Happy Anniversary: Julian Lennon, “Too Late for Goodbyes”

Thursday, September 24, 2015
Happy Anniversary: Julian Lennon, “Too Late for Goodbyes”

31 years ago today, Julian Lennon released his first single in the UK, and while the song would actually end up being his second single in the US, its eventual Stateside release would confirm that the Brits had it right all along: it remains his highest-charting American single to this day.

Written by Lennon himself, “Too Late for Goodbyes” is a bouncy pop number with an insidiously catchy hook and a use of harmonica which - let's face it - immediately brought to mind a few early Beatles tracks. The Fab Four similarity would ultimately grow more overt as Lennon's career progressed, hitting an all-time high when he released the single “Saltwater,” which matched the success of “Too Late for Goodbyes” in the UK by hitting #6 on the singles chart. At this point, though, there was only one real attempt to say, “Hey, do you know who this guy's dad was?” That came during the course of the video, directed by - of all people - Sam Peckinpah, which featured a figure looking unabashedly like John Lennon dancing in a dimly lit doorway.

By coincidence, “Too Late for Goodbyes” bested its UK success in the US, hitting #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, but arguably its greatest achievement was topping the magazine's Adult Contemporary Singles chart. Indeed, it's notable that Lennon's greatest US successes tended to be outside the Hot 100: he would also go on to top the Rock Singles chart twice over the next few years, first with “Stick Around,” then with “Now You're in Heaven.” Unfortunately, “Too Late for Goodbyes” was Lennon's only top-five success in the States, but at least it was a catchy one.