Julia (1:56)

Cover of The Beatles (The White Album)

From The Beatles (The White Album) and 41 other releases

“Julia” is a song by The Beatles. It is the final song on side two (and disc one, in the CD era) of the band’s 1968 album, The Beatles (The White Album). It was written by John Lennon, and features Lennon on vocals and acoustic guitar. It was written during the Beatles’ 1968 visit to India, where they were studying under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It was here Lennon learned the song’s finger-picking guitar style (known as ‘Travis-picking’) from the Scottish musician Donovan. No other Beatle sings or plays on the recording. While Paul McCartney made several “solo” compositions attributed to the group, dating back to his famous song “Yesterday”, this is the only time that Lennon played and sang unaccompanied on a Beatles track.

“Julia” was written for John’s mother Julia Lennon (1914-1958), who was knocked down and killed by a car driven by an off-duty police officer when John was still only 17 years old. It was also written for his future wife Yoko Ono, whose first name, which literally means “child of the sea” in Japanese, is echoed in lyrics such as “Oceanchild, calls me.” An alternative theory suggests that the song was written for Julian Lennon, John’s son.

The first two lines of the song – “Half of what I say is meaningless/ But I say it just to reach you, Julia” – were adapted from the poem “Sand and Foam,” by the Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran. The original line is: “Half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it so that the other half may reach you.


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Albums featuring this track (42)

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  • GhostHaunted

    When I cannot sing my heart I can only speak my mind, Julia.

    30 Jun 2:35pm Reply
  • dewg0ng

    most amazing chords + sadness, pretty much the best lennon song ever imo

    22 May 11:07am Reply
  • pteronophobic

    I love the acoustic stuff on the White Album, particulary this song. Such a lovely tune

    20 May 2:26pm Reply
  • enxe3

    For some reason, this song reminds me of Hallelujah

    5 Jan 11:27am Reply
  • putzharold

    for juuuuuuuuuuulia

    3 Dec 2014 Reply
  • putzharold

    so i sing a song of love

    3 Dec 2014 Reply
  • moodymoondog

    I have always summed up this song in one word, haunting. Songs like his Julia is why I have always been a John Lennon more than a McCartney fan. But Paul has had his moments. I also really love George's music, I mean, All Things Must Pass is a master piece. I have a revised version where George with the help of his son Dhani recorded a different version of My Sweet Lord that changes the 3 notes that he was sued for. The owners of the rights to He's So Fine should have been ashamed of themselves, to me the songs are not alike. But, John DID warn George that the two were similar. That said, I will always agree with George when he said " They don't "own" those three notes".

    10 Sep 2014 Reply
  • LoveisInfinite

    https://soundcloud.com/latarnie-montpellier/julia-the-beatles-cover Latarnie Montpellier - Julia (The Beatles cover)

    24 Aug 2014 Reply
  • spykr

    It's strange to think about how horrible the death of John's mother and its effect on his personality was but at the same time without her death we may not have had The Beatles or at least the cynical, anti-establishment, wicked-humoured version of Lennon that made his music so timeless.

    9 Jun 2014 Reply
  • Jon-Lucas

    I'll take this over Blackbird any day of the week. John > Paul times infinity [2]

    7 Jun 2014 Reply
  • Storchel

    Loove it...

    9 Feb 2014 Reply
  • JackMcFearless

    John's too fucking perfect.

    29 Aug 2013 Reply
  • jillian8

    Unbelievable track.

    10 Jun 2013 Reply
  • talita_mendes

    19 Apr 2013 Reply
  • carlarafaelapf

    One of my favorite Beatles songs, and definitely one of my favorite John songs. It's so beautiful and sad... [2]

    10 Apr 2013 Reply
  • garebear4evr

    One of my favorite Beatles songs, and definitely one of my favorite John songs. It's so beautiful and sad...

    7 Apr 2013 Reply
  • jeemajamajimma

    To the deepest depths.

    21 Mar 2013 Reply
  • ibroxstadium

    Absolutely love this.

    18 Mar 2013 Reply
  • Fionajl

    Best Beatles song, imo.

    28 Jan 2013 Reply
  • patricksean123

    My favorite from The White Album

    23 Jan 2013 Reply
  • All 198 shouts

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