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Julia (The Beatles song)

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"Glass Onion"
Song by The Beatles
Album The Beatles
Released 22 November 1968
Recorded 13 October 1968
Length 2:54
Label Apple Records
Writer Lennon/McCartney
Producer George Martin
The Beatles track listing

Side one

  1. "Back in the U.S.S.R."
  2. "Dear Prudence"
  3. "Glass Onion"
  4. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
  5. "Wild Honey Pie"
  6. "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill"
  7. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
  8. "Happiness Is a Warm Gun"

Side two

  1. "Martha My Dear"
  2. "I'm So Tired"
  3. "Blackbird"
  4. "Piggies"
  5. "Rocky Raccoon"
  6. "Don't Pass Me By"
  7. "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?"
  8. "I Will"
  9. "Julia"

Side three

  1. "Birthday"
  2. "Yer Blues"
  3. "Mother Nature's Son"
  4. "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey"
  5. "Sexy Sadie"
  6. "Helter Skelter"
  7. "Long, Long, Long"

Side four

  1. "Revolution 1"
  2. "Honey Pie"
  3. "Savoy Truffle"
  4. "Cry Baby Cry"
  5. "Revolution 9"
  6. "Good Night"
“Julia” cover
Single by The Beatles
A-side "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
Released 8 November 1976 (US)
Format vinyl record 7"
Label Capitol 4347
The Beatles singles chronology
"Got to Get_You Into My Life"
"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" / "Julia"
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"


Julia was my mother. But it was sort of a combination of Yoko and my mother blended into one. That was written in India ... We wrote tons of songs in India.

—John Lennon, Playboy interviews, 1980

The 'ocean child', who John writes is calling him, is clearly a reference to Yoko whose name in Japanese means 'child of the ocean.' 'It was in India that she began writing to me,' John said. 'She would write things like "I am a cloud. Watch for me in the sky." I would get so excited about her letters.'

A Hard Day's Wright, Steve Turner, 1994

It's very sad because he really did dote on his mum. Julia was the light of John's life, he idolised her: 'Julia' was his mother's song. She was a beautiful woman with long red hair. She was fun-loving and musical too; she taught him banjo chords, and any woman in those days who played a banjo was a special, artistic person. It was bohemian to do that. John and I were both in love with his mum. It just knocked him for six when she died. I always thought it was bad enough my mother dying and what I had to go through, but that was an illness so there was some way you could understand it, but in John's case, the horror of reliving that accident ... Oh, my God! That always stayed with me.

—Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, p.48-49, 1997

I lost her twice. Once as a five-year-old when I was moved in with my auntie. And once again at seventeen when she actually physically died ... That was a really hard time for me. It just absolutely made me very, very bitter. The underlying chip on my shoulder that I had as a youth got really big then. Being a teenager and a rock 'n' roller and an art student and my mother being killed just when I was reestablishing a relationship with her.

—John Lennon, Playboy interviews, 1980

Half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it so that the other half may reach you.

—Kahlil Gibran, Lebonese Poet, [Sand and Foam, 1926

When Life does not find a singer to sing her heart she produces a philosopher to speak her mind.

—Kahlil Gibran, Lebonese Poet, [Sand and Foam, 1926

Some afternoons we would gather at one of our pads and play the acoustic guitars we had all brought with us. Paul Horn, the American flute wizard, was there. John was keen to learn the finger-style I played and he was a good student. Paul already had a smattering of finger style. George preferred his Chet Atkins style. John wrote 'Julia' and 'Dear Prudence' based on the picking I taught him.

—Donovan, Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, p.421-422, 1997

The interesting thing for me on 'Julia' is the finger-picking style. He learned to finger-pick off Donovan or Gypsy Dave, I think John said it was Gypsy Dave but the two of them were fairly inseparable and they both would have known it, and if they were both sitting down picking, then who is to know? It was a folk picking style, and he was the only one in the band who could ever do that properly. I made my own variation. Once you can do it, it's really very handy, it's a useful style. Actually I should learn it, never too late. That was John's song about his mum, folk finger-picking style, and a very good song.

—Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, p.422, 1997

The 32nd and final song intended for The Beatles was a gentle and touching new John Lennon composition, 'Julia', named after his late mother but also including a reference to Yoko in its lyric. 'Julia' was a solo Lennon recording — the only such occurrence during the Beatles' career — and it was recorded simply, on a four-track machine; acoustic guitar and vocal taped twice over, the two vocal recordings allowing for an effective word overlap on the word 'Julia' itself. The song was finished in very little time.

The Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn, 1988

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