Ben Babylon and Elton John
By Miquel Sala (Jack Rabbit)
Hi Babylonists. Live performance, produced by Rock Nation School, in Agoura Hills joined Ben Babylon with current Elton John band members, paying tribute to the late Guy Babylon and the Rock Star Elton John. Both Elton and Guy have influenced Ben is his songwriting and in his music. "Goodbye Superman", as you know, the tribute to his dad, found inspiration on "Funeral For A Friend" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". Elton has said, "You better watch out for this kid! He can really play!". What Ben feels for Elton is devotion: "He is one of the most talented people I have ever met. He is also so kind. It is amazing how nice he is. Everytime I see him, he brings me joy". Two great musicians. Ben is starting his career, Elton is on the top. Is there a parallel between the two singers?
Shy - "I've been a shy since I was a kid" Elton declared. Rufus Wainwright explained once how surprised he was about Elton being shy: "(he) is very quiet away from his public persona and has little belief in his own abilities (...) this very sweet little guy who's constantly feeling very insignificant, which is ironic of course". Ben is also shy, well educated, at his younger age he knows perfectly what he have to do or not to do.
Talent - "I didn't have my formal training (at the piano) at first. I just sat down at the piano and I could play" remember Elton. His music instructor, Helen Piena, recognized that his natural ear amazed her and explained how Reg could play a musical piece after hearing it only once. "I've been raised around music my whole life, so it just seemed natural" agrees Ben Babylon. Electra Barakos, singer, recognized that "he is one of the most talented children I know and his maturity and talent overweighs his years of life".
Fathers - Ben has music in his genes. Guy Babylon was always so supportive and guided Ben's first steps into music: "My dad worked with me a lot to become a good keyboardist". For Elton, is was not that easy: "My father didn't want me to get into music" explained a bit disappointed, "I could never understand that because he'd been a trumpeter in a band".
Starting into music - As we said, Elton started picking out tunes and it was about three years when his parents suggested to take lessons "until I won a scholarship to the Royal Academy Of Music" he said. Ben is making his first steps into music, with desition: "I have to put in a lot of time to practice music, along with trying to do well in school. At school I play with the Jazz "A" Band there, so I do get practice at school". Well done, boy. Also, he is in the music program at Rock Nation.
Writing process - It's well known Bernie & Elton process, beginning with Bernie's lyrics and getting a song when Elton sits down and put them to music: "I'm good at writing melodies and Bernie is great at writing lyrics" Elton defends while adding "We have never been in the same room ever writing a song. He would probably kill me and I would probably kill him". One reason, yes. Ben, for his part, is songwriter and lyricist, but the way is so so different: "Usually I start with the music first and then come up with lyrics (...) sometimes I overhear somebody talking, and I line will stick out, and I will write it down to remember later".
Greg Penny - Penny, as a teenager, met Elton in the early 70s and even visited him at the studio as he recorded "Goodbye Yellow Brcik Road album". On the 90s, he produced "Made In England", after winning a Grammy for his work on KD Lang's album. Greg Penny also helped Ben producing his first ever single,"Goodbye Superman", a loving song in tribute to Guy Babylon, Ben's father. Two versions of this song, an orchestrated version and a piano version, were recorded. "The piano version expresses that I am sad my dad is gone, and the orchestrated version expresses that I am mad he is not here" wrote Ben about that. For Ben, it was the first experience on working with a producer: "He made it so easy and comfortable to be creative. It was fun for me because I got to watch the process of mixing a song by a great producer".
Guitar - Only one time could Elton had been seen with a guitar on his hands, when he performed "Love Song" in 1986, playing the guitar, with other guitarrists backing him. Ben for his part, could play piano, guitar and drums: "I also play lots of other instruments like the ukelele, and other foreign instruments" he added.
BABYLON MUSIC versus ROCKET RECORDS - The Rocket Record Company was a record label founded by Elton John, with Bernie Taupin, Gus Dudgeon and Steve Brown among others, in 1972. The label was originally distributed in the UK by Island and in the US by MCA Records, both of to which Elton John was also signed. On the other side, Guy Babylon, Kathy Babylon, and Ben Babylon are part of Babylon Music. Guy Babylon, the keyboardist, programmer, and orchestrator who played for The Elton John Band for over 21 years. He wrote many songs including "Babylon Bleu" and "Las Vegas Twister" that are on his inspired album Best Of Guy Babylon. Kathy Babylon is a singer/songwriter who has written and recorded many songs including "Take A Chance" and "Wait on The Rain" written with her husband Guy and Reggie Burrell, all part of the Singles Collection that is now available, with many more songs, even the succesful "Warpipes" band, on itunes.
Eltonites and Babylonists agree, we love them both and can't wait to listen to their new material. So, Rock on, boys!!!
I still remember the first time I heard "I guess that's why they call it the blues" on the radio, says Jack Rabbit, I was crazy searching for the title of the song and who was the singer. Til then, I can't stop listening to Elton John music. And now I have also a new idol, he's so young, but I've never seen a talented guy as he is: Ben Babylon, the future in his hands.
By Miquel Sala (Jack Rabbit) http://benbabylonnumber1.blogspot.com/