(Just Like) Starting Over

Album: Double Fantasy (1980)
Charted: 1 1
  • songfacts ®
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  • Lyrics
  • This song embodied the sense of renewal in Lennon and Yoko's professional and personal lives during the writing and recording of Double Fantasy. "It was kinda obvious what 'Starting Over' was about," said journalist David Sheff, who did the last major interview with Lennon, to Mojo. "He'd been untrusting of Yoko, she'd been untrusting of him, all that kind of stuff. But in that one song was this incredible optimism and joy."
  • This was released in the United States October 27, 1980, which was the same day Mark David Chapman bought the gun he would use to kill Lennon on December 8. "Starting Over," which came out in the UK on October 24, was Lennon's first release since 1975. The Double Fantasy album was issued on November 17.
  • Lennon wrote this while vacationing in Bermuda earlier in the year.
  • Despite being the first single in five years from one of the most famous musicians on the planet, this song took a while to catch on. In America, it entered the Hot 100 on November 1, 1980 at #38 and made a slow but steady climb up the chart. Here's the progression:

    Nov. 8: #32
    Nov. 15: #10
    Nov. 22: #9
    Nov. 29: #8
    Dec. 6: #6
    Dec. 13: #4
    Dec. 20: #3
    Dec. 27: #1

    When Lennon was killed, fans quickly scooped up the single along with lots of other Lennon material, but it took a few weeks for the chart to reflect these sales. When it hit #1, it stayed there for five weeks.
  • This was recorded at The Power Station in New York City. Musicians included Tony Levin on bass, Earl Slick on guitar, and Andy Newmark on drums.
  • Double Fantasy was released on David Geffen's record label, DGC. Many labels were competing for the album, but Geffen impressed Lennon when he wrote directly to Yoko and agreed to release it without hearing it first. All of Lennon's previous albums were released on The Beatles' label, Apple.
  • John and Yoko were considering doing a tour when this was climbing the charts.
  • This was one of the last songs recorded for the album. Lennon was not sure he should record it, but his producer and session musicians convinced him it would be a hit. It became the first single from Double Fantasy.
  • The day this was released, Yoko Ono hired a skywriter to write "Happy Birthday" above New York.
  • Lennon said in his last Rolling Stone interview in 1980: "All through the taping of 'Starting Over,' I was calling what I was doing 'Elvis Orbison.' It's like Dylan doing Nashville Skyline, except I don't have any Nashville, being from Liverpool. So I go back to the records I know - Elvis and Roy Orbison and Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis."
  • The copy of Double Fantasy that Mark Chapman asked Lennon to autograph might be the most valuable record in the world. The record, which figured in the court case, not only has Lennon's autograph but also boasts Chapman's fingerprints on the cover. In 2003, the record was sold for £525,000 but its value has since rocketed.
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Comments: 29

