Sean Lennon: Seán Taro Ono Lennon is a British-American singer, songwriter, musician, guitarist and actor. He is the only son between John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He was born on October 9, 1975.
Sean Lennon was born in New York City on October 9, 1975, his father’s 35th birthday. Julian Lennon and Kyoko Chan Cox are his half-siblings. After Sean’s birth, John became a house husband, doting on his young son until his murder in 1980. Sean was educated at the exclusive private boarding school Institut Le Rosey in Rolle Switzerland and earlier at New York’s private Ethical Culture Fieldston School and Dalton School. He later attended Columbia University, though only for three semesters before dropping out to focus on his music career.
His parents did not force him into the life of a musician: they intentionally hid their musical lives from their son. His debut into the music world came at the age of five, reciting a story on his mother’s 1981 album Season of Glass. From childhood into his teen years Sean continued to collaborate with his mother, contributing vocals and receiving production credit on her solo albums It’s Alright (I See Rainbows), Starpeace and Onobox. At 16 Sean co-wrote the song “All I Ever Wanted” with Lenny Kravitz for his 1991 album Mama Said. By 1995 Sean had formed the band IMA (with Sam Koppelman and Timo Ellis) to play alongside his mother on her album Rising. Sean also made appearances in film, featured in the cast of Michael Jackson’s 1988 Moonwalker and portraying a teenager experiencing visions of various M. C. Escher paintings in Sony’s 1990 promotional short-film Infinite Escher.
Julian Lennon: John Charles Julian Lennon is an English musician and songwriter, and the first son of John Lennon. He is the only child of Lennon’s first marriage to Cynthia Powell, and his godfather was Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. He was named after John Lennon’s late mother, Julia.
Julian Lennon was born in Liverpool. Initially, John Lennon concealed the fact that he was married and had a child, in keeping with the conventional wisdom of the era that female teenage fans would not be as enamoured of married male pop stars. However, when the British media discovered that John Lennon was a married father, it did not affect his popularity with fans.
Julian attended the set of The Beatles’ film Magical Mystery Tour and directly inspired one of his father’s most famous songs, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, whose lyrics describe a picture Julian drew, a watercolour painting of a girl (a classmate named Lucy O’Donnell) surrounded by stars.
When he was five, Julian’s parents divorced after John Lennon’s infidelity with Yoko Ono. He once again inspired another Beatles classic. Paul McCartney wrote “Hey Jude” as a way of consoling him over the divorce. Originally called “Hey Jules”, McCartney changed the name because he thought “Jude” was an easier name to sing.
He had almost no contact with his father after the divorce, until the early 1970s, at the instigation of John Lennon’s then girlfriend May Pang. Julian began to see his father more regularly. John bought Julian a Gibson Les Paul guitar and a drum machine for Christmas in 1973, and encouraged Julian’s interest in music by showing him some chords.
Julian made his musical debut at age 11 on his father’s album Walls and Bridges playing drums on “Ya-Ya.” His reaction was, “Dad, had I known you were going to put it on the album, I would’ve played much better!”
Following his father’s murder, Julian Lennon voiced anger and resentment toward him, saying
“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.”
He was not included in the will drawn up by Yoko Ono, and was annoyed that he had to buy mementos of his father at auctions. A settlement was eventually reached wherein Julian was given “a large but undisclosed sum”. By 2009 Lennon’s feelings toward his father had mellowed. Recalling his renewed relationship with his father in the mid-1970s, he said,
“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 them.”
He has been quoted as having a “cordial” relationship with Ono while getting along very well with her son, his half-brother Sean, even spending time together on Sean’s tour in 2007.