Thursday, April 11, 2013
Happy 50th Birthday Julian Lennon
It is pretty hard to imagine that Julian is now 50. He has outlived his father John Lennon now for 10 years and counting. I do wonder how John would be feeling like if he was still alive. Would he be flabbergasted? Would he be in disbelief? A lot of fans on both Twitter and Facebook were feeling those for sure. Many feel old. Many still think of Julian as a kid- either from when he was a toddler in the Beatles' years or just starting out as a musician in the 1980s. John never lived to be 50; if he had been alive today, he would've been 72 years old. I think if John was alive, he would've been bald. His father Alfred was bald from the pictures I've seen of him. John's hair was even looking like it was thinning. And now today, Julian is starting to get that way too- his forehead looked bigger than it did 20 years ago.
I do remember Julian when I was a little girl. I remember seeing his music video Too Late for Goodbyes on MTV when it came out. I was under 10 years old. I didn't exactly follow his career closely- my Barbies were far more interesting. I was also too hung over by Queen during that time period. It wasn't until the 1990s when I started to really pay attention. However during that time in Julian's life, he made 2 studio albums, a few songs for a few soundtracks here and there and kept a low profile for the most part. For Julian's part, it turned out that he was searching for answers regarding his father as well as making sense and peace of all the messes that happened in his life, personal and professional turmoils, a drug habit, to name a few. Today, it seems as though Julian did manage to find some answers as well as making peace and concluded that his father John Lennon was a great musician for sure but not exactly Father of the Year material.
John did love Julian, right from the beginning. Yes he was shocked that Cynthia (John's first wife, mother of Julian) was pregnant, and yes, I do agree that the pregnancy may have not been the best timing. But things happen. He never convinced Cynthia to get an abortion. I have never heard or seen any indication about that. Nor give Julian up for adoption. But neither of those two things Cynthia would have never opted those for herself and for her baby either. In her defense, Cynthia wasn't prepared for motherhood either nor was it the right timing for her. I don't believe ever that Cynthia wanted to trap John into marriage and having a family or whatever. At that time, John was broke and was at the beginning line of getting famous with The Beatles. So was Cynthia. She lived in shabby apartment while John lived with his Aunt Mimi Smith. Anyway, Cynthia never considered adoption or abortion- she did mentioned it in her 2005 book John and pretty much said "no way, I'm keeping my kid regardless". Cynthia also gave John the chance to back out and break up with her. John was not backed into the corner- he had a way to escape and not look back. But John didn't do that either. John was raised with the knowledge of "If you get your girlfriend pregnant, you marry her" (as was Cynthia) but not only did Cynthia gave him the option of leaving her, his Aunts also suggested he take that option but he refused. Then again, there's other sides of friends and business associates that say the opposite that John didn't want to marry Cynthia. Maybe that's true to a degree- John was only 21 years old and his career was starting to take off. I don't think John was thinking of marriage at that point but according to Pete Best, John did plan on marrying Cynthia after once the Beatles started to take off. (Of course, there's also the people who strongly believe that if Cynthia hadn't gotten pregnant, John wouldn't have married her- but that is a big WHAT IF scenario and that's something we would never know). But no matter what people say- relative, friend, business associate, band-mate, fan- the only person that only knows how he really felt and thought was John. And he's dead. But the fact remains: John went through with the marriage that lasted for 6 years. The Who's Roger Daltrey was in that similar situation with his first wife Jacqueline but their marriage lasted much less than that (however I should add that Roger and Jackie had taken vacations together with their son and their respected families so their post-divorce led them as parents to their son Simon and as friends). Another point I would like to say is that there's quite a number of people who have treated John and Cynthia's wedding/marriage as a pregnancy-induced shotgun deal- it's not like John and Cynthia met one night in July of 1962 and had a one-night stand! John and Cynthia were together for 4 years before Cynthia got pregnant. To tell you the truth, I'm a bit surprised that they didn't get pregnant sooner as they never used protection that was available in those days and they were quite a pair of passionate rabid bunnies!
When Julian was born, John was 22. His career as getting busier and busier, which made John away a lot so he missed any opportunities to really make a strong bond-base between father and son. Julian seemed to have made peace with this part. John was a musician and if you are going to be a musician, chances are you'll be away a lot. You'll be in the studio for long hours recording an album. You'll be touring- and in those days you barely had control of your profession as a musician. John couldn't really take his family with him on tour as Paul McCartney later did after the Beatles' broke up because there were so many fans surrounding them. John already took Cynthia with him to America and that experience probably showed him the light and decision to leave the family home. By the time Paul started to tour on his own, the fans' mania had cooled off in some respects. I'm pretty sure the same situation would've been if John had been an actor, or a cop, or a doctor. When Julian became a musician himself and saw firsthand of what life was like, I'm sure Julian went "ooooooh, now I get it".
John also didn't exactly had the best father-figure in his life. His father Alfred was barely there, he did had his Uncle George but he died when John was about 13 years old. There was also John Dykins, his mother Julia's boyfriend and father of John's half sisters Julia and Jackie but I don't think John ever saw him as his own father-figure.
John did realize his mistakes and tried his best to make up for them when he had Sean. Although I believe his intentions were from the heart, I don't think it was the way to go to make it up with Julian. If John wanted to make up lost time then he should've thought that Julian could live with him for a few years. I don't think Julian would've relished that idea nor would Cynthia but it would've done something, a big difference. What's a better way to really know someone than to live with them? I do recall John wanted full custody of Julian during the time he and Cynthia were getting a divorce but he was talked out of it by one of his Aunts and his lawyer that the child was best left with his mother on a regular basis (and Cynthia was very willing to give a fight).