In an interview on NPR's "Fresh Air With Terry Gross," John Linnel said that the lyrics don't have any special meaning, as he often writes the music first and then just tries to "fit the correct number of syllables" in it.
The most famous version of this song is the "Single Mix" (as opposed to the album version), which is featured in the video and on the compilation albums Then: The Earlier Years and Dial-A-Song: 20 Years Of They Might Be Giants.
The video was shot at the 1964 World Fair ground at Flushing Meadows, Queens, NY, which both John Flansburgh and John Linnel attended the fair as children and remember it fondly. The world fair is also mentioned in their 1989 song "Ana Ng."
The video was named one of the Top 100 Videos of All Time by MTV in 2001.
"Don't Let's Start" is also the name of a 2008 movie, which has a character named "Ana Ng."
Suggestion credit: Martin - Rostock, Germany, for all above
M. Apple from TxIt reminds me of when I and who I misunderstood to be my soulmate (who very much wasn’t) were breaking up. He’d beg me not to start a fight over something little and I couldn’t bare to talk about what was actually bothering me so I’d start. He was reclusive and I was a social butterfly. I literally brought him to his knees, he was begging me once to be understanding. I just couldn’t be at the time. Don’t don’t, don’t ‘let’s start’ This is the worst part Could believe for all the world that you were my precious little girl ... Ive got a weak heart And I don’t get around how you get around. Not that the band had this meaning obviously. But I carry it.
Don Narb from UsaI’m always so let down when bands say their songs don’t mean anything. Too many fans have found meaning in them and invested time figuring them out. Once we find out that you said it was all gibberish, it makes some of us not like the song or band anymore.
Fred from Laurel, MdWhen TMBG's 3rd album, Flood, was released in 1990, and the song, "Birdhouse in Your Soul," became a hit, the local (DC-area) alt. rock station ("progressive rock, WHFS, 102.3FM, in Bethesda, Maryland," then they moved to Annapolis on 99.1FM, different call letters--I forget) played that, and also two pre-Birdhouse songs, namely (wait for it...), "Don't Let's Start" and "Ana Ng."
Angus Young created the distinctive opening guitar part for "Thuderstruck" by playing with all the strings taped up, except the B. He learned the studio trick from his older brother George Young, who was the rhythm guitarist for The Easybeats.