Saltwater (Julian Lennon song)

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Julian Lennon Saltwater single cover.jpg
Single by Julian Lennon
from the album Help Yourself
B-side "Rebel King" (edit)
Released5 August 1991 (1991-08-05)
Genre Soft rock
  • Julian Lennon
  • Mark Spiro
  • Leslie Spiro
Producer(s) Bob Ezrin
Julian Lennon singles chronology
"You're the One"
"Help Yourself"
Music video

"Saltwater" is a song by English singer-songwriter Julian Lennon. It was written by Lennon, Mark Spiro, and Leslie Spiro. Originally released on the album Help Yourself , the single peaked at number six in the United Kingdom in October 1991 and topped the Australian ARIA Singles Chart for four weeks in March 1992. "Saltwater" was the 14th-highest-selling single of 1992 in Australia, where it is certified platinum.


In 2016, Lennon rerecorded Saltwater releasing it as "Saltwater 25" on 14 December 2016 saying that a proportion of the proceeds would go to The White Feather Foundation. [1]


Unlike most of Lennon's previous songs, "Saltwater" combines subtle melodies with gentle vocals to bring forward the issues of environmental conservation and world poverty. The lyrics juxtapose the many marvels and feats of human civilisation with the death of the natural world, constantly emphasising the passing of time — "Time is not a friend, 'cos friends we're out of time".

The recording features a lead guitar solo in the style of George Harrison. Julian Lennon originally wrote a guitar solo for the song. At the suggestion of his producer Bob Ezrin, he then contacted Harrison to play the solo instead. Harrison was busy at the time consoling Eric Clapton whose son had recently died. He recorded a couple of riffs and sent them back to Lennon. Guitar player Steve Hunter then played the actual solo on the song, combining elements of both Lennon's and Harrison's solos. In the liner notes for the Help Yourself album, Harrison is given special thanks.

Track listings

UK and European 7-inch single [2]

A. "Saltwater" – 3:46
B. "Rebel King" (edit) – 4:30

UK CD single [3]

  1. "Saltwater" – 3:46
  2. "Rebel King" – 4:30
  3. "Cre que voy a llorar" – 4:07
  4. "Mother Mary" – 4:53

US promo CD [4]

  1. "Saltwater" (edit) – 3:46
  2. "Saltwater" (LP version) – 4:07
  3. "Creo que voy a llorar" – 4:07



RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA) [15] Platinum70,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


An instrumental version (Guitar Duet) of this song was recorded by Chet Atkins and Tommy Emmanuel on their album The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World. Anni-Frid Lyngstad from ABBA performed the song at the open-air gala concert "Artister för Miljö", [16] and included her cover as a B-side on her single "Änglamark".

The song can be heard in its entirety during the 1991 Christmas Day special of Only Fools and Horses , "Miami Twice".

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  1. "Saltwater 25 Released". Julian Lennon. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  2. Saltwater (UK & European 7-inch single sleeve). Julian Lennon. Virgin Records. 1991. VS 1361, 114 639.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  3. Saltwater (UK CD single disc notes). Julian Lennon. Virgin Records. 1991. VSCDT 1361, 664 639.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  4. Saltwater (US promo CD liner notes). Julian Lennon. Atlantic Records. 1991. PRCD 4114-2.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
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  12. " – Julian Lennon – Saltwater" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
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  14. "1991 Top 100 Singles". Music Week . London, England: Spotlight Publications. 11 January 1992. p. 20.
  15. 1 2 "1992 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA . Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  16. Oldham, A, Calder, T & Irvin, C: "ABBA: The Name of the Game", p. 217. Sidgwick & Jackson, 1995