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Why Did Julian Lennon Have to Buy The Letters He Wrote to His Father, John Lennon, at an Auction?

Julian Lennon is one of John Lennon’s sons. Like his famous father, Julian is also a singer and songwriter, among other things. He inspired the band to write the songs Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Hey Jude, and Goodnight. Although John Lennon loved his son, Yoko Ono had a different relationship with Julian, leading to a more complicated dynamic after John Lennon’s death.

In order for Julian Lennon to get back the letters he wrote to his father, he needed to bid on them at an auction because Yoko Ono would not give them to him. Julian needed to fight for years to get a fraction of his father’s wealth, which he used to buy memorabilia Ono auctioned off. 

Who is Julian Lennon?

Julian Charles John Lennon was born on April 8, 1963, in Liverpool. He is the only son of John Lennon and Cynthia Powell. He was named after his grandmother, Julia Lennon, who had passed five years prior to his birth.

Julian attended a boarding school in North Wales called Ruthin School. At the age of 5, his parents divorced after John Lennon’s affair with the Japanese artist Yoko Ono. Lennon and Ono married in 1969, and Julian would have a younger half-brother, Sean.

The song Hey Jude, written by Paul McCartney, was intended to console Julian after his parents’ divorce. It was originally called Hey Jules. It was changed to Jude because it was easier to sing.

After the divorce, Julian had no contact with his father until the 1970s, when Lennon and Ono separated. Julian started to visit his father regularly, and John Lennon encouraged his interest in music. He bought Julian a Gibson Les Paul guitar and a drum machine. (Source: Wales Online)

How Was Julian Lennon’s Relationship with His Father?

John Lennon was murdered on December 8, 1980. Following his death, Julian expressed his anger and resentment towards his father.

I’ve never really wanted to know the truth about how dad was with me. There was some very negative stuff talked about me like when he said I’d come out of a whiskey bottle on a Saturday night. Stuff like that. You think, where’s the love in that? Paul and I used to hang about quite a bit more than Dad and I did. We had a great friendship going and there seems to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing together at that age than there are pictures of me and my dad.

Julian Lennon

Julian even spoke about his father’s stance on love and peace.

I have to say that, from my point of view, I felt he was a hypocrite. Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son. How can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces—no communication, adultery, divorce? You can’t do it, not if you’re being true and honest with yourself.

Julian Lennon

Even with airing out his grievances about their relationship, Julian still loved his father. In an interview in 2009, he recalled how he got along better with his dad when Yoko Ono was out of the picture, as they separated and John Lennon was dating May Pang.

Dad and I got on a great deal better then. We had a lot of fun, laughed a lot and had a great time in general when he was with May Pang. My memories of that time with Dad and May are very clear — they were the happiest time I can remember with him.

Julian Lennon

(Source: The Times)

Julian Lennon’s Inheritance

Julian Lennon was excluded from his father’s will. But John Lennon created a trust valued at £100,000 intended to be shared by his two sons. Julian sued his father’s estate in 1996. They reached a settlement of £20 million, authorized by Yoko Ono.

It wasn’t the first time Ono made things difficult for Julian. He had to actually buy back postcards and letters he had written to his father through an auction because Ono did not want to give them to him. Julian started buying back memorabilia Ono auctioned off with the money he got from the settlement. (Source: The Dini Petty Show)

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