John Lennon’s Son Believes He Received a Sign from the Late Singer
When a loved one dies, most of us wish we could just have one more conversation or one more moment of something meaningful. When that loved one was someone who lived their live in the public eye, that desire can be even stronger. Julian Lennon hoped and received, a wonderful message from his late father, John Lennon. This message was soo clear and meaningful that Julians life changed. Read on to discover how a strained father-son relationship transformed into a beautiful message of peace, and the will to move on for the better.
The Infamous Son
While John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s child, Sean Lennon, has received media attention from a young age, you may be surprised to hear that John had a son long before Sean. Julian Lennon was born during John’s first marriage, which was to Cynthia Lennon.
Born in Liverpool in 1963, Julian was named after John’s mother, Julia, who had passed a few years prior. Though he inspired multiple songs from The Beatles, he didn’t always feel close to his famous father.
Dad Living The Rockstar Life Was Challenging
Julian was born six years after The Beatles first formed and in the midst of their growing acclaim in the UK. The band’s manager, Brian Epstein, was named Julian’s godfather.
The same year of his birth, The Beatles recorded Please Please Me, an album full of chart-topping singles that made them an international success. By the time Julian was one-year-old, his father was touring the world and the media was erupting over John’s “secret wife and baby.”
Did Not See Father Much
The Beatle’s press officer, Tony Barrow, came up with the idea to call the band the “fabulous four,” which the media abbreviated to “the Fab Four.” Meanwhile, Cynthia Lennon was raising Julian largely on her own and trying to avoid the overbearing media attention.
Rather than the young family being the “fab three,” Julian experienced from a young age a detachment from his father. Though the family did get to enjoy a skiing trip with the band in 1966, it was overshadowed by relentless fans.
Julian Lived On The Road When He Could
In 1967, Julian experienced being on the set of the Magical Mystery Tour Beatle’s film. Around the same time, the little guy created a watercolor painting in the nursery school of his friend Lucy surrounded by stars.
The painting became the source of inspiration for John’s song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Lennon also wrote the song “Good Night” for Julian, which was the final song on The Beatles’ White Album and featured Ringo Starr on lead vocals.
When Julian was just five-years-old, his parents divorced and John embarked on a relationship with Yoko Ono. They married in March of the following year, which was 1969. John’s relationship with Yoko heightened the tension between bandmates, and The Beatles parted ways shortly after their marriage.
Rather than returning home to Julian, John further invested himself into his music and released a solo album in 1970. In 1971, the pair moved to New York, creating even more distance between Julian and his father.
Beatles Acted Like Bonus Fathers
When Julian was older, he looked back on his relationship with his dad with resentment. He stated that he remembered spending more time with The Beatles band member Paul McCartney than he had John Lennon.
Paul revealed his love for little Julian when he wrote the song “Hey Jude” to console the young boy during John and Cynthia’s divorce. The song was initially called “Hey Jules,” but it was changed to a name that would be easier to sing.
A New Father Figure For Julian
In addition to Paul McCartney, Julian gained a new father figure when his mother remarried in 1970, a year after John married Yoko Ono. She wed Roberto Bassanini, who she’d met while on a trip to Italy with Julian.
Cynthia and Roberto were only married for a few years, after which Julian reunited with his father and enjoyed some of their best years as father and son. In 1978, she had another short-lived marriage to engineer John Twist.
John’s New Relationship Reconnected Him To Julian
When Lennon and Yoko separated in 1973, John developed a romantic relationship with their personal assistant, May Pang. May encouraged John to re-connect with Julian, who he hadn’t seen in two years.
In an interview with The Times, Julian described his time with May Pang and John as “the happiest times” he had with his father. During this time, Julian made his musical debut at the age of eleven when his father unexpectedly used Julian’s drum recording in the song “Ya-Ya” on Walls and Bridges.
Reconciliation With Yoko Ono
At the start of 1975, John Lennon agreed to meet with Yoko Ono after more than a year of separation. The two reconciled and Yoko gave birth to their son, Sean Lennon, later on that year.
In a 1999 interview with Dini Petty, Julian admitted that he felt his father was a hypocrite. He said, “Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son.”
John Lennon’s Untimely Passing
In December of 1980, John Lennon lost his life to Mark David Chapman while on his way to his Manhattan apartment. A Strawberry Fields memorial was later created in Central Park to honor the late musician.
John was and is still lived on by his two sons, who were five and 17 at the time of his passing. Earlier that year, John Lennon had mentioned in an interview that he loves both of his sons equally and that Julian, “belongs to me, and he always will.”
