Remembering John Lennon: Sean Lennon’s Touching Song About His Father

Advertisement

One of the most senseless acts imaginable took place on this date in 1980, when John Lennon was murdered in cold blood outside his apartment building in New York City. The former Beatle was in the middle of a career renaissance after he had devoted years away from music to help raise his son, Sean Lennon. While Sean hasn’t spoken too much publicly about his father over the years, he did pen a heart-breaking song about John called “Listen.”

John Lennon was born on October 9, 1940 in the British city of Liverpool. A chance meeting with Paul McCartney led to the most acclaimed songwriting partnership in music history. The pair were part of The Quarrymen and recruited George Harrison before changing the name of the band to The Beatles. John and the band spent a few years honing their craft before catapulting to fame in 1963 in Britain and launching the British Invasion and Beatlemania the next year stateside. The Beatles were one of the most revolutionary bands in rock and were constantly changing their sound through a 1970 breakup. Lennon had a successful solo career, but decided to retire in 1975 after Sean was born.

Through the first five years of his life, Sean had a father who was devoted to his every need. John would wake up early in the morning and prepare all of Sean’s meals. He was supposed to have arrived at his apartment building later on that fateful night in 1980, but wanted to be able to put his son to bed. While music fans were cheated out an iconic artist, Sean was cheated out of a father.

In the ’00s Sean Lennon recorded a song called “Listen” and while it was never officially released, a version leaked. Earlier today Sean acknowledged its existence in a tweet linking to the video below. Sean talks about the night his father died, his mother’s reaction, how much he wishes he had just one visit with John and the hurt he feels within the tear-jerking “Listen.” Watch a video featuring photos of John and Sean Lennon:

Sean performed the song live in 2008:

Here’s the lyrics to “Listen”:

  • When I was five, that’s when you died,
  • My mother told me I’d never see you again,
  • All I remember is that I didn’t want her to see me, to see me crying
  • So I said: “Don’t worry mama, you’re still young and so beautiful
  • You’ll find someone to love and to cherish you”
  • I’ll never forget how she looked laying in her bed
  • With thousands of people outside singing “Give Peace a Chance”
  • I would do anything for one conversation with you
  • Even to walk down the street with you would be so cool
  • Seems like the whole world had more time with you than I did
  • But the dead don’t speak, they listen
  • I was alone almost every day
  • Felt like my mother was always away
  • All that I knew of you is what people told me
  • Though I remember the scar on your chin
  • And the sound of your voice every time that you said good night
  • Your favorite TV show was “Jekyll and Hyde”
  • And that you played the piano
  • Well, now so do I
  • Every note that I play goes up to the sky
  • I would do anything for one conversation with you
  • Even to walk down the street with you would be so cool
  • Seems like the whole world had more time with you than I did
  • But the dead don’t speak they listen
  • Dead don’t speak, they listen