Phil Ramone's Top 50 Billboard Hot 100 Hits: From Billy Joel to Paul Simon, BJ Thomas to Barbra Streisand, Many More

Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Phil Ramone 650
From left: Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Phil Ramone at the 41st Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Ceremony on June 17, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Songwriter's Hall of Fame)

Legendary producer Phil Ramone scored 39 top 10s on the Billboard Hot 100, with the '60s-'80s marking his greatest run of success

Phil Ramone, who passed away today (March 30) at 79, leaves a striking legacy on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, where he produced or engineered 39 top 10 hits for such stars as Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Lesley Gore, Peter, Paul & Mary, B.J. Thomas, Gordon Lightfoot and many more.

Included in his discography are such No. 1 smashes as Gore's "It's My Party," Peter, Paul & Mary's "Leaving on a Jet Plane," Thomas' "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" and Michael Sembello's "Maniac."

Ramone was 29 years  old when he worked as an engineer on Gore’s first sessions for Mercury with producer Quincy Jones. When Gore made her Billboard chart debut the week of May 11, 1963, with “It’s My Party,” Ramone was making his chart debut, too, even though his name didn’t appear in print.

Even after racking up an impressive list of hits in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, Ramone continued to forge Hot 100 history as recently as 2011. He co-produced Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse's duet "Body and Soul," which spent a week at No. 87 (Oct. 1, 2011). Despite its modest chart run, it granted Bennett the honor of being the oldest living artist ever to appear on the Hot 100. Then 85 years and two months old, Bennett passed another icon, George Burns, who was 84 years and two months old when "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again" charted in 1980.

Thanks to his work on the Bennett/Winehouse duet, Ramone’s chart legacy expanded to 48 years, four months and three weeks, counting back to the debut of “It’s My Party.”

Here is a recap of Ramone’s top 50 hits on the Hot 100, counting his work as a producer, co-producer and engineer. A majority of the songs on this list are by Billy Joel – a full 16 out of 50. Five of the 50 are by Paul Simon. Note that 49 of Ramone’s top 50 songs peaked inside the top 20 of the Hot 100.

Phil Ramone’s Top 50 Hits
(Rank/Title/Artist [Peak Year]/Peak Position)
1 “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” B.J. Thomas (1970) No. 1           
2 “Evergreen (Love Theme from ‘A Star Is Born’),” Barbra Streisand (1977) No. 1
3 “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” Billy Joel (1980) No. 1               
4 “Tell Her About It,” Billy Joel (1983) No. 1                       
5 “Afternoon Delight,” Starland Vocal Band (1976) No. 1       
6 “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” Peter, Paul & Mary (1969) No. 1               
7 “Maniac,” Michael Sembello (1983) No. 1               
8 “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” Paul Simon (1976) No. 1               
9 “Uptown Girl,” Billy Joel (1983) No. 3                           
10 “My Life,” Billy Joel (1979) No. 3                   
11 “Loves Me Like a Rock,” Paul Simon with the Dixie Hummingbirds (1973) No. 2
12 “It’s My Party,” Lesley Gore (1963) No. 1               
13 “Just the Way You Are,” Billy Joel (1978) No. 3                   
14 “Kodachrome,” Paul Simon (1973) No. 2                   
15 “(Theme from) Valley of the Dolls,” Dionne Warwick (1968) No. 2       
16 “Change of Heart,” Cyndi Lauper (1987) No. 3                   
17 “Too Late for Goodbyes,” Julian Lennon (1985) No. 5               
18 “Times of Your Life,” Paul Anka (1976) No. 7                   
19 “It Never Rains in Southern California,” Albert Hammond (1972) No. 5       
20 “Late in the Evening,” Paul Simon (1980) No. 6               
21 “Slip Slidin’ Away,” Paul Simon (1978) No. 5                   
22 “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” Procol Harum (1967) No. 5       
23 “You Don’t Own Me,” Lesley Gore (1964) No. 2               
24 “Poetry Man,” Phoebe Snow (1975) No. 5                       
25 “She’s a Fool,” Lesley Gore (1963) No. 5                       
26 “If You Could Read My Mind,” Gordon Lightfoot (1971) No. 5           
27 “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” Lesley Gore (1963) No. 5               
28 “Spies Like Us,” Paul McCartney (1986) No. 7                   
29 “Valotte,” Julian Lennon (1985) No. 9                   
30 “The Girl From Ipanema,” Getz/Gilberto (1965) No. 5               
31 “You May Be Right,” Billy Joel (1980) No. 7               
32 “You’re Only Human (Second Wind),” Billy Joel (1985) No. 9           
33 “My Little Town,” Simon and Garfunkel (1975) No. 9           
34 “A Matter of Trust,” Billy Joel (1986) No. 10               
35 “Everybody’s Talkin’,” Nilsson (1969) No. 6               
36 “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” Dionne Warwick (1968) No. 10       
37 “Allentown,” Billy Joel (1983) No. 17                   
38 “An Innocent Man,” Billy Joel (1984) No. 10               
39 “Modern Woman,” Billy Joel (1986) No. 10               
40 “I Dig Rock and Roll Music,” Peter, Paul & Mary (1967) No. 9           
41 “I Only Have Eyes for You,” Art Garfunkel (1975) No. 18               
42 “Send in the Clowns,” Judy Collins (1977) No. 19           
43 “The Longest Time,” Billy Joel (1984) No. 14                   
44 “Keeping the Faith,” Billy Joel (1985) No. 18                       
45 “This Is the Time,” Billy Joel (1987) No. 18                       
46 “No Tell Lover,” Chicago (1979) No. 14                    
47 “Alive Again,” Chicago (1978) No. 14                   
48 “Say Goodbye to Hollywood,” Billy Joel (1981) No. 17               
49 “She’s Always a Woman,” Billy Joel (1978) No. 17               
50 “Say You’re Wrong,” Julian Lennon (1985) No. 21           

The ranking of this list of the Top 50 Phil Ramone songs is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years.


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