John Charles Julian Lennon was born to Beatle John Lennon and his first wife Cynthia on April 8, 1963. He was named John after his father, Charles after Cynthia's father, and Julian in the memory of John's late mother Julia. The world baby Julian entered was on the brink of Beatlemania. Within a year his father would be one of the four most famous men on the planet.
In his early infancy, Julian and his mom had to keep a low profile. Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager, felt that Lennon's sex appeal would be diminished if it was .known that he was married and had a child. But the Witty One's private life couldn't stay private for long, and the fans accepted Julian as a welcome addition to the Beatles mythos. However, inheriting his father's ambition, Julian wanted more from life than such status as a footnote in rock history, an answer to a music trivia question.
His parents divorced and Julian was sent off to school at Kingsmead where he eventually studied guitar. There he met fellow guitar player Justin Clayton and the two formed a schoolboy group that foreshadowed their current collaboration. The initial partnership ended when the boys left for different secondary schools.
Finished with school, Julian continued to jam around England, playing with other musicians, if not his old partner Justin. In December 1980, he received the tragic news that his father had been senselessly murdered outside his New York apartment. After flying to the States and spending several weeks with his step-mother Yoko Ono and his half-brother Sean, Julian moved into a London flat. Contrary to his socialite behavior and popular belief at the time, he was not being supported by outside funds.
Julian began to play piano and by the end of 1982, after examining the synthesizer-dorninated British pop scene, he decided definitely to pursue a musical career. Early on, Julian decided not to rush his entry into the professional music field. After a reunion of the two school chums, Julian and Justin, along with Jamaican- born guitarist Carlton Morales, took up temporary residence at Manoir de Valotte, a beautiful chateau nestled away in a remote region of France. Julian spent three months there doing little else but writing songs and recording demo tapes. The small amounts of free time he had were devoted to his favorite hobby, motorcycling.
Emerging from Julian's self-imposed isolation was his first album Valotte (Atlantic). As produced by Phil Ramone, Valotte is a testament to the stream of musical talent that runs through the Lennon family's blood. Though reminiscent of his father's voice and keyboard style, Julian's performance is totally unique and exciting.
Anticipating the inevitable comparisons, Julian explains his feelings about John Lennon's influence on him: "I want to keep the name going but in my way. No one can top what my dad did, especially me, but I want to keep the Lennon name singing and writing and playing. "
Asked what his father might have said about his decision to become a musician, Julian reflects, "I think he'd say, 'Do it, but don't blame me.
Note: In the actual article, the bottom picture with Julian resting his cheek on his arm was the exact photo shown above but in black and white.
'Hey Jules' © 1998 - 2002 CJ Burianek