Julian Lennon admits he’s come to terms with many aspects of his past. From accepting the nickname of “Jude,” which Paul McCartney bequeathed him with the Beatles classic “Hey Jude,” to formally changing his first name to Julian — despite his birth certificate listing it as John, and finding new ways to enjoy his father, the late-John Lennon. Julian’s upcoming album, Jude, is set for release on September 9th.
Julian spoke to Yahoo Music and explained that seeing the Peter Jackson-directed Beatles doc, Get Back, was a game-changer for him, admitting it was: “A lot to process. It really reminded me of the way Dad used to be. Y’know, when we were together, when I was a kid, he was funny, goofy, sarcastic, talented, moody, broody — but fun. And that was all the things that he was to me when we lived together. And it made me fall in love with him again, which was really lovely. It made me appreciate him again, and reminded me of how he was before everything went a bit pear-shaped.”
Julian touched upon the reasons behind changing his name legally: “Recently, in 2020, I decided that I was going to change my name, because originally my name was John Lennon — John Charles Julian Lennon. And I’d had issues with that, especially at airports and security — not-so-great moments and comments that had gone by because of my name being John, whether people recognized me or not. I decided that in 2020, after going through another learning process in life, that I wanted to become Julian. I was sick and tired of being someone else’s John. And so, I changed my name to Julian Charles John Lennon. . . And that was all related to ‘Jude’ and ‘Jules,’ which is my nickname on a daily basis. So, it just made sense to me, and also with what was going on with the Beatles and Get Back and my feelings about that too. It was all intermingled.”
He said that he’s forgiven his father, “. . . many years ago for the stress that happened in not only in my life, but Mom’s life too. . . Certainly we tried to embrace each other’s company and tried to learn about each other again before he passed. And it was enjoyable experience. It was great. And I was longing to hang out with him even more, but you know, sadly what happened, happened. . . So, (Get Back) was just a way of remembering who he was and seeing the human side of him again. And that inspired me, and I loved that. So, the idea of that also tied into being Jude as well.”
Back on April 8th, which was also his 59th birthday, Julian Lennon sang his father, John Lennon’s global peace anthem “Imagine” for the first time publicly as part of Global Citizen’s Stand Up For Ukraine. Julian, who over the years has turned down countless requests to perform his father’s best-loved solo song, sang the 1971 classic on video, accompanied by Extreme‘s Nuno Bettencourt on acoustic guitar and harmony vocals.
Julian told us that the reasons for him singing his father’s song were a lot more important than ruminating on the fact that he actually did it: “A lot of people had mentioned — even since doing ‘Imagine’ — ‘Y’know he vowed never to do it!’ I never vowed never to do it, I never said that. I don’t know where that came from. No, I just said it would have to be the right occasion and something that was beyond meaningful and close to the end of the world in many respects on many levels. And certainly this, where we’re at, y’know, just watching the news these days, y’know, we haven’t learned anything. I’d still such a mess.”