Valotte

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Valotte
Studio album by Julian Lennon
Released 15 October 1984 (1984-10-15)
Recorded February–August 1984,
Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, Alabama;
Bear Tracks Recording Studio, Suffern, New York;
A & R Recording Studios;
Clinton Recording Studios;
The Hit Factory, New York City
Genre Pop
Length 38:17
Label Charisma
Producer Phil Ramone
Julian Lennon chronology
Valotte
(1984)
The Secret Value of Daydreaming
(1986)
Singles from Valotte
  1. "Too Late for Goodbyes"
    Released: 24 September 1984
  2. "Valotte"
    Released: October 1984
  3. "Say You're Wrong"
    Released: 18 February 1985
  4. "Jesse"
    Released: July 1985

Valotte is the debut pop[1] studio album by singer-songwriter Julian Lennon. The album was produced by Phil Ramone and recorded at several studios from February to August 1984. It was released in October 1984 on Charisma and Atlantic. The album was first certified gold in the United States, in the new year, then shortly afterwards being certified platinum. From the album, four singles were released, each with a music video, charting at various positions on the singles charts in both the United Kingdom and US. "Too Late for Goodbyes", the second US single, and "Valotte", the first US single, were both US Billboard Top 10 hits, the former reaching number 5 and the latter reaching number 9. The album peaked at number 17 and 20 in the US and UK, respectively. In early 1985, a few months after the release of the album, Lennon went on tour around the US, Australia, and Japan from March to June 1985.

Background[edit]

Julian Lennon sent the Charisma Records label head, Tony Stratton-Smith, a demo tape in September 1983.[2] After listening to the tape and being impressed with Lennon's songwriting skills, Stratton-Smith signed Lennon to the label in the United Kingdom, while Lennon got signed to Atlantic Records in the United States after its label head, Ahmet Ertegun, was also impressed with Lennon's songwriting.[2] A month later,[3] Lennon, with his friends Justin Clayton and Carlton Morales, started a three-month stay at a French château, Manor de Valotte, in Nevers, France, writing and demoing songs for what would appear on Valotte.[4] In an interview with Rock Bill magazine, Lennon said that he "had a lot of the material" before embarking to the château.[5] About the songs, Lennon said that half the songs on the album had "already [been] written on the piano" in short pieces, about "a year or two before".[2] In an interview for No 1 magazine, Lennon said the pieces were not originally "for an album", and that some of the music was "written several years ago, some [...] new".[6] The lyrics were added only a few years prior to recording the songs for the album.[6]

Recording and content[edit]

The album was produced by Phil Ramone, in January 1984 Lennon had asked about his availability,[7] after he heard Ramone's work on Billy Joel's The Nylon Curtain album.[8][9] Ramone agreed upon hearing Lennon's previous recordings.[7][9] The album was recorded between February and August 1984 at: Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Bear Tracks Recording Studio, Suffern, New York; A & R Recording Studios; Clinton Recording Studios; and The Hit Factory, the latter three located in New York City.[4] The album was mixed by Bradshaw Leigh at The Hit Factory.[4] Lennon's father, John Lennon, had recorded at The Hit Factory four years previously, on the album, Double Fantasy before for his death.[7] Ramone had asked Lennon if he felt "the ghosts?", he responded "They feel good for me. The vibes feel good and I want to be here!".[7]

Lennon said that his father's album, Imagine, had influenced Valotte's writing, but he wasn't "trying to carry on tradition, except maybe in the simplicity of Dad's writing".[10] The title track is named after Manor de Valotte, Lennon said it was a "kind of dream house [...] so that's what started off the whole song".[11] "Space" originally started out as a music piece on bass guitar, Lennon said that his girlfriend helped: "My girlfriend came up [...] she said, 'Oh well, that sounds like either underneath icebergs [...] or space, like drifting in space' [...] [I] worked overnight and just came up with that."[12] Lennon's reply to his girlfriend was: "well I'll forget the icebergs and give space a go!"[6] "Well I Don't Know" was written about his father:[6][9] "It's about looking for signs of the afterlife from Dad".[13]

