Julian Lennon on Beatles-obsessed collectors: 'The whole thing is bizarre'

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Growing up around the Beatles, young Julian Lennon saw firsthand how fame enveloped them. Still, he’s surprised at how far some people will go in 2012 as they pursue all things Fab.

Lennon, the oldest son of slain Beatles leader John Lennon, issued the well-received Everything Changes last year, his first full-length project since 1998’s Photograph Smile. He actually held an exhibit of his own collection of Beatles-related memorabilia in Liverpool recently, as well.

But nothing like the stuff he’s read about.

“I heard some fruitcake bought one of my dad’s teeth,” the younger Lennon tells Metro, “and I found out a guy was supposedly selling one of my baby teeth.”

A Canadian dentist, it’s said, paid some $31,200 for the Beatle’s molar back in November. As for the veracity of the tooth supposedly belonging to Julian, he’s not so sure: “It’s possible,” Lennon offers. “People are strange. Maybe a dentist or someone kept one of my teeth when I was kid. Who knows? It was something pertaining to my dad in some way. Apparently that’s the provenance of it but I can’t verify that. The only way to do it is with DNA testing but the whole thing is bizarre.”

He started his own collection of items, at first, with a focus on reconnecting with his absent father. Later, Lennon began to add other Beatles stuff to his collection as well.

“It’s a continual process,” Lennon said. “At first, it was more about Dad and the connection we had before he separated from Mum but now it’s expanded to include Beatles stuff because I knew them all as a kid.”

His favorite item?: “A mini motorbike Dad had in Weybridge. I’d ride on the front of it and we’d go to visit Ringo, who lived down the road, on it. There are also postcards Dad wrote to me as a kid when he was away, which I had to buy back. Those are important to me and it’s an annoyance I had to buy them back. I keep everything these days.”

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Julian Lennon, John Lennon and the Beatles. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

JULIAN LENNON – EVERYTHING CHANGES (2011): More than anything he’s ever done, this album confronts his father, and his father’s legacy — both musically and personally. In keeping with such an interior concept, the songs are quietly determined, rarely loud. No surprise, really, to find out the album was principally recorded in a home studio. That delicate fragility, when it gives way at all, only rises to a kind of broken-hearted certitude– as on “Lookin 4 Luv,” a lead single that sounds like a mash up between John Lennon’s anguished cries in “Help” and the smooth orchestral power pop of the Electric Light Orchestra.

ON SECOND THOUGHT: THE BEATLES – ABBEY ROAD (1969): This album was simultaneously the Beatles at their best, and the sound of a band disintegrating. Such is the power and magic of Abbey Road. We find John Lennon in peak form — punny, free associative, cool rocking and sharp. There’s also every piece of the Paul McCartney DNA, from throat-shredding shouts to curious dancehall dittys to billowingly emotional chamber-pop. George Harrison and Ringo Starr make important contributions, as well. Then, just like that, it was all over.

DEEP CUTS: JOHN LENNON, “I DON’T WANNA FACE IT” (1984): A still-resonant tune with biting introspection, John Lennon’s “I Don’t Wanna Face It” begins with the smeared sound of a tape machine engaging — this powerful reminder that “Milk and Honey” includes the incomplete, posthumous recordings a murdered genius. Even so, you’ll find that all of the parts are still there, though they are scattered about, in this half-chiseled monument to creative rebirth for Lennon: He works in antithesis, throws away a bit of ageless wisdom, acts a little silly. All inside of “I Don’t Wanna Face It.” From the first, it is prototypical Lennon, beginning with an intro that is this dazzling absurdity, Lennon at his wackadoo best: He counts off, in made-up gibberish melding Old World-sounding language with a drunken Lewis Carroll: “Un, deux, eins-zwei-hickel-pickel!” There follows a grinding guitar and, despite that jokey turn to start, ample evidence that Lennon’s illuminatingly personal lyricism was still in tact, despite five years away as a househusband.

GIMME FIVE: SONGS WHERE THE BEATLES, WELL, SUCKED: There is much about the Beatles that’s easy to love. The ornate pop, the long-haired peaceability, the arguments over which one’s your favorite. Still, lend them your ear and you’ll discover a few duds. Even a group as talented, and successful, as the Fab Four couldn’t help but round out a handful of albums with what could only charitably be called filler. Heck, they even had a few charttoppers that qualify. (Yes, we’re looking at you “Hello, Goodbye.”) We dug into the stuff that didn’t quite make their hall-of-fame resume — the ones where they took a bad song … and made it worse.

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