Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Catching up with Jules

We’ve always rooted for Julian Lennon. How can we not? Imagine what it has been like walking in those shoes.

We rooted for him to be successful as a musician, an artist, a sailor, whatever propelled him. But especially as a musician, because there is where the unfair but inevitable comparisons lie. And he didn’t get off to a bad start. Here’s what the San Antonio Light wrote after Lennon’s first concert – held on this day in 1985:

“Julian Lennon’s first U.S. tour began with a seamless San Antonio triumph last night, a powerful concert debut that left little doubt the son of the late John Lennon is his own man … The crowd at the sold-out Majestic Theatre loved everything, embracing Lennon and his powerful band … When he and his band bowed to a deafening ovation, it was clear in his smile that he knew he’d arrived on his own terms.”

It is mere coincidence that the Light, a fine afternoon newspaper, vanished a few years later. Lennon, meanwhile, has disappeared from time to time while chasing other dreams, only to reappear and restart a music career that must be considered at least moderately successful.

Lennon's debut album Valotte had a pair of Top 10 hits and earned him a Grammy nomination in 1986 for Best New Artist. (The Grammy went to Sade, but the real surprise that year was Whitney Houston’s exclusion from the New Artist ballot. Despite selling more than 2 million debut albums she was deemed ineligible for previously recording a duet on a Teddy Pendergrass album.)

Lennon produced three more albums before setting aside music in 1991 for other pursuits.  He didn’t reappear until 1998 with Photograph Smile, his last album. That is a long spell. He turns 48 in April. We have been hearing about a new album since last fall when he opened his first photography exhibit to much fanfare at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in NYC. But nothing yet.

Photography apparently has been a smoother road for him. “You never escape the Lennon,” he told a Wall Street Journal reporter at his premiere. “But dad was never a photographer, so there’s this sense of freedom. Photography is another creative level for me.”

We get that. And we’re happy to report that his photography has been very well received. Maybe he'll just stick to that. But if he’s got another album in the can we wouldn't mind hearing it. Curiosity, you know?


  1. It's hard to know what it would be like to always be eclipsed by a father who throws such a gigantic shadow.

    Julian, to these ears, had more interesting albums than little brother Sean.

    Always wondered what it would be like to have the brothers collaborate on an album. Maybe it's problematic. Afterall, the Fogertys couldn't stay together, and they didn't have a dad who was a megastar.

  2. Julian Lennon has a very special vocal instrument that should be developing even more soul as it ages. Would like to hear more.