Shortly after the cover photo was taken, Lennon had a fall out with his then-girlfriend and "Too Late for Goodbyes" was written,[9][14] halfway through the recording of the album.[15] "Lonely", which dates from 1982, is about when Lennon moved to London, without having any of his friends or family near by.[15][16] "Jesse", was offered to Lennon by China Burton, as Burton thought it would fit Lennon's voice.[15][17] Overall, Lennon commented that "all of the songs [...] are from experience or feelings or relationships" in "real life situations"[5] with "a feeling of neither knowing which way to turn nor what to do next".[6]

Release and aftermath[edit]

"Too Late for Goodbyes"[nb 1] was released as the first UK single, a month before Valotte came out, on 24 September 1984 in the UK,[18] peaking at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart,[19] and in Australia at number 13.[20] It was also released as a picture disc in the UK.[nb 2][18] The album was first issued on 15 October 1984 on Charisma in the UK,[nb 3] and four days later on the 19th on Atlantic in the US.[nb 4][4] The album peaked at number 17 in the US on the Billboard 200 chart,[25] and a few places lower at number 20 in the UK.[19] The album's title track, "Valotte", was released as the album's first single in the US,[nb 5] in October 1984,[18] reaching number 2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, number 4 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and number 9 on Billboard Hot 100 chart.[25] Upon the album's release, Paul McCartney sent Lennon a telegram, with the message: "Good luck, old fruit".[7] McCartney thought the album was "great!", also saying that he found it "very surprising".[7] "Valotte" was also the album's second UK single,[nb 6] released in December 1984, peaking at number 55 in the UK Singles Chart,[19] and number 75 in Australia.[20] It was also released as a shaped picture disc in the UK.[nb 7][18]

Music videos were produced for the singles "Valotte" and "Too Late for Goodbyes", directed by Sam Peckinpah,[7] and produced by Martin Lewis.[26] Two versions of a music video for "Say You're Wrong" were directed by Tim Pope.[27] A concert video recording is used as a music video for "Jesse", which aired exclusively on MTV.[17] Lennon said in an interview with Music Express, that the album was his "way of getting a foot in the door" with the songs "in entirely different styles".[28] In the US, "Too Late for Goodbyes" was released in January 1985,[nb 8][18] peaking at number 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, number 5 on the Hot 100 chart, and number 11 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[25] A remixed version of the track did chart on Billboard Dance Music/Club Play Singles and their Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales charts at number 14 and 49, respectively.[25] "Say You're Wrong" was released as the last UK single on 18 February 1985,[nb 9] and the third US single in April 1985.[nb 10][18] The song peaked at number 75 on the UK Singles Chart,[19] number 3 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, number 6 on the Adult Contemporary chart and number 21 on the Hot 100 chart in the US,[25] and number 31 on the Australian singles chart.[20] "Jesse" was released as the album's final single in the US in July 1985,[nb 11][18] peaked at number 54 on the Hot 100 chart.[25]

On 9 January 1985, the album was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It was certified Platinum on 13 March by the RIAA, having shipped one million copies in the US.[29] Also receiving a nomination for Best New Artist at the 28th Grammy Awards.[4] By February 1985, Valotte had reached 1.5 million worldwide sales.[30] Originally saying that he would not be touring until he had a second album out,[31] Lennon relented and between March and June 1985, he staged his first tour, starting off in the US, visiting Australia and finishing off in Japan.[32] The tour setlist consisted of songs from Valotte, two rock 'n' roll songs ("Stand by Me" and Slippin' and Slidin'"), the Beatles' "Day Tripper",[nb 12][32] and the B-side, "Big Mama".[34] The music video for "Valotte" was nominated for MTV's "Best Video by a New Artist" award in July 1985.[26][32] On 13 September 1985, "Too Late for Goodbyes" was nominated was MTV's "Best New Artist" award, but lost to 'Til Tuesday's "Voices Carry".[32][35] Just over a month later, on 23 October 1985, Lennon's mother, Cynthia Lennon accepted the "ASCAP Award for Publishing", on his's behalf.[32] A video featuring footage from Lennon's tour, titled Stand by Me: A Portrait of Julian Lennon, was released on MCA Home Video on 28 November 1985.[32] Ramone and the album's engineer, Bradshaw Leigh, both worked with Lennon on his next album, The Secret Value of Daydreaming (1986).[36]

