‘Give me the originals any day’: Why Julian Lennon stayed away from the Beatles anniversary blitz

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As the long period of celebrations in honor of the Beatles’ stateside arrival 50 years ago wrapped on this week, we’d seen Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, Olivia and Dhani Harrison. But where was Julian Lennon? Not at any of these gala events, but instead about as far away from the Grammy-type hub bub as he could be — in Kenya and rural Ethiopia, working to help restore clean water to the region.

“To me, the last thing I wanted to do was stand in the audience with everybody else,” Lennon told Brooklyn Vegan, “clapping my hands and being filmed in front of millions while watching a Beatles karaoke session.”

This water campaign is a key effort for Lennon’s White Feather Foundation, which is collaborating in Africa right now on various humanitarian and environmental projects with Millennium Villages and Charity: Water.

Even if he wasn’t so busy, it doesn’t sound like Lennon is all that interested in hearing Beatles music as presented by half of the original lineup and a series of guest stars, anyway: “Give me the originals any day. I’ll listen or watch the originals any day, and that’s my cup of tea,” Lennon said. “That’s why I decided that I much more preferred to be in a state of reflection and appreciation and doing something much more subtle and much more heartfelt, in my mind, than the glitz and the glam of those kind of shows.”

If you’d like to follow Lennon’s work in Africa, he’s posting images here.

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