Julian Lennon, the son of John Lennon, has revealed the one song by The Beatles that he finds “frustrating” to hear.
In a new interview, Julian, 60, revealed that the song reminds him of his parent’s divorce, which saw John leave his mother Cynthia for Yoko Ono.
Musician and photographer Julian revealed that the song in question is 1968 classic “Hey Jude”, which was written for him by Paul McCartney.
“It’s a beautiful sentiment, no question about that, and I’m very thankful – but I’ve also been driven up the wall by it,” he told Esquire
“I love the fact that he wrote a song about me and for Mum, but depending on what side of the bed one woke up on, and where you’re hearing it, it can be a good or a slightly frustrating thing.”
John met Julian’s mother, Cynthia, in a calligraphy class in 1957 and married in 1962. Julian, who was born the following year, added that there is not a “bad word” he could say about the song itself, but said it conjures up specific memories from his childhood.
Recalling several incidents when people have quoted the song back to him, Julian said: “Every time you quote that [song], it reminds me of my mother being separated from my father, the love that was lost, the fact that I rarely saw my father again ever.”
“I saw him maybe a couple of times before he died,” Julian said of his father.
“A lot of people don’t quite get how intense, how emotional, and how personal that is. It’s not just a ‘pick yourself up and dust yourself off and be happy.’ There’s deep emotional pain. I can celebrate it – but also it’s something that’ll always be dark to me.”
In an interview given months before his death in 1980, John famously revealed to David Sheff, via Far Out magazine, that his bandmate McCartney had written the track about his son Julian.
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“He knew I was splitting with Cyn and leaving Julian. He was driving over to say hi to Julian,” John said of McCartney’s inspiration behind writing “Hey Jude”.
“He’d been like an uncle to him. You know, Paul was always good with kids. And so he came up with ‘Hey Jude.’”
“But I always heard it as a song to me. If you think about it… Yoko’s just come into the picture. He’s saying, ‘Hey, Jude – hey, John,’” the musician stated. “I know I’m sounding like one of those fans who reads things into it, but you can hear it as a song to me. The words ‘Go out and get her’ – subconsciously he was saying, ‘Go ahead, leave me.’”
In an interview with the New York Post in 2022, Julian claimed that the iconic song was originally named “Hey Jules”, in reference to his own nickname. Julian was 17 when his father was murdered outside his apartment in Mahattan’s Upper West Side.
“But I think a lot of the public never realized… that it reminds me of a very dark time in many respects, because, you know, that’s when Dad walked out the door,” he continued. “That’s when he left Mum and I, and my concern was for my mom’s welfare and well-being more than my own.”