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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Lennon, Julian - 1984 Valotte
Lennon, Julian - 1984 Valotte

ARTIST: Lennon, Julian
ALBUM: Valotte
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 80184-1 (LP), 80184-2 (CD)
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: numerous reissues..


LINEUP: Julian Lennon - lead and backing vocals, bass, keyboards, simmons drums * Justin Clayton, Carlton Morales - guitars * Barry Beckett, David Lebolt, Peter Wood - keyboards * Roger Hawkins, Steve Holley - drums * David Hood, Marcus Miller, Carmine Rojas - bass * Ralph MacDonald, Steve Holley - percussion * Rory Dodd, Eric Taylor - background vocals * Jon Faddis, Joe Shepley - trumpets * Michael Brecker, George Young, Lawrence Feldman, Ron Cuber - saxophones

Additional Spots: Michael Brecker - saxophone solo on 'Lonely' * Jean 'Toots' Thielemans - harmonica on 'Too Late for Goodbyes' * Martin Briley - guitar on 'Too Late for Goodbyes' * Dennis Herring - guitar on 'Jesse'

TRACK LISTING: 01 Valotte * 02 OK For You * 03 On The Phone * 04 Space * 05 Well I Don't Know * 06 Too Late For Goodbyes * 07 Lonely * 08 Say You're Wrong * 09 Jesse * 10 Let Me Be


I can't even imagine the charmed life, or the pressures Julian Lennon has faced in his lifetime. The son of the beloved music icon with the looks, voice and talent of his famous father has been a double edged sword. His childhood and life as a musician have been well documented and over time and Lennon fell into many of the pitfalls associated with the business. After several good, but criminally ignored albums, he left the music world for six years only to return revitalized, no longer concerned and self conscious about criticism related to his delivery and song writing style, releasing some his best work since this magnificent album, his debut - 'Valotte'.

The Songs
Comparisons to John Lennon are moot here. Julian was blessed with all of his father's gifts, but 'Valotte' offers something missing from his father's albums - consistency. I never found John Lennon's solo work to be all that incredible and I know that steps on a lot of fan's toes since I am a huge Beatles fan myself. Aside from a handful of songs where his pop gift spoke volumes, the elder Lennon got too caught up in weird experimentation and 50's rock styles not to mention protest and his own ego, forgoing melody in favor of making a statement more often than not, political. On 'Valotte' (named after a French chateau where the album was written) Julian makes up for his father's short falls with an intensely melodic and memorable set of songs. Produced by Phil Ramone (Laura Branigan, Billy Joel, Elton John), the album featured no less than four hit singles. The title track, 'Too Late For Goodbyes', 'Say You're Wrong' and 'Jesse' were all staples on MTV way back when, but the remaining material is as strong, in particular the closing and seemingly autobiographical 'Let Me Be' which addresses the never ending comparisons to his father.

In Summary
This album sounds as fresh as it did back in 1984 and part of this can be attributed to Ramone's production which avoids the over the top tendencies that ruined so many albums of the decade. Lennon followed 'Valotte' with the under rated 'The Secret Value of Daydreaming'. This album, 'Valotte', and 1991's 'Help Yourself' are the best of his Atlantic years and 'Photographic Smile' is his criminally ignored 1998 comeback that deserves to be heard by fans of quality pop music. Unfortunately, Julian seems to have dropped out of sight again although I hope this sabbatical is not permanent. Julian Lennon is a huge talent who really has made a name for himself.

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#1 | super80boy on December 14 2014 14:36:21
Upon its release, Valotte didn't receive a very warm reception from a variety of critics. There were a lot of so-so reviews, which is a shame. Yes, he does sound like his father in spots, like in the lead-off single 'Valotte', and yes there is synthesizer use, but that shouldn't count against him. This is a tuneful pop rock album, full of well written melodic songs.
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