"It's all about the raw material," he told CNN in 2005 from his home in Westchester County, New York. "You have to be prepared for anything that comes."
Still, while he might have deflected praise, there was no stopping it Saturday night.
Elton John called Ramone "a friend, a musical genius and the most lovable person."
James Taylor, too, praised both the producer -- calling him "a pioneer" -- and the person. "He lit up any room he entered," Taylor said.
Neil Sedaka said he was 16 years old when Ramone added the rhythm section to his demos, which became his first two records, "Laura Lee" and "Snowtime."
"He knew how to get the most out of the artists he worked with," Sedaka said. "With his passing the record business lost one of the all time greats."
Quincy Jones knew Ramone, as a friend and collaborator, for more than 50 years.
If Ramone wasn't by his side in the studio, "It would seem like one ingredient was missing," said Jones, a legendary producer in his own right.
"Today we lost one of the true musicians, innovators and geniuses of the record industry," Jones said. "His immense talents were only surpassed by the gigantic size of his heart."