This song is about building a romance anew after an initial breakup. The singer knows it will be an uphill climb, but with help from above, he thinks they can get there. The keys: take it slow, and don't fuss about who's wrong and who's right.
Mel & Tim are cousins Mel Hardin and Tim McPherson (Tim sings lead on this track). They started writing songs when they were teenagers growing up in Mississippi. Some of their songs got the attention of Gene Chandler, who signed them to his newly formed Bamboo label. Chandler wanted them to sing the songs they wrote, and they quickly scored two hits for the label: "Backfield In Motion" (#10 US, 1969) and "Good Guys Only Win In The Movies" (#45 US, 1970). The label ran into problems, so Mel & Tim waited out their contract and signed with Stax Records in 1972. Stax released "Starting All Over Again" as their first single - an apt title since the duo was rebooting their career. Unfortunately, it would be their last hit.
This song was written by Phillip Mitchell, who was a staff songwriter at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, where Mel & Tim recorded this track. Mitchell also wrote "Oh La De Da" for The Staple Singers and "It Hurts So Good" for Millie Jackson. The studio at this time had songs on hand written by their staff writers in case an artist needed one, which happened quite often.
The production and arrangement of this song, including the sitar and the spoken intro, was modeled on "Have You Seen Her" by the Chi-Lites, which was a huge hit in 1971.
The spoken intro on this track (removed on the edits sent to pop radio) sets up the storyline in clear detail. After Western Union shows up with a telegram for Mel, we hear this exchange:
Mel: Hey Tim, this is from Barbara.
Tim: Oh, what is she talking about?
Mel: She says she still loves me, she can't do without me. And she'll be here tomorrow.
Tim: I thought you had settled all of that, man.
Mel: Hey man, you see, you just don't understand. I never stopped loving her, I just wasn't ready to accept the love she was willing to give. But if she still loves me, there's nothing in the world that can keep us from making it this time.
Setting up a song with a spoken introduction was popularized by Isaac Hayes, who did it on his version of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix." Hayes was a writer, musician and artist for Stax, which was Mel & Tim's label.
Daryl Hall and John Oates covered this in 1991. Their version made #10 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 2nd 1972, "Staring All Over Again" by Mel and Tim entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 at position #83; and on October 29th, 1972 it peaked at #19 (for 2 weeks) and spent 20 weeks on the Top 100... It reached #4 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart... The duo had two other records make the Top 100; "Backfield In Motion" (peaked at #10 in 1969) and "Good Guys Only Win In The Movies" (reached #45 in 1970).
Michael G. from Anaheim, CaHi Guy's For the record we need to let the public know the names of Mel & Tim's band members, the music of The Duo: The MT3 was the power trio of the Rythym Section, consisting of: Ty Woods on Guitar.....Steve Murray on Bass...&...Michael Grimes on Drums. The two guys stacking all of the musical layers on top were Boo Boo and Benny Wilson, both on Keyboards. Fellows, little did we know, all those years ago we were making musical history. I'm proud to have been one of you. Lots of love, Sincerely, Michael G. alias Butter-Roll, The Drummer.
Michael G......(Anaheim, California)
Boo Boo from St. Louis, MoI can verify the foregoing from Steve because we played togeher as part of M&T's rode band. I was the keyboard player. Hey, Steve remember London?
Stephen Murray from St. Louis, MoI forgot to mention that Tim died in 1986. Mel still lives in St. Louis, having recently retired from the Bi-State Development Corp. where he was a bus driver after his career in music. He is currently a Djay for various events and functions.
Stephen Murray from St. Louis, MoThanks, Brad for the info. Actually Mel and Tim endured only a one-year hiatus. I was the bass player in the group and we continued working.