Following In His Father’s Footsteps
Shortly after his father passed, Julian followed in his footsteps by putting out his first album, Valotte. Julian told Rock Beat that one of the album’s songs, “Well I Don’t Know,” was “about looking for signs of the afterlife from Dad.”
He’d inherited his father’s songwriting ability and his voice was regarded by music critic Robert Christgau as being eerily similar to that of John. The album earned Julian a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1985.
The Rise Of Julian’s Music Career
Julian’s next album, The Secret Value of Daydreaming, reached number 32 on the Billboard 200. It also featured the single “Stick Around,” which was Julian’s first song to reach number 1 on the US Album Rock Tracks.
His second single to top the Album Rock Tracks was “Now You’re In Heaven,” which peaked at number 5 in Australia. His single “Saltwater” on his 1991 album topped Australian charts for a month and featured former Beatles member George Harrison on the guitar.
Something Incredible Happened While On Tour In Australia
The track “Saltwater” was famous in Australia for a reason, as it was an environmentally conscious ballad that transcended the decade. Julian’s touching lyrics attracted the attention of aboriginal leaders, who met with the musician while he was on tour.
They asked Julian if he would use his fame to help bring them awareness. The elder of the tribe known as Mirning was a woman who handed him a gift. When Julian took it, he could hardly believe his eyes.
A White Feather Full Of Meaning
The aboriginal leader had handed Julian a white feather. He later told Today that John Lennon had once told him that a white feather would be his way of communicating to his son that we were all going to be alright.
His plea from his first album’s track “Well I Don’t Know” for his father to send him a sign seemed to have been answered. Julian realized at that moment that he needed to do something meaningful with his career.
Staying True To His Word
Julian stayed true to his promise that he would help the Aboriginal Australians. In 2006, he produced and narrated the film Whaledreamers, which illuminates an aboriginal tribe’s meaningful relationship with Australian whales that are at risk of extinction.
The documentary outlines various environmental issues and was shown at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. It won several awards, including Best Film by the Byron Bay Film Festival and Best Music/Song by the Tahoe/Reno Int’l Film Festival, and raised funds for Greenpeace and Elcho Island Elder Burmulla.
Julian’s White Feather Foundation
Julian didn’t just stop at highlighting the issues plaguing the aboriginals; that was just the beginning. In 2009, he started the White Feather Foundation, named after the encounter that he considers a sign from his late father.
The organization sets out to raise funds for both environmental and humanitarian issues and to bring attention to those who are setting out to make a difference. To Julian, the white feather represents peace on account of its influence in his life.
Julian Was Inspired By An Old Friend
The same year that Julian founded the White Feather Foundation, he also raised funds for an illness that took his late friend’s life. He partnered with Meagher and Birch to create the revolution, LLC, through which he released the EP “Lucy.”
The song was a tribute to Lucy Vodden, the little girl he painted in nursery school that inspired John’s song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Half of the proceeds from “Lucy” were to be donated to Lupus research since that was the disease that took her life.
Sean And Julian’s Relationship Has Blossomed
After all Sean and Julian went through, they came out on the other side as strong brothers and allies in the music industry. In 2011, Julian told The Express that he loves his brother Sean deeply, and that’s why he needed to “get over” the past.
Sean stated in 2010 that his big brother is the reason he started playing music. Interestingly, Sean’s music is what prompted Julian to dive into photography, a habit that flourished after he photographed Sean’s music tour in 2007.
Finding Peace With Photography
Julian seemed to have put an end to all of the family drama with his 2010 exhibition called “Timeless: The Photography of Julian Lennon.” Naturally, his mother Cynthia was there, but more shockingly was how cozy Julian looked with Yoko Ono.
He kept his arm around her shoulder as she smiled at his photography, which included shots of Sean. Yoko and Cynthia even embraced as the family reunited over Julian’s work. It seemed that the tension of the past decades had finally ceased.
Honoring His Father In The Name Of Peace
Also in 2010, Julian joined his mother Cynthia in the unveiling of the John Lennon Peace Monument in Liverpool. The beautiful, 18-foot sculpture is a colorful sphere covered with music notes and peace signs and topped with silver birds.
It reads “Peace On Earth For The Conservation Of Life In Honour of John Lennon 1940-1980.” Julian said at the ceremony, “We come here with our hearts to honor Dad and pray for peace and say thank you to everybody who is celebrating today.”