Home Uncategorized Phil Ramone: He Kept Phoebe Snow from Being “Gone at Last”

There are a lot of good stories about Phil Ramone and all the stars he recorded. There are some coming in now on Twitter, and more to be told this week. One story not in his book which we had recently discussed was about the late Phoebe Snow. We were reminiscing about Phoebe, both in agreement that she had had tbe single best voice of her generation. Phoebe’s life changed after having a huge debut album in 1974, self-titled, and a follow up that was so-so. At that point she’d given birth to daughter Valerie, who had multiple defects. Her career–artistically and financially–was a mess.

Phil recorded Phoebe’s third album, “It Feels Like Snow.” Valerie’s picture is on the cover. Phil created a couple of Phoebe’s standards on it, including a remake of “Teach Me Tonight” that stands as a towering recording. He knew she was a jazz singer, even if she railed against it. A year later, Phil was making “Still Crazy After All These Years” with Paul Simon. Bette Midler was supposed to sing on a track called “Gone at Last.” But either Atlantic, her label, wouldn’t give her permission, or something else went wrong.

Phoebe, meantime, was bankrupt and sinking under the weight of raising Valerie on her own. “I saved her,” Phil told me. “It was lucky that it worked out.” He convinced Paul to put Phoebe on “Gone at Last.” The result was a hit single And it bought Phoebe some more time to care for Valerie at home.

Hard to believe–now they are all gone–Phoebe, Valerie, and Phil. I know that Phoebe is driving Phil crazy right now, probably about making another record.

2 replies to this post
  1. Phoebe Snow was one the THE BEST voices of my generation. Nearly 40 years later, I listen to her music and it sounds as fresh and a new as it did back when her music was first released. I had always hoped to meet her one day. I spent many an evening at A&R Records hoping for the chance. It never happened. Still, her music will live on in my life forever.

  2. To me, Phoebe Snow was one of the greatest talents to come out of the rock era and was severely overlooked after that initial surge. Her music was heartfelt and she had an amazing and unmistakable voice.

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