This would have been an epic year to fill an arena with John Lennon fans and famous performers to commemorate what would have been the former Beatle’s 80th birthday. But due to COVID-19, of course, this wasn’t possible.
Instead, the former Beatle’s son, Sean, who turned 45 on the birthday he shares with his father, got together with two of the men who knew his father best to share their memories of John Lennon.
Here’s what happened.
Sean Lennon hosted a BBC radio show honoring his father John Lennon
John Lennon’s younger son, Sean, 45, who is a musician in his own right, got the chance to interview three significant people in his father’s life: his brother Julian Lennon, and legendary musicians Paul McCartney and Elton John in a BBC Radio 2 program.
The BBC stated about the two-night program which aired Oct. 3 and 4, “John Lennon would have turned 80 years old on Friday 9 October. Hosted by his youngest son Sean in his first-ever radio show about his father, this is a celebratory, musical, family portrait of the legendary musician.”
Sean Lennon chatted with Paul McCartney and Elton John
Sean Lennon on the program spoke at length with his brother Julian Lennon, John’s first son from his marriage to Cynthia Lennon; his father’s famous musical collaborator, Paul McCartney; and Elton John, also a musical legend and one of John Lennon’s closest friends.
McCartney spoke of meeting his former Beatles cofounder and of John’s mother, Julia.
“I look back on it now like a fan,” the Maybe I’m Amazed singer said, “how lucky was I to meet this strange teddy boy off the bus, who played music like I did and we get together and boy, we complemented each other!”
As for Julia Lennon, “She was a doll, you would have loved her.”
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Sean told Elton John that the latter’s 1974 concert at Madison Square Garden may have played a huge role in his conception. His parents at the time had been estranged and the concert brought them back together – and Sean into existence.
“And the astonishing thing was, Sean, that after that and then you were born, I really didn’t hear or see your dad at all,” John said. “And I didn’t mind because you know what, he was so happy being back with your mum, and he was so enchanted having you that it was his life had become another thing.
“And so I didn’t really speak to him or see him that much at all, or hear from him. And I didn’t mind because it was just the fact that that night was so consequential in the history of his life. The fact that he got back together with your mom, and then they had you, and that consequently that’s why they asked me to be your godfather, because it was happenstance and kismet.”
Sean Lennon admitted that his father’s music was ‘overwhelming’
As to be expected, part of the conversation between the four men turned to Lennon’s death in 1980.
Sean opened up about the pain of listening to Lennon’s final album, Double Fantasy, after his father’s death. Five years of age at the time it was recorded, Sean would sit in on his parents’ recording sessions.
“The sort of stark contrast between how optimistic and positive [Double Fantasy] is musically and how happy he is, and then the sort of context in which it came out is just, you know, there’s no other way to put it, but it’s tragic, but it’s incredible,” Sean said.
“That is why that record, specifically, is really emotional for me to listen to, because I love the music,” he continued. “I actually remember my earliest memories are being in the studio during that record. But at the same time, it’s just, it’s a little overwhelming how, how tragic the whole thing is.”
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