“Ray wanted to record back in his room in downtown Los Angeles. We had fixed up the room and painted it just for the movie that Taylor Hackford was shooting – this was going on simultaneously. It wasn’t the most wonderfully equipped room. There was still some stuff in there from the ‘60s, but with some adjustments and careful planning, it really wasn’t changed. We let it be, with the leakage and all.
“I went out and bought a huge beach umbrella and put some deadening material under it. This allowed Ray to hear the drums better, but we could still control the leakage into his vocal mic.
“Part of what Ray was used to, and it was true anytime we worked together, was going for the live thing. Sometimes he didn’t want the piano miked, because he said that the guys running the PA system didn’t understand what he wanted. It was all about making him comfortable in the room. Many of the people came by to sing live with him.
“He was still a powerful performer, but his health started to fade. When he did Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word with Elton John, a couple of the people had little amateur cameras on them, and they panned the room to see that we were all in tears. At the end of the song, Ray asked me, ‘You got enough?’ I said, ‘Yeah, it’s beautiful.’
“Elton walked in the control room, and he was in tears, too, because you kind of knew… this could be the last chance. And that was Ray’s last record.”