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The Reconnection of John and Julian Lennon Through the Music of Mr. Holland’s Opus


Anyone who’s seen the music-appreciation film, Mr. Holland’s Opus, remembers the music of John Lennon being used to great effect, not only during a scene related to the Vietnam conflict, but also in a performance meant to build a bridge between the titular band-leader and his deaf son, Cole. The filmmakers buried a message of father-son reconciliation into the very fabric of their movie, however, by asking Julian Lennon to perform “Cole’s Song” for the soundtrack.

Raised by mother Cynthia Lennon, Julian Lennon spent most of his
youth withstanding people’s assumptions about his privileged status,
and most of his adulthood attempting to reconcile his actual memories
of his famous father with the image that fans projected onto him.
Making it as a musician on his own merits (he left his name off the
demo tapes he submitted to record companies), writing “Cole’s Song”
presented an especially moving opportunity to publicly reconnect with
father’s memory — especially poignant considering the other Lennon
song used in the film was “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” which John
wrote for his other son, Sean (also a talented musician in
his own right). While we may never see Sean and Julian Lennon’s names
on the same marquee, Mr. Holland’s Opus exists as a reconciliatory olive branch connecting those an enigmatic father left behind.

as Julian’s song says, “There are broken hearts we can mend/ Through
the music we’ve learned to love again.” Enjoy this new layer of sonic

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