Critical reception[edit]

In a contemporary review for Saturday Review magazine, music critic John Swenson gave Valotte two out of five stars and critiqued that Lennon's voice lacks the "tortured cynicism and urgency that characterised his father's and, consequently, Valotte sounds like languid outtakes from Imagine."[37] In a three-star review, Davitt Sigerson of Rolling Stone said that it is both "exciting and irritating". He found the album's similarities to John Lennon's later work strange, observing "a middle-aged sensibility, reinforced by Phil Ramone's elegant but often stodgy production, applied to unashamedly youthful themes."[38] Robert Christgau, writing for The Village Voice, gave Valotte a "C" and panned it as "bland professional pop of little distinction and less necessity—tuneful at times, tastefully produced of course, and with no discernible reason for being". Christgau found Lennon's vocal resemblance to his father "eerie" and viewed him as "more Frank Sinatra Jr. than (even) Hank Williams Jr."[1]

In a retrospective review, Allmusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave Valotte three-and-a-half out of five stars and wrote that it is "by any measure the debut of a gifted pop melodicist." He viewed that on the album's highlights, Lennon exhibited a strong sense for "Beatlesque pop songwriting, drawing equally from [John] Lennon and [Paul] McCartney", and at his worst, he drew too often on contemporary conventions such as synthesisers.[39] Paul Evans, writing in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), gave the album two out of five stars and remarked that Lennon "settles for clean but modest stuff—high-end MOR," while finding all of his albums "pervaded with a sort of listlessness, a free-floating pathos."[40]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Julian Lennon, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Valotte" (Julian Lennon, Justin Clayton, Carlton Morales) – 4:15
  2. "O.K. for You" (Lennon, Clayton, Morales, Carmelo Luggeri) – 3:38
  3. "On the Phone" – 4:42
  4. "Space" – 4:22
  5. "Well I Don't Know" – 4:35
Side two
  1. "Too Late for Goodbyes" – 3:30
  2. "Lonely" – 3:50
  3. "Say You're Wrong" – 3:25
  4. "Jesse" (China Burton) – 3:48
  5. "Let Me Be" – 2:12

Personnel[edit]

