June 1998 
WOM Journal (Germany)

Special thanks to Nina who translated and contributed this! - Thanks again!  :)

Photograph Smile

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Motherly Love
Lennon? "Yes, of course!"

George Martin had to cry. On his last day as a producer, only hours before his well-deserved retirement, a Lennon crossed his way again.

Julian Lennon was in Air Studios, which is managed by the former Beatles producer in London, to record songs for his new album Photograph Smile. But that wasn't it alone.  Just as the 72 year old Sir heard I Don't Wanna Know, he couldn't hold his tears back and went out of the room crying.

John Lennon was taboo.  For 14 years Julian defended himself like a lion against father-son-comparisons.  He didn't want to answer questions about his not too lucky childhood and wrote songs trying not to sound too Beatles-ish. And now?

Now everything is different.  Julian Lennon, with 35 years, has enough self -confidence. "With this album I proved to myself that I am worth something. I showed that I am able to do it. I know that the songs are very good."

Now he copies from the song Lucy in the Sky..., which he himself inspired with a drawing given to his unnatural father.  Now he quotes in the video to Day After Day a part of the film How I Won the War in which his father played.  And now, with I Don't Wanna Know, he has published a song that touched Sir George Martin to tears because it sounds like a song that Lennon & McCartney wrote 35 years ago in Mimi's kitchen.

"All these years, everybody wanted to hear that from me but I always didn't want it and said: 'No, you make me crazy!' "- Julian said. "But now I did it in the end - and I overdid it.  I mean, if you hear that song in the radio, then you think, it is a lost Beatles-song from 1964! And that's what I wanted - to sound like the Beatles in 1963/64.  It was great fun.  Now if anybody comes and says I sound like my father I can say: 'Yes, of course, sure!'" Julian Lennon has learned to laugh. 

Seven years nobody heard anything about Julian.  After his last album he disappeared.  And then came back on the soundtrack to Mr. Holland's Opus.   In Leaving Las Vegas, he had a small part.  But then reality away from Hollywood beat him again: he had to fight for his inheritance, separated from his girlfriend, and was forced to look for a new record company after Charisma was sold. 

"I was so frustrated and couldn't write for a while.  What should I do?  So I enjoyed life, did crazy things, met old friends.  Then I tried again, but it was all rubbish.  So I left it again.  But then suddenly it came again.   There were so many ideas in my head."

Photograph Smile is the album we all knew Julian could do, but he never did.  All his former albums sounded somehow unfinished.  You felt, that there was more!  Photograph Smile is this "more," a striptease of the soul, brutally honest, but feel-ful, warm, yes, soft.  Lennon lets his trousers down. "I can only sing about myself.  Without the pain of my past I could never have written songs like their are on Photograph Smile."

The first Lennon-son has made peace with himself and his past - and closed a circle: His debut Valotte was written in France, in the little village, Manor de Valotte; and today Julian lives in France, close to his mother Cynthia, who 36 years ago married her old flame that she lost three years after Julian's birth to Yoko Ono.   "It is great to see how she enjoys life now. And I'll look after it that it will always stay like that." - Julian says.