John, Paul, George, and Ringo were the biggest rock stars ever. People all over the world recognize these music icons by just their first names. Now imagine that you are the son of a Beatle and choose a career in the music industry. Expectations are out of this world. It’s a two-edged sword. True, many doors of opportunity will open based on their lineage but others will slam when they cannot possibly live up to their father’s work. Sean Lennon and Stella McCartney chose careers in the arts and fashion world where their creativity can flourish yet remain outside of the music spotlight. But Julian Lennon, Dhani Harrison, James McCartney, and Zak Starkey have all followed in their father’s footsteps. Let’s a look at their careers.
“VALOTTE” and “STICK AROUND” Julian Lennon
John’s only son from his marriage to Cynthia Lennon was named after John’s grandmother, Julia. After John divorced his mom and married Yoko, Julian felt abandoned and less important to his father than his half-brother, Sean. Julian became friends with Paul McCartney and turned to music in his teens. He released a Grammy nominated debut album in 1984 where “Too Late For Goodbyes” and “Valotte” both become Top 40 hits. His follow-up CD scored his first #1 hit, “Stick Around”. In fact, Julian released 5 CDs between 1984-1998 then took a break. Photography, charity work (The White Feather Foundation, an environmental group), and collecting Beatle memorabilia filled Julian’s days until 2011 when he released his sixth CD, “Everything Changes”.
“FOR YOU BLUE” Dhani Harrison
George Harrison’s only child with wife Olivia, Dhani Harrison graduated from an Ivy League school (Brown) and considered a life as a aerodynamicist (Google what that is!). But his heart led Dhani to a life in the music industry. Popping up on Beatles tribute shows and following in his father’s footsteps, Dhani is an accomplished guitarist and vocalist like George. In fact, his look, his voice, and even the guitar style reminds so many of his dad. Here’s Dhani covering the Beatles’ “For You Blue”.
“WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN” Zak Starkey
Ringo Starr is sometimes dismissed when discussing the genius of the Beatles. But when it comes to their children, Ringo’s son, Zak Starkey, tops them when it comes to musical talent. Remind Keith Moon of The Who, arguably the greatest rock and roll drummer of all-time? Zak has taken his role with The Who as their official drummer for the past 20 years. You probably saw him on their Super Bowl XLIV performance. Oasis has been recording and touring with Zak for years. As life turns full-circle, Zak Starkey has been joining his dad on Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band tour.
“OLD MAN” James McCartney
Paul and Linda McCartney’s only son, James, has released two EP’s and one album. If you described a British musician who was into Transcendental Meditation, practiced veganism and animal awareness, and known for his whimsical pop melodies, your first instinct would be Paul McCartney. But these attributes fit James’ personality too. In 2012, James hinted at a “Next Generation” Beatles with Sean Lennon and Dhani. Hey, if they needed a drummer, they might be able to see if Zak can break away from The Who for a CD? Here’s a Neil Young cover from the Showtime TV show “Californication”.