"I met Phil Ramone in 1975, after my first headlining gig at Carnegie Hall. We went to an Italian restaurant across the street called Fontana di Trevi - it was actually the inspiration for ‘Scenes From an Italian Restaurant’. I had a great road band at the time, but producers kept putting me with session musicians on the record. I was on tenterhooks with Columbia Records; my first four albums were very polished and formulaic, and didn’t sell a lot.
But then I met Phil. He loved the energy we put out onstage. He loved the band, he loved the sound. He loved the rough edges. We had this simpatico immediately.
He had to talk me into putting ‘Just The Way You Are’ on The Stranger. I thought it was a gloppy ballad that would be done at weddings. One day, we were in the studio, and he brings in Linda Ronstadt and plays her the track. I told her that I wasn’t sure if it was going on the album, and she said, ‘Are you crazy? That’s a great song!’ And Linda Ronstadt was pretty cute. I said, ‘OK!’ That’s an example of what a producer does: He gets the artist to believe in his own stuff.
We did five more albums after that. But that was the one that changed my life forever. If I hadn’t met Phil when I did, I probably wouldn’t have had a career."
- Billy Joel, reminiscing on Phil Ramone, who died March 30th.
"The whole concept of ‘haters gonna hate’ — I don’t like that, I think you should shoot high, aim high, because haters gonna hate, but lovers gonna love — so what I’m trying to say to you right now is when you put on that shirt or you wanna write that blog or you wanna sing that song, or you wanna paint that painting, don’t think about haters gonna hate, think about ‘lovers gonna love’."