Personnel adapted from inner sleeve.[41]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United Kingdom (BPI)[50] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[51] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ In the UK, "Too Late for Goodbyes" was backed with "Well I Don't Know" as the 7" B-side, and "Big Mama" and "Well I Don't Know" as the 12" B-sides.[18] 7": UK Charisma JL1; 12": UK Charisma JL112[18]
  2. ^ UK Charisma JLY1[18]
  3. ^ LP: UK Charisma JLLP 1;[21] CD: UK Charisma JLCD1[22]
  4. ^ LP: US Atlantic 7 80184-1;[23] CD: US Atlantic 7 80184-2[24]
  5. ^ In the US, "Valotte" was backed with "Well I Don't Know" as the 7" B-side.[18] US Atlantic 7-89609[18]
  6. ^ In the UK, "Valotte" was backed with "Let Me Be" as the 7" B-side, and "Let Me Be" and "Bebop" as the 12" B-sides.[18] 7": UK Charisma JL2; 12": UK Charisma JL212[18]
  7. ^ UK Charisma JLS2[18]
  8. ^ In the US, "Too Late for Goodbyes" was backed with "Let Me Be" as the 7" B-side.[18] US Atlantic 7-89589[18]
  9. ^ In the UK, "Say You're Wrong" was backed with "Bebop" as the 7" B-side, and "Bebop" and "Too Late for Goodbyes (Long Version)" as the 12" B-sides.[18] 7": UK Charisma JL3; 12": UK Charisma JL312[18]
  10. ^ In the US, "Say You're Wrong" was backed with "Big Mama" as the 7" B-side.[18] US Atlantic 7-89567[18]
  11. ^ In the US, "Jesse" was backed with "Bebop" as the 7" B-side.[18] US Atlantic 7-89529[18]
  12. ^ Lennon chose to perform "Day Tripper" due to the song's opening lyrics: "Got a good reason for taking the easy way out".[33]
Citations
  1. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (2 April 1985). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Burianek, CJ. "1983 - The Making of Valotte". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Giuliano, Geoffery (2001). Lennon in America: 1971-1980, Based in Part on the Lost Lennon Diaries. Cooper Square Press. p. 240. ISBN 9781461635611. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Burianek, CJ. "Valotte Menu at Hey Jules". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b O'Neill Jr., Lou (December 1984). "The Ballad of Julian Lennon". Rock Bill. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Starting Over". No 1. 5 January 1985. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Burianek, CJ. "1984 - The Debut Release Valotte". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Chart Climbers". Rock Alive. June 1985. 
  9. ^ a b c d Harvey, Phil (Host); Lennon, Julian (Star) (23–28 May 1985). Too Late For Goodbyes The Julian Lennon Radio Special (Radio). Radio International. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Walker, Jeannine (July 1985). "The Trouble With Being Julian Lennon". Rock!. 
  11. ^ Burianek, CJ. "Valotte: Valotte". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  12. ^ Burianek, CJ. "Valotte: Space". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Julian Lennon – A Son That Really Shines!". Rock Beat. May 1985. 
  14. ^ Burianek, CJ. "Valotte: Too Late For Goodbyes". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  15. ^ a b c Ladd, Jim (Host); Lennon, Julian (Star) (13 January 1985). Jim Ladd Hosts InnerView – Julian Lennon '84 (Radio). Los Angeles: KMET-FM. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  16. ^ Burianek, CJ. "Valotte: Lonely". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Burianek, CJ. "Valotte: Jesse". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Burianek, CJ. "Julian Lennon Singles from the 80s". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c d e "Julian Lennon | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c d e Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.  Note: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1974 until Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) created their own charts in mid-1988. In 1992, Kent back calculated chart positions for 1970–1974.
  21. ^ "Julian Lennon - Valotte (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "Julian Lennon - Valotte (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  23. ^ "Julian Lennon - Valotte (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  24. ^ "Julian Lennon - Valotte (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g "Julian Lennon - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  26. ^ a b Encyclopedia of American Cinema (illustrated ed.). Boston: MobileReference.com. 2007. ISBN 9781605011455. 
  27. ^ Burianek, CJ. "Valotte: Say You're Wrong". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  28. ^ Stoute, Lenny (December 1984). "Julian Lennon His Own Man". Music Express (The Pulse of Canadian Rock). 
  29. ^ "American album certifications – Valotte". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  30. ^ Burianek, CJ. "1985 - Valotte Goes Platinum". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  31. ^ "On The Road After All!". 16 Magazine. August 1985. 
  32. ^ a b c d e f Burianek, CJ. "1985 - The First Tour". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  33. ^ Kaye, Elizabeth (6 June 1985). "Here Comes the Son". Rolling Stone. 
  34. ^ Burianek, CJ. "Valotte: Big Mama". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  35. ^ "MTV Video Music Awards | 1985 | Highlights, Winners, Performers and Photos from the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards". MTV.com. 13 September 1985. Retrieved 17 March 2013.  Click on the Winners tab, scroll down to Best New Artist
  36. ^ Burianek, CJ. "The Secret Value of Daydreaming Menu at Hey Jules". Heyjules.com. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  37. ^ Swenson, John (1984). "Rock". Saturday Review (New York) 12: 84–85. 
  38. ^ Sigerson, Davitt (17 January 1985). "Julian Lennon: Valotte". Rolling Stone (New York) (439). Archived from the original on 17 March 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  39. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Valotte - Julian Lennon". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  40. ^ Evans, Paul et al. (2 November 2004). Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 482–83. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  41. ^ Valotte (Inner sleeve). Julian Lennon. Charisma, Universal Music Group. 1984. JLLP 1. 
  42. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 41, No. 18" (PHP). RPM. 12 January 1985. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  43. ^ "charts.de". charts.de. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  44. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  45. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discography Julian Lennon". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  46. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discography Julian Lennon". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  47. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1984". RPM. 5 January 1985. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  48. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1985". RPM. 28 December 1985. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  49. ^ "Billboard.BIZ – Year-end Charts – Billboard 200 – 1985". billboard.biz. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  50. ^ "British album certifications – Julian Lennon – Valotte". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Valotte in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  51. ^ "American album certifications – Julian Lennon – Valotte". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH