(Just Like) Starting Over (1980) – John Lennon-All About the Song

"It was obvious what the song was about: at that time, John didn't trust Yoko, she didn't trust him... But there was a lot of optimism and... hope for a future together in '(Just Like) Starting Over'"

The Story of John Lennon's Last Number One "(Just Like) Starting Over"...

“(Just Like) Starting Over” is the name given to John Lennon’s last single, released during his lifetime… The track successfully complemented the 1980 album Double Fantasy, which, unfortunately, marked not only the short return of the cult ex-Beatle to the music business… At first the song was not in demand among the public, but after the murder of the author, it became a huge bestseller! Decades later, the influential Billboard publication included "(Just Like) Starting Over" in the ranking of "the most influential songs in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart", awarding the composition the 62nd line ... How was the recording of the track, and what did Lennon want to convey to fans with touching lyrics? About everything in order.

The recording process...

John Lennon
John Lennon

This song is generously endowed with a romantic spirit... In the lyrics, John Lennon refers to his soulmate, namely Yoko Ono... As you can tell from the title, he is looking forward to a new moment in their relationship, he sincerely wants to "start all over again"... The musician wants to bring back the passion and the earlier emotional stage when their love and associated appreciation was much stronger:

“Our life is both priceless and eternal.
We've grown up, we've grown up...
Though our love is still so strange
We will give her the will to take off into the sky ... "

While the album was being recorded, John Lennon was accompanied by Yoko Ono, and this further inflamed the atmosphere within the band.
While the album was being recorded, John Lennon was accompanied by Yoko Ono, and this further inflamed the atmosphere within the band.

The lyrics hint that over the years, the couple has become accustomed to each other and does not appreciate each other as much as before. When Lennon wrote this, he and Yoko were still married. However, an abyss formed between them ... But this is a completely different story. It is worth emphasizing the fact that "(Just Like) Starting Over" was also Lennon's first recording since he left the music industry in the mid-1970s... Thus, the track was interpreted by critics as reflecting his re-experience with his musical career.

Today, "(Just Like) Starting Over" is also known as the first single from Double Fantasy! But did you know that Lennon chose this particular track not because he really liked it: it was "(Just Like) Starting Over" that best described the inner state of the musician at that time, and it was also the best option for what to reassert itself after a 5-year break. The album's producer, Jack Douglas, said in a 2005 interview:

“The first time we heard this song was at the last rehearsal…”

Lennon wrote this composition during his stay in Bermuda. The track was recorded just a few weeks later at The Hit Factory in New York. Remarkably, the original title of the song was "Starting from the beginning". However, later it was decided to change the name slightly due to the strong resemblance to one of the songs of Dolly Parton (her composition "Starting Over Again" was the leader of the world charts in early 1980 ...)

Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton

As mentioned above, "(Just Like) Starting Over" was the epitome of Lennon's renewal: both personally and professionally...Journalist David Sheff interviewed Lennon for the last time. Many years later he said:

"It was obvious what the song was about: at that time, John didn't trust Yoko, she didn't trust him... But there was a lot of optimism and... hope for a future together in '(Just Like) Starting Over'."

Recorded on August 9, 1980, "(Just Like) Starting Over" turned out to be one of the last songs for Double Fantasy. At first, Lennon was unsure whether the song should be included on the album at all. Luckily, Jack Douglas convinced him otherwise. Thus, the promising composition became the first single from the musician's latest album... After the release, critics warmly received the work, and Billboard magazine called "(Just Like) Starting Over" "fast, fresh-sounding rock", separately emphasizing the depth of the text and Lennon's vocal data...


John Lennon leaves a solid number 1
"(Just Like) Starting Over"

Despite the fact that this song was the first single in five years from one of the most famous musicians on the planet, it took time for it to become popular ... In America, the single entered the Hot 100 on November 1, 1980: debuting at number 38, it slowly but steadily climbed up the chart ... As is often the case, only after the death of a musician, the song became a success: as a result, "(Just Like) Starting Over" became the leader in the States (the song stayed on the first line for 5 weeks ...)

Interesting to know…

John Lennon and Yoko Ono
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
  • At the studio, Lennon jokingly referred to the song as "Elvis/Orbison" as it "derisively" epitomized their vocal styles. In his last interview with Rolling Stone magazine, the musician said:

"Throughout the recording of '(Just Like) Starting Over', I referred to this song as 'Elvis/Orbison'. In many ways, their work has been a big influence on me... It's like Dylan's Nashville Skyline album, where he moves away from his old image: only I'm not Dylan, and I'm from Liverpool... But I'm also moving away from the old, trying new things, returning to those records that I listened to for a long time: namely, to Elvis and Roy Orbison, Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis ... "

  • Renowned British musicologist Walter Everett noted a partial melodic similarity between "(Just Like) Starting Over" and the 1964 Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby"...
  • The single "(Just Like) Starting Over" was released in the States on October 27, 1980: it was on this day that Mark Chapman acquired the gun from which Lennon was subsequently killed ...
  • A copy of Chapman's Double Fantasy autographed by Lennon is almost the most valuable record in the world. Furthermore! The recording featured in the court case not only has Lennon's autograph, but also Chapman's own fingerprints on the cover! In 2003, the record was sold for £525,000, but since then its value has skyrocketed...

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