Ralph MacDonald, a Grammy Award -winning percussionist and composer whose understated Afro-Caribbean rhythms were known as “the ghost” behind the hit records of a multitude of 1970s and ’80s pop stars and who was a co-writer on the hit songs “Where Is the Love?” and “Just the Two of Us,” died on Sunday in Stamford, Conn. He was 67.
You really have to respect the incredibly talented side-men studio musicians who made remarkable contributions to the sound of some records, and even, as in Mr. MacDoanlds case, co-wrote some huge hits. These talented men and women rarely get any recognition outside of the close knit musical community.
His recording credits number in the hundreds and include Burt Bacharach, George Benson, David Bowie, Aretha Franklin, Art Garfunkel, Billy Joel, Quincy Jones, Carole King, Miriam Makeba, David Sanborn, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Luther Vandross, Amy Winehouse, Bob James, Ashford and Simpson, Nana Mouskouri, The Average White Band, Hall and Oates, The Brothers Johnson, and Jimmy Buffett.