A few years ago, Julian Lennon pictured himself as a man who could write music again.
“I started hearing songs, tunes, melodies and lyrics in my head and I couldn’t help myself,” he says. It was the end of a nearly decade-long drought, during which he had turned to filmmaking.
Recently, he saw himself as someone who could help independent artists get their music heard and co-founded a digital music services business. “My friends all agreed the major-label system was falling to pieces and that we needed a new way forward,” says Lennon, 46, of his theRevolution label.
The single Lucy will be released Dec. 15 via online music retailers worldwide to honor Lennon’s childhood friend Lucy Vodden, who died of lupus in September at age 46. The song will sell for $1.29, $2.29 or $3.29 per download (some discs are being produced as well), depending upon the retailer and how much the buyer wants to contribute, and most proceeds will go to St. Thomas’ Lupus Trust in Great Britain and the Lupus Foundation of America.
James Scott Cook, one of the new artists working with Lennon’s company, was recording a pop song he had written called Lucy when they learned of Vodden’s death. The song became a duet for charity, incorporating new lyrics by Lennon “to make it more suitable for the purpose.”
Lennon says he was “3 or 4” when he showed his father his crayon drawing of his friend and described it as “Lucy in the sky with diamonds.” John used the phrase as the basis for the psychedelic hit that appeared on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
He lost track of Vodden but reconnected after learning she had lupus. “She created millions with her name. The least I could do was try to support her and make sure she was comfortable.”
The single is Lennon’s first release in a decade, and next summer he’ll follow with an album, Everything Changes,and a tour. The album “is about life, momentum, about what we have to deal with on an everyday basis,” says Lennon, who lives in Italy but plans to spend more time in New York to work on his label.
He says he and his father were repairing their relationship when Lennon was killed in 1980.