John Charles Julian Lennon (born 8 April 1963) is an English musician, songwriter, actor, and photographer. He is also the oldest son of the late John Lennon and the only child of his dad's ex-wife Cynthia Powell, with Beatles' manager Brian Epstein as godfather. Julian is the older brother of Sean Lennon. He was named after John Lennon's late mother, Julia Lennon. In 1993 Julian Lennon provided the voice for David Copperfield in "David Copperfield" (1993 film). Julian is friends with John Lennon's former band mate Paul McCartney.
Julian Lennon was born in Liverpool. Initially, the fact that John Lennon was married and had a child was concealed from the public, in keeping with the conventional wisdom of the era that female teenage fans would not be as enamoured of married male pop stars. However, when the British media discovered that John Lennon was a married father, it did not affect his popularity with fans.
Julian directly inspired one of his father's most famous songs, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", whose lyrics describe a picture Julian drew, a watercolour painting of his friend from Preschool the late Lucy O'Donnell) surrounded by stars. He later attended the set of The Beatles' film Magical Mystery Tour.
When he was five, Julian's parents divorced after John Lennon's infidelity with Yoko Ono. He once again inspired another Beatles classic. Paul McCartney wrote "Hey Jude" as a way of consoling him over the divorce. Originally called "Hey Jules", McCartney changed the name because he thought "Jude" was an easier name to sing.
He had almost no contact with his father after the divorce, until the early 1970s, at the instigation of John Lennon's then girlfriend May Pang. Julian began to see his father more regularly. John bought Julian a Gibson Les Paul guitar and a drum machine for Christmas in 1973, and encouraged Julian's interest in music by showing him some chords.
Julian made his musical debut at age 11 on his father's album Walls and Bridges playing drums on "Ya-Ya." His reaction was, "Dad, had I known you were going to put it on the album, I would've played much better!"
Following his father's murder, Julian Lennon voiced anger and resentment toward him, saying
"I've never really wanted to know the truth about how dad was with me. There was some very negative stuff talked about me ... like when he said I'd come out of a whiskey bottle on a Saturday night. Stuff like that. You think, where's the love in that? Paul and I used to hang about quite a bit ... more than Dad and I did. We had a great friendship going and there seems to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing together at that age than there are pictures of me and my dad."
He was not included in John Lennon's will, and was annoyed that he had to buy mementos of his father at auctions. A settlement was eventually reached wherein Julian was given "a large but undisclosed sum". By 2009 Lennon's feelings toward his father had mellowed. Recalling his renewed relationship with his father in the mid-1970s, he said,
“Dad and I got on a great deal better then. We had a lot of fun, laughed a lot and had a great time in general when he was with May Pang. My memories of that time with Dad and May are very clear—they were the happiest time I can remember with them.”
He has been quoted as having a "cordial" relationship with Ono while getting along very well with her son, his half-brother Sean, even spending time together on Sean's tour in 2007.
In memory of his father’s 70th Birthday, October 9th 2010 saw Julian, alongside his mother Cynthia, unveil the John Lennon Peace Monument in Chavasse Park, Liverpool, England.
The sculpture, entitled ‘Peace & Harmony’, was created by Lauren Voiers and exhibits the peace sign and other peace symbols including doves and a white feather. The monument is inscribed with the words “Peace on Earth for the Conservation of Life – In Honour of John Lennon 1940 – 1980”. The significance of this white feather is explained by Julian Lennon:
“Dad once said to me that should he pass away, if there was some way of letting me know he was going to be OK – that we were all going to be OK – the message would come to me in the form of a white feather.”
Julian Lennon has had an inconsistent career as a musical artist. He enjoyed immediate success with his debut 1984 album Valotte. The album was produced by Phil Ramone. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1985, and produced two top ten hits, the title track "Valotte", and "Too Late For Goodbyes". Lennon promoted the album with music videos for the two hits made by movie director Sam Peckinpah and producer Martin Lewis. The song "Valotte" has remained a staple on adult contemporary radio stations since its release. After the release, Paul McCartney sent him a telegram wishing him good luck. Later that year, the two met up backstage at the New York studios of the TV show Friday Night Videos.
His second album, 1986's The Secret Value of Daydreaming was panned by critics, but reached number 32 on the Billboard Magazine's album chart, and produced the single "Stick Around", which was his first #1 single on the U.S. Album Rock Tracks chart. He recorded the song "Because", which was made famous by The Dave Clark Five, in the UK for Clark's 1986 musical, Time (the single is out of print). Lennon never reached the same level of success in the U.S. post-Valotte, but he hit number five in Australia with the 1989 single "Now You're In Heaven", which also gave him his second #1 hit on the Album Rock Tracks chart in the USA.
In 1991, George Harrison played on Lennon's album "Help Yourself" but was not directly credited. A song off the album, "Saltwater", reached number six in the UK and topped the Australian singles charts for four weeks. Also during this time he contributed a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday" to the soundtrack of the television series The Wonder Years. After 1991, Lennon left the music business for several years. He followed his interests in cooking, sailing, and sculpting during his leave from the music industry.
After he began his performing career there was occasionally unfounded media speculation that Julian would undertake performances with Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. However, in the Beatles Anthology series in 1996, the three surviving Beatles confirmed that there was never an idea of having Julian sit in for his father as part of a Beatles reunion, with McCartney saying "why would we want to subject him to all of this?"
In February 1999, Lennon released the album "Photograph Smile" which received little commercial success in the United States. The album cover featured a picture of him as a very young child playing the piano. Critics and fans alike could debate the merit of this album but personally for Lennon, it dealt with a lot of his personal demons related to his childhood. This was especially apparent in the song "The Way to Your Heart" where some of the song evolved into music that mimicked parts of "Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds".
In 2002, Lennon recorded a version of the Beatles' classic "When I'm Sixty-Four", a song from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" for an Allstate Insurance commercial. He has also ventured into Internet businesses, including MyStore.com with Bebo founder Michael Birch.
Upon hearing of the death of his childhood friend Lucy Vodden née O'Donnell, he released a tribute song, "Lucy", a duet with one of his company Revolution's new artists, James Scott Cook with 50% of the proceeds going to fund Lupus research.
Lennon's sixth album, "Everything Changes", is complete and will be released in early 2011.
Official Website: http://www.julianlennon.com/