Skip to main content

John Lennon‘s son, Julian Lennon, was moved beyond words when he heard a symphonic version of his father’s “Julia.” Julian and his father didn’t always have the best relationship, but they connected through music, even after John died in 1980.

John Lennon and his son, Julian, during filming for The Rolling Stones' 'Rock & Roll Circus' in 1968.
John Lennon and his son, Julian | David Cairns/Getty Images

John Lennon’s son Julian said the ex-Beatle influenced his music

In an interview on Larry King Live, Julian explained that his father significantly influenced his music.

“Oh, absolutely, no question about that,” Julian said. “I mean, as much as Steely Dan, as much as Keith Jarrett, as much as many other artists.

“But certainly, I think The Beatles were at the forefront of all of that. I mean, anybody who wanted to be a songwriter of any kind, would look to them for how they constructed a song.”

Julian said a symphonic version of ‘Julia’ gave him goosebumps

King asked Julian if he could explain musically what The Beatles did.

Julian replied, “That’s a tough one. They pulled things out of the ether that nobody else did. I think it was more about exploration. They were willing to challenge themselves and challenge songwriting and challenge music in a way that probably not many other artists had done or did do at that time. Maybe apart from the Beach Boys.”

King mentioned that the conductor, Arthur Fiedler, said that The Beatles, symphonically, “will live forever.”

“I heard-there was even someone who took dad’s solo music on the road and orchestrated it,” Julian said. “They just sang with a full orchestra and one song in particular, ‘Julia,’ which is about my grandmother. Goosebumps, absolute goosebumps.

“In fact, it affected me more that way than actual in the pop-rock sense.”

John recorded “Julia” for The Beatles’ White Album. He wrote it about his mother, Julia, whom Julian is named after. Apart from “Hey Jude,” which Paul McCartney wrote about him as a little boy, “Julia” is another, more personal Beatles song for Julian.


Julian Lennon Had a Gut Feeling Something Bad Happened the Night John Lennon Died

It was hard entering the music industry with the Lennon name

Julian doesn’t know if he was born to make music like his famous father. He told Larry King that he fell in love with acting in school, not music. But he picked up a guitar, and “the rest is history,” he said.

His debut album, Valotte, came in 1984. Four other albums followed, but Julian dropped his music career after Photograph Smile in 1998.

When Julian sat down with King, it had been 15 years since he’d entered the recording studio. King asked him about the long hiatus. Julian said it was mostly because he’d never had a great relationship with the music industry.

“I’ve never had the easiest relationship, I think, with the music industry, the business, or the media, on many many levels,” Julian said. “It’s just been a tough road. I’ve been bashed a lot, you know?”

King asked if that was because of his name. Julian replied, “Yeah, it’s been, I think, a lot harder than easier than people might think. When people don’t take you personally seriously as an artist but just only want to know you because of your father. They want to know you because of your father, and that’s it, and that’s a tough one to ride.”

People saw Julian just as John Lennon’s son for most of his life. How could he make a name for himself when everyone just wanted to be close to him because of his father?

Still, that doesn’t mean John didn’t inspire Julian or that he didn’t like The Beatles’ music.