Julia was written by John Lennon for his mother, who died in a road accident in 1958. It is the only solo Lennon recording in The Beatles’ canon.The song was written in India. Like Dear Prudence and Happiness Is A Warm Gun, it contained the fingerpicking guitar style taught to Lennon by Donovan.
Inside the final days of May 1968, immediately before beginning work on the White Album at EMI, The Beatles gathered at George Harrison’s house in Esher, southwest of London, to routine their latest compositions. This recording of Julia is an example of one of those Esher demos. It is the only Beatles song that John wrote and performed himself without accompaniment from any of the other Beatles. It’s common knowledge that when John was 18, his mother Julia was run over and killed by a drunk off-duty policeman. John dedicated this song to her and to Yoko, whose name in Japanese means ocean child, referenced as a line in the lyrics. Folk artist Donovan Leitch, who was with The Beatles at the Maharishi’s camp in India earlier in 1968 taught Lennon the finger-picking guitar style he uses in the song. This early demo gives us a feel for the magic of this beautiful ballad before it was perfected in the studio.