John Lennon’s son Sean lights up Empire State Building in 2020
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The world lost one of its greatest musical talents when John horrifically killed outside his New York home on December 8, 1980, aged just 40. But the star also left behind one son who was still a little boy and another he had almost abandoned years before and with whom was just starting to rebuild and fragile new relationship. The former Beatle was also on the cusp of relaunching his music career whe everything was so tragically ripped away. Sean and Julian had very different upbringings on eother side of the Atlantic but have forged their own bond in recent years and they opened up recently about what binds the together and their memories of their father.
Julian was born while John was still married to Cynthia Lennon. The Beatles were already starting to become a global sensation and John was rarely at home.
Julian inspired the songs Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and Hey Jude but was closer to Paul McCartney. In fact, the latter song (originally called Hey Jules, for Julian) was written by Paul to comfort the young boy during his parents divorce in 1968 when he was only five.
In 1968 John married Yoko Ono and sonn moved permanently to New York. Sean was born in 1975. He, too, was only five when he lost his father but in an even more devastating way.
Julian has spoken angrily in the past about how he was neglected by his father throughout his youth but recently he opened up about their improved relationship in John’s final days.
Julian said: “Dad and I had been getting on and speaking a lot more on the phone, you know, when I was sort of 15, 16 and 17…
“I just remember that as being the last kind of moments (I spent with him), listening to him being extremely happy in a happy place, and doing what he loved, and the music that he played me at that particular point, Starting Over, and some of the other album tracks.
“I was very happy for him and looking forward to seeing him again. Anyway, in another dimension…”
He also open up about his admiration for his father’s final work, including the iconic song Mother.
Shortly before he was killed, John had released Double Fantasy, his fifth and best-seling solo album.
Julian said: “One of the things and that I’d learnt from his solo work was that directness, that rawness… I mean it was heart stopping stuff in many respects because it was so truthful…
“Those two songs, Mother and God, they really amaze me. He manages to kind of, encapsulate all of his feelings about philosophy and religion and life and The Beatles and he kind of like sums it all up in this way that I don’t think any artist could do it… It’s really an amazing tune.”
Sean admitted he struggles to listen to his father’s final work.
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Sean said: “I honestly do worry about crying because sometimes I think sometimes when I talk about certain songs that dad wrote, they’re just so emotional.
“They are hard for me to even think about, let alone listen to some of them, especially the later stuff just because I have so many memories of them making Double Fantasy and some of that stuff just breaks my heart because… it’s like a time machine, it takes me right back to those moments before (John Lennon was killed), pretty tough.”
In a BBC Radio interview last year to celebrate John’s 80th birthday, the brothers were reunited and opened up to each other.
Julian said: “More than anything, I’m just glad that we’re here, you and I love each other and are able to connect and talk so openly about any of this stuff… This is, you are my family.”
Sean replied: “I know the only brother I’ve got.”
An emotional Julian added: “Don’t get me crying over here.”
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