Julian Lennon – Valotte

When I first heard this on the radio I thought it was a John Lennon song. Julian’s voice is different but can be very similar to John. 

This was Julian’s first single in the US and his second in the UK. His next American single, “Too Late for Goodbyes,” fared even better, going to #5 in the Billboard 100.

Julian recorded this at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, which was located along the Tennessee River in Sheffield, Alabama.Jimmy Johnson who was one of the studio owners, Lennon’s lyric “Sitting on a pebble by the river playing guitar” was inspired by his time there.

Valotte peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100 and #9 in Canada.

The great director Sam Peckinpah directed Julian’s first two movies.

Julian Lennon: “The place where that was written, which was actually a beautiful little run-down chateau in the middle of France, which is where the label at the time decided was a good place to send their artists to work out their writing skills. I know that Thomas Dolby had been down there and a few other high-end acts at that point in time.

It was just a really tranquil, beautiful spot in the middle of nowhere, where one could get a little lonely, I guess. The song initially came from that idea of just being in this beautiful landscape and dreaming of the idea that if you found that love of your life, this is something that you’d aspire to. It’s as simple as that, really.”

 

From Songfacts

The album was dedicated to “My mother Cynthia and to my Father.” Julian is John Lennon’s first son. His mother is Cynthia Lennon, who John was married to before Yoko (they had a son named Sean). Julian sounds a lot like his dad, and a lot of people were surprised to learn it was not a John Lennon song when they first heard it.

On “Valotte,” Lennon was backed by bass player David Hood, and keyboard player Barry Beckett, and drummer Roger Hawkins, who were the other owners of the studio.

The album was mixed at The Hit Factory recording studio in New York City on the same console John Lennon used to record the album Double Fantasy.

Most Americans got their first look at Julian Lennon on MTV, which gave his clips consistent airplay. In the UK, he often appeared in the gossip press, but his interviews to promote the Valotte album gave the first real insights into his personality and his feelings toward his dad. In these early interviews, he stressed that he was forming his own identity, and in no way trying to emulate his father’s music. He also spent a lot of time disproving the notion that he was a coddled rich kid; he went to public schools and did not receive money from John Lennon’s estate until he was older.

As for the question of how he felt toward his dad, Julian explained that he was proud of his dad’s work, but it was very difficult growing up with an absent father. In his first Melody Maker interview, he said, “I always had something against him, but I never knew what it was… apart from him leaving home and all that. It was because I went to visit him but he never came to visit me. That’s the only thing that got me.”

Justin Clayton and Carlton Morales, who played guitar on the album, co-wrote this song with Lennon.

Valotte

Sitting on the doorstep of the house I can’t afford
I can feel you there
Thinking of a reason, well, it’s really not very hard
to love you even though you nearly lost my heart
How can I explain the meaning of our love
It fits so tight, closer than a glove

[ Chorus ]

Sitting on a pebble by the river playing guitar
Wonderin’ if we’re really ever gonna get that far
Do you know there’s something wrong
‘Cause I’ve felt it all along

I can see you face in the mirrors of my mind
Will you still be there
We’re really not so clever as we seem to think we are
We’ve always got our troubles
So we’ll solve them at the bar
The days go by, we seem to drift apart
If I could only find a way to keep hold of your heart

[ Repeat chorus ]

Sitting in the valley as I watch the sun go down
I can see you there
Thinking of a reason, well, it’s really not very hard
to love you though you nearly lost my heart
When will we know when the change is gonna come
I’ve got a good feeling and it’s coming from the sun

Sitting on a pebble by the river playing guitar
Wonderin’ if we’re really ever gonna get that far
Do you know there’s something wrong
We’ll stick together ’cause we’re strong

 

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

33 thoughts on “Julian Lennon – Valotte”

  1. a great song. My favorite of Julian’s. I think it would’ve fit in ok with his father’s catalog, but I guess for some people that was the problem – it was TOO like John.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We can’t have that! We need to hear “Sweet Home Alabama” again! I am glad it is not wore out don’t get me wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. This is truly a good song. I wish he would have went the way Jacob Dylan did with the Wallflowers…starting with a band instead of just him. I don’t know if it would have mattered…I guess the comparisons would have been there regardless.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I bought this cassette when it came out (’84?) and always liked it, but hadn’t heard the whole album in probably 25 years. I found a used CD a couple years back and was glad that it had aged better than I expected. That is, the songs are strong enough to overcome that 1980’s production.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “strong enough to overcome that 1980’s production.” you said it all in that. I was surprised when I heard it again a a little while back.

      I wonder if Julian would have made it with a band…like Jakob Dylan…if that would have helped make his career a little longer? Instead of all the attention just on him…but when you are Lennon’s son it may not have mattered.

      Like

    1. This is the song that he sounds like John more than any other to me because it sounds more like a John song. I really liked his 90s music also but it didn’t get played much.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Julian’s album Photograph Smile is his best work, and far too under-appreciated. Well worth searching out if you have not. And apologies in advance if I have said this previously.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. He sounds like his dad but, to me, more polished. I’ve always liked his voice better.

    He and I have a lot in common. We are close in age and had absent fathers. Not impressed with John’s behavior…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like his voice…but as you know I like rawness better. That is why I favor Lennon over McCartney’s voice. Thats not saying I don’t like McCartneys but Lennon’s would cut through fog…I like that.

      Like

  5. The production kind of had that John Lennon feel about it. I liked that album a lot. Obviously he wasn’t his father but I thought he would have more success than he did.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Unlike many other songs by Julian, this beautiful ballad definitely had John Lennon written all over it. While I really dig it, I guess it can be a double-edged sword when you want to be your own artist and release a song that very much sounds your famous dad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea this song sounds like a John song more than any other of his. Jakob Dylan got by with being a famous son…being in the Wallflowers I think helped divert some of the attention.

      Liked by 1 person

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