The relationship between Julian Lennon and his father, John Lennon, was notoriously difficult. Lennon was accused of abandoning his family by his son when he became involved with Yoko Ono in the late-1960s, while Lennon infamously claimed that Julian was the result of a “bottle of whisky”. John alternately complained to his ex-wife, Cynthia, that he couldn’t see his first son enough and allegedly conversely broke off trips that Julian was planning on making to New York in the 1970s to visit his father.
Julian did have periods of closeness with his father, including performing on the album Walls and Bridges. He and his step-brother, Sean, reportedly have a strong relationship as well, showing the estrangement between father and son wasn’t always as bitter as it might have seemed. Still, Julian has had no hesitation to sell off some of his father’s Beatles memorabilia as NFTs or hitting back at his father by calling him a “hypocrite” for singing about peace while leaving his own family in “bits and pieces”.
As he’s aged, however, Julian seems to have come to terms with his father. He’s performed songs in his father’s place and even helped dedicate the John Lennon Peace Monument to his father back in 2010. Now, Julian has done something that he has never done in a public forum before: covered what is perhaps his father’s most famous song, ‘Imagine’.
Along with Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, Lennon has performed an acoustic rendition of the 1971 single as a response to Russia’s continued insurgence in Ukraine. Lennon has also shared a message along with the track, which reads:
“The War on Ukraine is an unimaginable tragedy…
As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could. So today, for the first time ever, I publicly performed my Dad’s song, IMAGINE.
Why now, after all these years? — I had always said, that the only time I would ever consider singing ‘IMAGINE’ would be if it was the ‘End of the World’…
But also because his lyrics reflect our collective desire for peace worldwide. Because within this song, we’re transported to a space, where love and togetherness become our reality, if but for a moment in time…
The song reflects the light at the end of the tunnel, that we are all hoping for…
As a result of the ongoing murderous violence, millions of innocent families, have been forced to leave the comfort of their homes, to seek asylum elsewhere.
I’m calling on world leaders and everyone who believes in the sentiment of IMAGINE, to stand up for refugees everywhere
Please advocate and donate from the heart. #StandUpForUkraine.
Check out Julian Lennon’s rendition of ‘Imagine’ down below.