(Just Like) Starting Over

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"(Just Like) Starting Over"
Single by John Lennon
from the album Double Fantasy
B-side"Kiss Kiss Kiss" (Yoko Ono)
Released23 October 1980 (US)[1]
24 October 1980 (UK)[1]
Recorded9 August 1980
StudioThe Hit Factory, New York City
Songwriter(s)John Lennon
John Lennon singles chronology
"Stand by Me"
"(Just Like) Starting Over"
Double Fantasy track listing
Licensed audio
"(Just Like) Starting Over" on YouTube
Professional ratings
Review scores

"(Just Like) Starting Over" is a song written and performed by John Lennon from the 1980 album, Double Fantasy. It was released as a single on 24 October 1980 in the United Kingdom,[3] with Yoko Ono's "Kiss Kiss Kiss" as the B-side. It reached number one in both the US and UK after Lennon was murdered on 8 December 1980. It was Lennon's final single released in his lifetime.


"(Just Like) Starting Over" was the first single released from Double Fantasy and the first new recording Lennon had released since he left the music industry in 1975.[3] It was chosen by Lennon not because he felt it was the best track on the album, but because it was the most appropriate following his five-year absence from the recording industry. He referred to it during production as the "Elvis/Orbison" track, as he "tongue in cheek" impersonated their vocal styles. Lennon explained, "All through the taping of "Starting Over," I was calling what I was doing "Elvis Orbison": "I want you I need only the lonely." I'm a born-again rocker, I feel that refreshed, and I'm going right back to my roots."[4] At the start of the 2010 "Stripped Down" version of the song, Lennon says "this one's for Gene, and Eddie, and Elvis... and Buddy."


Although its origins were in unfinished demo compositions like "Don't Be Crazy" and "My Life", it was one of the last songs to be completed in time for the Double Fantasy sessions. "We didn't hear it until the last day of rehearsal," producer Jack Douglas said in 2005.[5] Lennon finished the song while on holiday in Bermuda, and recorded it at The Hit Factory in New York City just weeks later. The song was originally titled "Starting Over"; however, "(Just Like)" was added prior to its release because of its similarity to Dolly Parton's "Starting Over Again" which had topped the US Country Charts earlier in the year. The chiming bell that opens the song was a deliberate allusion to the heavy tolling church bell that opens Lennon's 1970 song "Mother", illustrating how far Lennon had come in ten years.[6][7]

While commercial releases of the song (original 45rpm singles, LPs and Compact Discs) run a length of three minutes and 54 seconds, a promotional 12" vinyl single originally issued to radio stations features a longer fadeout, officially running at four minutes 17 seconds.[citation needed]

Musicologist Walter Everett noted melodic similarities between a portion of the song and the Beach Boys' 1964 single "Don't Worry Baby".[8]


Lennon recorded "(Just Like) Starting Over" on 9 August 1980 at The Hit Factory. The track was mixed at the Record Plant on 25–26 September 1980.[9]

Release and reception[edit]

The song is Lennon's biggest solo hit in the United States, staying at number 1 for five weeks. Before Lennon was murdered in New York City on 8 December 1980, the single had reached number 6 on the US charts. It reached number 1 for the week ending 27 December.[3] Billboard ranked it at the No. 4 song for 1981.[10] The song also reached number 1 on the Cashbox Top 100.[11]

In the UK, it had peaked at number 8 in the charts and had fallen to position number 21 before Lennon's death propelled it to number 1.[3] It was overtaken to the Christmas Number One Single rank by the St Winifred's School Choir's "There's No One Quite Like Grandma," finishing at number 2 on that list.[12] By 6 January 1981, there were three Lennon songs in the UK top 5, a feat that remained unequalled for 35 years when Justin Bieber managed to accomplish this in January 2016.

Billboard magazine considered "(Just Like) Starting Over" to be an "uptempo, fresh sounding rocker," praising the "irresistible melody and lyric line," the "exceptional rhythm unit" as well as Lennon's vocal performance.[13] Record World said that "John steps briskly into the mainstream with this glorious pop-rocker."[14]

In 2013, Billboard ranked it as the 62nd biggest hit of all time on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[15]

Stereogum contributors Timothy and Elizabeth Bracy rated it as Lennon's 7th best solo song, saying that it "finds him in throwback mode, delightfully evoking the doo-wop of his childhood on an uncharacteristically winsome ode to rejuvenated love."[16] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Stephen Lewis rated it as Lennon's 7th greatest solo love song, saying that "The undeniably catchy rock and roll song – a tribute to past rock and rollers – appeals to ears and hearts, with a solid groove and an optimistic and wistful lyric that is honest, without becoming maudlin."[17]

On 8 October 2010, in honor of what would have been his 70th birthday the following day, iTunes released remastered albums, iTunes LPs, and a free track, the 2010 remix of "(Just Like) Starting Over".