  • Kramo from Toronto, CanadaWhat an awful song. Sounds like something Paul would have written.
  • John Paulson from UsaJoshua- AT 40 was usually recorded a week or so before the actual air date so the 12-13 show had been recorded and likely shipped out to all of the radio stations that were running the show at that time. To rerecord the show and ship out to hundreds of radio stations in less than a week (especially using technology of the late 70's and early 80's) would have been nearly impossible. Also remember AT 40 went to stations overseas as well as in the US making delivery impossible if recorded that week.
  • Phil from Neenah, WiThe Flaming Lips did a cover of this song on 2007's 'Instant Karma' double album/compilation.
  • George from Glen Burnie, MdI may claim power-of-suggestion, but I did hear a voice say, "Mark David Chapman", at the end of this song.
  • Craig from New York, NyThe voice you hear for 9 sec toward the end(from 3:33 to 3:42) of (just like)Starting over sounds to me like it is saying "All your life, writing songs, next service, at the back (repeats and fades out)". Listen very closely....I did. Check it out for yourself!!
  • Bret from Wapakoneta, OhYes Suzanne and everyone...listen at 3:33 (On the Youtube video) listen closely it sounds like "Late at night you will be killed, Mark David" Very very eerie.
  • Amanda from Gretna, Vtand a girl at my school says this sucks. how sad she is. i really like love this song. just so laid back and peaceful, i love it.
  • Samuel from Kilsyth, United KingdomJohn Lennon (as you all know), was the POWER behind the music,like when he started out in his early days,We all have `Leaders and Followers`, It just so happened that John, was `THE TREE`,the rest were new `BRANCHES`that attached themselfs to him(Metaphorically Speaking),And they Certainly made a GREAT IMPRESSION, That you cant Deny. Now Just before (EVIL)Mark Chapman Killed John, He Usually Signed Out Of Work,with the Name `Chappy`,But on THAT Night, He Signed Out As JOHN LENNON, WHY?, Was it Because He Was Such a Great Fan?, Or (Was He Put Up to it),Make Your Own Mind Up, I CERTAINLY HAVE, Happy Listning, to a `GREAT MUSIC SITE`.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesSuzanne: That is an airport terminal boarding announcement, to go with the theme of inviting Yoko on a journey. It starts "Japan Airlines", but I can't make out the rest.
  • Timoklia from Athens, GreeceThis song is an perfect Evidence that John Lennon was the best composer, singer, songwriter then and now...Ths song has many rythm changes and John's voice is absolutely perfecy!
    I love the Beatles, John Lennon !!!!
    When i listen to this song and his voice of course i can't imagine that two months later he was killed by a murder...it's so...i can't describe this.
  • Andrew from Birmingham, United StatesAccording to Charlie from Cape Girardeau, "Starting Over" would prove that John Lennon had rapidly calmed down from such anger issues. Amazing story. What a shame that John Lennon didn't get much chance to prove that before he passed away! Anyway, I'm a Beatle fan and I completely concur with the story line of "Starting Over". I like songs about making amends.
  • Bill from Downers Grove, IlJohn referred to this style of singing as "Elvis Orbison" according to Paul.
  • Suzanne from Boston, MaAt the END of "Starting Over" does anyone hear the strange eary sounds in the backgroud? It sounds exactly like they are saying...Mark David-- Mark Chapman..I am NOT kidding listen again closely.
    PEACE & LOVE to All of you.
  • Mark from Worcester, MiI read that Lennon considered this to be a bit of throw-away pop. It wasn't something he was overly proud of. Maybe that's why he had to be convinced to record it. Read that on an interview with Robert Rosen at absoluteelsewhere.net Anyway I like simple pop sometimes, or silly love songs as Macca would say. After all; "what's wrong with that?"
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesThe famous quote from John is "I'd like to live to a ripe old age with Yoko only. And I'm not afraid of dying, I don't know how I'd feel at the moment, but I'm prepared for death because I don't believe in it. I think it's just getting out of one car and getting into another." That was recorded the morning of December 8, in his last interview. I have to hold my breath at that "getting out of the car" comment ....

    You couldn't go anywhere in my town that week without hearing this -- every radio station was playing it, and most stores at the time were tuned to local radio, not muzak.
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnRecently (Dec. 2006) on XM Satellite Radio they played an episode of American Top 40 for the week ending December 13, 1980 - the first show produced after Lennon's death. This song was #4, but amazingly Casey Kasem made no mention of Lennon's death, either before this song or at any other point during the show.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaIt's a shame. Just as he was starting over, he died.
  • Dee from Khancoban, Australiathis song is awsome.. kinda freeks me about how he died so soon after it.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScThis song has sort of a fifties feel. I like it.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyLennon said that he almost changed a line in the song because he was afraid people would think "Spread our wings and fly" would be taken as a reference to Paul McCartney.
  • Brandon from Saskatoon, Canadagood song, very inspiring
  • Joe from Los Angeles, Cayeah,'starting over'.sadly, he never got a chance to.
  • Liliana from Huntley, Ilaren't a lot of things that john said right before his death ironic? starting over, "i don't want to die at 40",....it's kinda creepy
  • Ken from Louisville, KyGeorge Martin's comment on "Double Fantasy" was "John hadn't been in a studio in a while and it showed."
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, Scyeah john Lennon wrote some great music, didn't he?
  • Rob from Phoenix, AzEarl Slick (on guitar) also played for Phantom, Rocket and Slick, and another great group called Silver Condor, who had a song called "You Could Take My Heart Away" in 1981.
  • Gregmon from Intelbuquerque, NmDavid--

    My Dad ALWAYS left for work long before I woke-up. For some reason, he didn't one day and came in to get me up. "Hi Dad," I happily said. "Good morning. I'm heading off now. John Lennon was shot and died today. I thought you'd want to know."
    damn.
  • David from Waco, TxThe opening of this song still gives me chills. I remember the night that he was killed like it was yesterday. I was 16, had been a Beatle fan since I was old enough to know what that meant, and heared on the radio that he had been shot. I walked into my fathers den to tell him and heared Howard Cosell say that Lennon was dead.
  • Joseph from Manteca, CaJohn Lennon wrote better american rock music than most any american rock artist...
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