Longtime Yamaha Artist Guy Babylon Passes Away

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 4, 2009) Yamaha expresses their heartfelt condolences over the news that longtime Yamaha keyboardist and composer Guy Babylon passed away of a heart attack on Sept. 2, 2009 at the age of 52. Babylon was Elton John's keyboardist for more than 21 years.

"Guy's passing is a tragic loss to our music community, and he will be greatly missed," says Chris Gero, Vice President of Yamaha Corporate Artist Affairs, Inc.

In 1987, after several years of making a living as a musician, Babylon met Davey Johnstone while doing some session work. This turned out to be a pivotal meeting in his career, because a year later, Davey called Guy and told him Elton John was looking to add an additional keyboard player to his band.

Guy's first live performance with Elton was in July 1988 for a benefit at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. In 1989, Guy embarked on his first world tour as part of the Elton John Band. Guy became lead keyboardist on May 26, 1992, and was the only synth man on stage since the Walden Woods Benefit Concert in the fall of 1993.

Babylon was born on Dec. 20, 1956 in New Windsor, Maryland. He moved to California in 1980, six months after graduating from the University of South Florida, and became a respected session musician in Los Angeles.

Over the next number of years, Guy composed music for radio, TV and cable shows, did demo work for bands and songwriters, and put together a home studio in North Hollywood. During that time he played with acts as diverse as Iron Butterfly and Tavares, and was a member of the band Ashton, which also included future Elton John bassist Bob Birch.

Guy's career accelerated in March 1987 when he won Keyboard Magazine's Reader Tape Contest with his entry "Babylon Bleu." Also in 1987, Guy co-wrote and performed on Siedah Garrett's K.I.S.S.I.N.G., which became a Number One dance hit in the United States. It was also around this time that Guy first met Elton's guitarist and band leader, Davey Johnstone.

In 2001 Guy won a Grammy Award for his work arranging the Elton John / Tim Rice musical Aida. He served as the musical supervisor, orchestrator, and synth programmer for the musical Lestat, which opened on Broadway in April 2006, and he also worked on The Muse, The Road To El Dorado, Billy Elliot The Musical and Gnomeo and Juliet.

Longtime Yamaha Artist Guy Babylon Passes Away
— Talented musician was Elton John's keyboardist for more than 21 years and won a GRAMMY for his work on Aida