come around and you don't want to miss it as you may never be able to duplicate it again.
The parts of the book that I enjoyed the most were the times Phil kind of reminisces on some of the more famous sessions he has done with people like Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Bob Dillon or Ray Charles and how he was always trying to encourage the musician's creativity while also keeping them going in the direction that they both agreed they were attempting go. It's very interesting to be familiar with a certain music like Billy Joel's Glass Houses and to read about how some of the songs took shape and became hits that won grammys. It's like learning something you didn't know about the music you do know.
After reading the book I find myself in awe of the catalog of musicians Phil has worked with. From Harry Belafonte to Elton John. Tony Bennett to Luciano Pavarotti. Rod Stewart to (kinda hate to say it) Clay Aiken and so many others it's mind boggling. Obviously, Phil has polished his craft and has to be the considered the Godfather of music producers and after all these years he's still producing today. His book is definitely worth reading for anybody who has any interest in music or it's production.
Reviewed by Jonas Simpson