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A new Lennon-McCartney collab has dropped — but this time, it's by the Beatles' sons

Last week, James McCartney (left), the son of Beatle <em></em>Paul McCartney, has released a new song called <em></em>"Primrose Hill" that he co-wrote with Sean Ono Lennon, the son of John Lennon.
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images; Lionel Hahn/Getty Images
Last week, James McCartney (left), the son of Beatle Paul McCartney, has released a new song called "Primrose Hill" that he co-wrote with Sean Ono Lennon, the son of John Lennon.

When two musicians with famous fathers co-create a song, it's bound to attract attention. That goes double when the names attached to the song are Lennon and McCartney.

"Primrose Hill" is a gently nostalgic ditty by James McCartney, with cowriting credit to Sean Ono Lennon. They are the youngest offspring of one of the most famous songwriting duos in history.

In a picture McCartney posted on Instagram, the two musicians strikingly resemble their famous Beatles fathers. Lennon was born in 1975, five years before his dad's murder, and has carved out a respectable, if uneven, career as a musician since the 1990s, performing with his mother, Yoko Ono, as well as bands such as Cibo Matto. (Earlier this year, Rolling Stone described his new album, Asterisms, as "a genreless wash of instrumental music.")

James McCartney, whose mother was the late Linda McCartney, is two years younger. He began his recording career by making contributions to music by his parents in the late 1990s, but didn't begin releasing his own recordings until a decade later. On Instagram, he said the song was inspired by an idyllic boyhood memory.

"I had a vision as a child in Scotland, on what was a lovely summers day," he enthused. "Letting go, I saw my true love and saviour in my mind's eye. Primrose Hill is about getting the ball rolling with me & finding this person."

Paul McCartney promoted the song on his Facebook page, writing he was sending "lots of love to Sean Ono Lennon." Those who might be reflexively cynical about nepo-baby collabs will not be shocked to learn that the song has not performed particularly well on Spotify, where it earned fewer than 40,000 listens in the five days after its release. But while no one will mistake James McCartney for his father with this single, the song shares his affable spirit. It's a recognizable tribute to a legendary lineage, and perhaps no more than it's intended to be: a sweet and modest little thing.

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Neda Ulaby
Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.