Certifications for (Just Like) Starting Over
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Japan (RIAJ)[43]
1997 release
Gold 50,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[44] Gold 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[45] Gold 500,000^
United States (RIAA)[46] Gold 1,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


The Flaming Lips recorded a version for the benefit album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Onobox (liner notes). Yoko Ono. Rykodisc. 1992. RCD 10224/29.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  2. ^ "Review: John Lennon – (Just Like) Starting Over" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 85, no. 44. 1 November 1980. p. 91. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 30 May 2020 – via American Radio History.
  3. ^ a b c d Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0.
  4. ^ "John Lennon - Rolling Stone Interview, 12/5/1980". 1980.
  5. ^ "Just Like Starting Over" by Chris Hunt, Uncut John Lennon Special, 2005
  6. ^ Official Tweet from The John Lennon Estate
  7. ^ How Fate Intervened on John Lennon's Last Chart-Topping Single, Ultimate Classic Rock
  8. ^ Everett, Walter (2008). The Foundations of Rock : From "Blue Suede Shoes" to "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes". Oxford University Press. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-19-971870-2.
  9. ^ Madinger, Chip; Raile, Scott (2015). LENNONOLOGY Strange Days Indeed - A Scrapbook of Madness. Chesterfield, MO: Open Your Books, LLC. pp. 520, 528. ISBN 978-1-63110-175-5.
  10. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1981
  11. ^ Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-9544528-1-0.
  12. ^ Andrew Johnson; Claire Cooper; Victoria Richards (20 December 2009). "Not quite Top of the Pops: Stuck at Number Two for Christmas". The Independent on Sunday. Archived from the original on 1 May 2022.
  13. ^ "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard. 1 November 1980. p. 91. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. 1 November 1980. p. 1. Retrieved 22 February 2023.
  15. ^ Bronson, Fred (2 August 2013). "Hot 100 55th Anniversary: The All-Time Top 100 Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  16. ^ Bracy, Timothy; Bracy, Elizabeth (13 May 2014). "The 10 Best John Lennon Songs". Stereogum. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  17. ^ Lewis, Stephen (20 March 2013). "Top 10 John Lennon Love Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  18. ^ a b "National Top 100 Singles for 1981". Kent Music Report. 4 January 1982. p. 7. Retrieved 11 January 2022 – via Imgur.
  19. ^ "John Lennon – (Just Like) Starting Over" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  20. ^ "John Lennon – (Just Like) Starting Over" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  21. ^ "50 Singles". RPM. Vol. 34, no. 6. 20 December 1980.
  22. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2021). "John Lennon". Sisältää hitin - 2. laitos Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla 1.1.1960–30.6.2021 (PDF) (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. p. 146. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  23. ^ "John Lennon – (Just Like) Starting Over" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  24. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Startin' Over". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  25. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e Dischi (in Italian). Retrieved 27 May 2022. Set "Tipo" on "Singoli". Then, in the "Artista" field, search "John Lennon".
  26. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 3, 1981" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  27. ^ "John Lennon – (Just Like) Starting Over" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  28. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". The Official New Zealand Music Chart. 18 January 1981. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  29. ^ "John Lennon – (Just Like) Starting Over". VG-lista. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  30. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  31. ^ "John Lennon – (Just Like) Starting Over". Singles Top 100. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  32. ^ "John Lennon – (Just Like) Starting Over". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  33. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 388. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  34. ^ "John Lennon Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  35. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 138.
  36. ^ "Billboard Japan Hot Overseas – Week of 4 January 2023". Billboard Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved 10 January 2023.
  37. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1980". Kent Music Report. 5 January 1981. Retrieved 17 January 2022 – via Imgur.
  38. ^ "australian-charts.com - Forum - Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts - 1980s (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
  39. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles". Archived from the original on 15 September 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  40. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  41. ^ "Pop Singles" Billboard 26 December 1981: YE-9
  42. ^ Bronson, Fred (2 August 2013). "Hot 100 55th Anniversary: The All-Time Top 100 Songs". Billboard. Archived from the original on 9 September 2021. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  43. ^ "Japanese single certifications – ジョン・レノン – スターティング・オーヴァー" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 26 December 2020. Select 1997年5月 on the drop-down menu
  44. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – John Lennon & Yoko Ono – Starting Over". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  45. ^ "British single certifications – John Lennon – (Just Like) Starting Over". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 27 December 2022.
  46. ^ "American single certifications – John Lennon – Starting Over". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 27 December 2022.

External links[edit]