U2’s Bono Writes Emotional Letter To John Lennon
Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press
Bono has penned a fan letter to John Lennon and the Beatles‘ eldest son Julian Lennon.
The reflection arrives as part of a series of 60 letters the U2 singer musical heroes which accompanies playlist Bono – 60 Songs That Saved My Life.
The letter reads as follows.
All the Beatles solo work has held me at one time or another.
I surrendered to George Harrison’s WHAT IS LIFE… all things must pass, my arse.
I know you know these songs will be with us forever.
Like so many fathers, I marched on The Fat Controller with Ringo star as Thomas the Tank Engine. And yes Ringo’s version of WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS is still my favourite.
I loved Paul and Linda McCartney’s album, RAM, age 12… I bought MY LOVE (DOES IT GOOD) age 13… that he (our very own Johanns Sebastien Bach) walks around so himself in a world where everyone changes around him, is beyond impressive. And his Ma was with us all for LET IT BE.
But on the mothers front, John Lennon really went there with MOTHER… and that must have hurt a long time before healing. If he’d have made it into his 40’s he’d have followed you around with pride the way you did him.
I’ve been writing a version of this song all my life… so many rock’n’rollers write from a place of abandonment to a place of abandonment… in hip hop it’s often the father but in rock it’s often enough the mother, even if the mother just passes away too early for adolescence to wear itself out, and so it continues…
Your fan and friend,
Having both struck out in the world of pop music in the 1980s, Bono and Julian Lennon are well acquainted.
“Bono looks like a later version of Dad,” Julian Lennon shared with The Guardian after photographing Bono in 201o, “the emotion on their faces is almost identical.”
“Bono is a huge John Lennon fan,” he continued, “and I’m a huge fan of both of them, of course.”
The song ‘Mother’ to which Bono refers comes to form Lennon’s post-Beatles debut John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.
Brazenly documenting Lennon’s grief at the loss of his mother Julia Lennon at age 17 and his troubled relationship with his father Freddie Lennon, the song is considered one of the Beatle’s most confessional works.
“Many, many people will not like ‘Mother’,” Lennon shared at the time of the album’s release, “it hurts them. The first thing that happens to you when you get the album is you can’t take it. Everybody reacted exactly the same. They think, ‘fuck!’ That’s how everybody is.”
The full playlist here.