Julian Lennon Biography

Songwriter, Singer(1963–)
Julian Lennon followed legendary dad John Lennon into the music industry, earning a Grammy nomination in 1986. He is also an avid photographer.

Synopsis

Julian Lennon was born in 1963 in Liverpool, England, to Beatles icon John Lennon and his first wife, Cynthia. After performing on his dad's 1974 recording, Walls and Bridges, Lennon launched a successful solo career with his 1984 debut album, Valotte. Subsequent studio efforts earned critical acclaim, if not the same level of commercial success. Lennon has devoted more time in recent years to photography and his White Feather Foundation.

Family Life

John Charles Julian Lennon was born on April 8, 1963, in Liverpool, England. He is the only child of John Lennon, a founding member of the Beatles, and his first wife, Cynthia.

Named after his father's mother, Julia, he was born at the dawn of Beatlemania when John was only available as a part-time father. Julian and his mother were also kept secret from the public because Beatles manager Brian Epstein felt John would be more appealing to female fans if he were believed to be single and available.

Julian as a child inspired several Beatles compositions, including "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," which describes a drawing Julian made of a classmate. When his parents divorced in 1968, Paul McCartney wrote "Hey Jude" to console the boy. After the divorce, John moved to the U.S. with his new wife, avant-garde artist Yoko Ono. Julian would later blame Ono for his father's absence.

Music Career

Julian began playing guitar and drums at age 10, adding piano as a teenager. He debuted on record as a drummer on the track "Ya Ya" on John Lennon's 1974 album, Walls and Bridges.

Following several years apart, Julian began spending more time with his father by the mid-1970s. However, a deranged fan murdered John on December 8, 1980, abruptly ending the blossoming relationship.

After his father's assassination, Julian decided to pursue a singing career of his own. His first album, Valotte (1984), was produced by Phil Ramone, who was known for his work with such acclaimed artists as Paul Simon and Billy Joel. The album was a hit: It generated four chart singles, including the Top 10 hits "Valotte" and "Too Late For Goodbyes," and was certified platinum by March 1985.

Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1986, Julian displayed a singing voice that was remarkably similar to his father's. That invited inevitable comparisons, which quickly became more a source of irritation than pride.

Lennon's 1986 album, The Secret Value of Daydreaming, featured a Top 40 track in "Stick Around" and was certified gold, but didn't earn the same critical acclaim as its predecessor. He followed in 1989 with Mr. Jordan, another album that boasted a successful single with "Now You're In Heaven," but otherwise failed to return the artist to the standing he enjoyed with Valotte.

Lennon's 1991 studio album, Help Yourself, generated a chart-topping single in Australia with "Saltwater." However, Lennon felt that his label did little to promote the album in the U.S., and he disappeared from the studio for several years afterward. He returned to critical, if not commercial, acclaim in 1998 with Photograph Smile.

Following an even longer hiatus, Lennon in 2011 finally released another album in the U.K., Everything Changes. It earned an international reissue in June 2013, and later that year the artist released a documentary to accompany the album called Through the Picture Window

Other Projects and Personal

Along with his music, Julian Lennon has developed a keen interest in photography. His first exhibition was held in New York City in 2010. He has also devoted significant time to charitable causes, most notably forming the White Feather Foundation in 2009 to focus on environmental and humanitarian issues. 

Lennon has always had cordial relationships with the other members of the Beatles, particularly with Paul McCartney. His relationship with Yoko Ono has been strained at times, but he has gotten along well with his musician half-brother Sean (John and Yoko's only child), accompanying Sean for a promotional tour to support his 2006 album, Friendly Fire.

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