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‘I want to be me’

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He may be hitting the big 6-0 next April, but in a very meaningful way, Julian Lennon — firstborn son of John — is only 2 years old.

That’s because the singer-songwriter — who was actually born John Charles Julian Lennon to the late Beatles legend and his first wife Cynthia Lennon — legally changed his name to Julian Charles John Lennon in 2020.

“I’d always take an issue with that, because I’d always been known as Julian — first and foremost to my mum,” Lennon, 59, told The Post. “And I used to get a lot of crap for [being named John] at airport security. People would look at my passport, maybe not recognize me, and go, ‘John Lennon — ha, ha, that’s funny.’ After over 30-40 years of publicly having to deal with that… I just went, ‘You know what? I want to be Julian, I want to be me for F sake.’ “

Julian Lennon’s new album, “Jude,” is his first LP in 11 years.
Julian Lennon and his father John Lennon
Julian Lennon actually shared his first name with father John until he legally changed it two years ago. Father and son are seen here in 1968.

And it’s this officially named Julian who releases “Jude” — his first album in 11 years — on Friday. The LP arrives 37 years after Lennon scored Top 10 hits with his first two US singles: “Valotte,” the title tune from his 1984 debut album, and “Too Late for Goodbyes.”

And if that album title of “Jude” makes Beatlemaniacs take note, yes, it is indeed a reference to “Hey Jude,” the 1968 No. 1 hit by the Fab Four. Paul McCartney originally wrote the song as “Hey Jules” — a reference to Julian’s nickname — to comfort John Lennon’s young son after his father left his mother for Yoko Ono. And to this day, the sweetest of serenades to “make it better” for a little boy stirs mixed feelings in the Beatles scion.

Julian Lennon and Sean Lennon
Julian Lennon with his half-brother Sean Lennon at the “Get Back” premiere last year.

“Back then I was too young to understand what it represented,” said Lennon. “Obviously, it’s lovely to have a song written about you, and especially out of concern. But I think a lot of the public never realized… that it reminds me of a very dark time in many respects, because, you know, that’s when dad walked out the door. That’s when he left mum and I, and my concern was for my mom’s welfare and well-being more than my own.”

McCartney himself gave a FaceTime thumbs-up to “Jude” as the title of the album, which pictures a young Lennon looking pensive on its cover. “I have a lot of respect and love for Paul, and I can’t thank him enough,” said Lennon.

John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Julian Lennon.
Julian Lennon with father John Lennon and stepmother Yoko Ono in 1968.

Like the rest of the world, Lennon got to see the intimate inner workings between his father, McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr when the exhaustive documentary “Get Back” came out last fall, depicting the Beatles on the verge of the biggest band breakup. in history. After he was initially reluctant to see the film for the first time in public, his 46-year-old half-brother Sean Lennon — whose mother is Ono — convinced him to bro up for the premiere.

“I said, ‘All right, let’s go together. We’ll go hand in hand and be brothers in arms,’ ” said Lennon, who felt a closer connection to his father while watching the documentary. “He very much reminded me of when we used to hang out, you know, when I was a kid. He was clearly very goofy, very cynical, a smart ass, quick-witted … I have to say that I fell in love with that again, because he was there as I remembered him before he walked out the door.”

The "Jude" album cover
The title of Julian Lennon’s new album, “Jude,” was inspired by the Beatles classic “Hey Jude.”
Julian Lennon in 1984
Julian Lennon made his debut with his album “Valotte” in 1984.

Lennon paid a moving tribute to his father when he covered “Imagine” in Global Citizen’s Stand Up for Ukraine benefit in April, making a special exception for a worthy cause. “I had no intentions of re-recording or singing Beatles or Dad’s songs,” he said. “I’ve always felt that they did a great job the first time around.”

And the Monaco-based artist keeps his dad’s utopian vision alive on “Jude.” “I get angry about situations,” said Lennon, “but I try to look at it from a more positive angle with all the work that I do.”

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