Julian Lennon, son of slain Beatles composer John Lennon, turned 40 on April 8, 2003. John Charles Julian Lennon, the eldest of Lennon's two sons by two wives, has reached the age at which his famous father was gunned down assassination-style on Monday, December 8, 1980; only two months after his own 40th birthday.

     Named John for his father, Charles for his maternal grandfather, and Julian for his fraternal grandmother, the Lennon couple called their Beatle bambino Julian. Lennon's marriage and son were, at first, a poorly kept secret from the young Beatle-crazed public.

     John Lennon married Cynthia Powell on August 23, 1963. Many Beatle sources incorrectly cite their marriage year as 1962, because Cynthia subconsciously wished it had preceded Julian's birthdate. Cynthia was granted a divorce from Lennon on November 8, 1968. Cynthia married Roberto Bassinini in 1970. Later, Cynthia married John Twist in 1977.

     Julian Lennon dedicated his 1998 album, Photograph Smile, to his stepfather, Roberto. Lennon was only 17 when his father was ambushed in the archway of the Dakota on his way home from the recording studio shortly before eleven o'clock on that fateful Monday night.

     Julian Lennon's half-brother, Sean Ono Lennon, was born on October 9, 1975, the same day as their father. John married Yoko Ono at Gibraltar on March 20, 1969, and together, Sean was their only child. Julian Lennon later made his feelings known about his missing famous father during his childhood.

     Paul McCartney inadvertently wrote "Hey Jude" while driving to visit Julian at home to offer support as his parents were spitting up. Paul's original lyric was "Hey Jules". Julian recorded a cover version of McCartney's "When I'm Sixty-Four", a Beatle track he sang as a lark for a television commercial.

     Julian accompanied his father and Yoko during John's performance with The Dirty Mac in the Rolling Stones' Rock And Roll Circus, filmed December 1968. The DVD and disc of the Circus was not officially released until 1996.

     John Lennon composed "Goodnight" as a lullaby for Julian, sung by Ringo Starr in 1968, on "The White Album". Lennon whispered, "Happy Christmas, Julian", at the beginning of his 1971 single "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". In 1974, father and son recorded "Ya Ya" together with John on piano and Julian on drums for the Walls And Bridges album.

     John Lennon composed "Life Begins At 40" for Ringo Starr to record in 1980. Unfortunately, Lennon's murder ended their studio reunion before recording commenced. Lennon's humorous country demo of "Life Begins At 40" was released on the John Lennon Anthology in 1998.

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Life Begins at 40
John Charles Julian Lennon turns 40

by Timothy Tilghman