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(Just Like) Starting Over
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17 November 2015
5.33am
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Joe
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(Just Like) Starting Over single artwork - John Lennon

Written by: Lennon
Recorded: 6 August-13 October 1980
Producers: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Jack Douglas

Released: 24 October 1980 (UK), 20 October 1980 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, electric guitar
Earl Slick, Hugh McCracken: electric guitar
Tony Levin: bass guitar
George Small: keyboards
Michelle Simpson, Cassandra Wooten, Cheryl Mason Jacks, Eric Troyer: backing vocals
Andy…

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10 August 2016
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Leppo
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I didn’t realise this until recently but there are a few hidden nods and winks to Paul in this song all within the same line. “It’s time to spread our wings and fly, don’t let another day go by my love. It’s debatable whether it was intentional but it’s known John and Paul would put little hidden messages in their songs. Could this be a call to Paul about starting over and getting together…”like we used to in the early days”? We know there was some speculation that “Coming Up ” contained a few lines directed at John..  “You want some peace and understanding So everybody can be free I know that we can get together We can make it, stick with me”.  I’ve often also wondered if Coming Up was a metaphor for something like a seed that’s been in hibernation to make it to the surface and flower…like John.

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Pivotal Moments in Beatles History No.118:  Yoko helps herself to one of George's digestives. 

10 August 2016
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Ron Nasty
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You can have intentional nods and winks, but unintentional nods and winks are just coincidences, hidden meanings people find that aren’t really there.

Do I believe John wrote things into Starting Over as nods and winks to Paul? Do I believe it was message to Paul?

No. The song – or its parts – went through many stages. For those who know the home demos, the evolution is clear. Lines float through various demos throughout the late-70s, resulting in three semi-finished love songs – My LifeDon’t Be Crazy and The Worst Is Over. At the last minute, as he’d done in the past, he pulled fragments from each to make up Starting Over. When you listen to the demos, it’s pretty obvious Yoko is the subject.

Sometimes, most times, they’re just the words that fit, and not some secret message to Paul.

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

10 August 2016
5.49am
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Leppo
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You might be right Ron but I don’t think you can rule it out. I know there have been a lot of crazy Beatle fan theories over the years and it’s easy to read more into things than is actually there. But it’s a big coincidence to have two Wings song titles and a reference to wings in one line. It wouldn’t be the first time either.

Pivotal Moments in Beatles History No.118:  Yoko helps herself to one of George's digestives. 

10 August 2016
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Ron Nasty
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Myself, I think it can be ruled out. Were they unusual phrases that Paul had used as songs titles then I could maybe see something there. Neither is an unusual phrase though.

If you’re looking to find something chances are you’ll find it.

I mean, you reference two phrases in the song, “another day” and “my love”, that were also Paul song titles. Well, in the next verse John drops another Paul song title:

Like we used to in the early days

An argument for that being a tip of the hat from John to Paul can’t be made though. Paul wouldn’t write a song called Early Days  (which was clearly about him and John) for another few decades. Just John finding the right words to fit. Just as his use of “another day” and “my love” earlier in the song was John finding the right words to fit.

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

10 August 2016
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Leppo
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Yes but perhaps Paul wrote Early Days as a nod to Starting Over 🙂 I’m kidding I don’t really believe that but then again who knows? Also where else in John’s songs can you find references to Paul Songs? Well there’s How Do You Sleep which we know contained deliberate references to Another Day & Yesterday . I can’t think of any others. 

Incidentally I’m not someone who pores over lyrics looking for meaning I just heard this theory mentioned on Something About the Beatles podcast

Pivotal Moments in Beatles History No.118:  Yoko helps herself to one of George's digestives. 

13 October 2022
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Ron Nasty
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“Let’s take a trip and fly away, together alone” – to the funny farm for a nice rest presumably. So much for McCartney writing the slop and Lennon writing the shocking rockers! An early ’70s Opportunity Knocks protégé, one Gerry Monroe, used to do songs very similar to this; pubs, Gracie Fields, maudlin singsongs. John Lennon either needs to be put away (if this record is meant to be good) or wants to be written off (if the direness of this dirge is intentional). My guess is that he’s happy in his house-husband niche and did this to merely dissuade people who ask him when he’s going to get back in the “studio” to “lay down” some new “tracks”.

Review by Julie Burchill in NME (25 October 1980)

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

13 October 2022
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Timothy
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When I first got into the Beatles and John in particular I was OBSESSED with the song. I loved the retro vibe it has, the lyrics and the ironic sense of melancholy about it being about starting over, while being one of his last ever songs. I would walk around, going about my day, with it playing in my head a lot of the time. 

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20 October 2022
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Timothy said
When I first got into the Beatles and John in particular I was OBSESSED with the song. I loved the retro vibe it has, the lyrics and the ironic sense of melancholy about it being about starting over, while being one of his last ever songs. I would walk around, going about my day, with it playing in my head a lot of the time. 

  

The first time I heard this song I was walking around on a sunny day by myself listening with headphones. The positive energy of this song, with the driving groove and strong melody hit me like a freight train. The acid might’ve helped as well to immediately fall in love with the album from the opener, then Kiss Kiss came on next… 

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27 October 2022
3.26am
forn
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Leppo said
I didn’t realise this until recently but there are a few hidden nods and winks to Paul in this song all within the same line. “It’s time to spread our wings and fly, don’t let another day go by my love. It’s debatable whether it was intentional but it’s known John and Paul would put little hidden messages in their songs.

I have to admit I’ve never noticed this before.  I think it’s entirely possible, even probable, that he put that in there deliberately.  Probably not as a message to Paul to get the Beatles back together or whatever, but it just seems like something he might put in there just for fun.

I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard this song (well before Dec. 8).  I was driving in my car and it came on the radio, the DJ said here’s the latest from John and Yoko.  And my reaction was well, that was disappointing.  I was into harder rock music at the time, and this sounded like a soft 50’s thing (as opposed to a rocking ’50s thing).  Seemed like he was going backwards rather than looking to the future.  I feel differently now, of course, but that was my reaction at the time.  It still isn’t one of my favorite Lennon songs.  

After John was assassinated, some friends and I used to hang out at this one guy’s house, and he had a small gong on his coffee table.  One of my friends used to ring it three times like the bell at the beginning of the song, and start singing “Our life, together, is so special…”, just to freak me out.

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3 November 2022
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Von Bontee
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sir walter raleigh said

The acid might’ve helped as well to immediately fall in love with the album from the opener, then Kiss Kiss came on next… 

  

Hahaha! I can’t imagine how you would’ve reacted to the “Star Wars” blaster effects further on…

forn said

Leppo said

I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard this song (well before Dec. 8).  I was driving in my car and it came on the radio, the DJ said here’s the latest from John and Yoko.  And my reaction was well, that was disappointing.  I was into harder rock music at the time, and this sounded like a soft 50’s thing (as opposed to a rocking ’50s thing).  Seemed like he was going backwards rather than looking to the future.  I feel differently now, of course, but that was my reaction at the time.  It still isn’t one of my favorite Lennon songs.  

 

I’d just turned 13 around the single’s release, and was also into harder sounds, so it wasn’t a *big* favourite – I did like it, didn’t love it; the entire opening bored me and alwsys made me impatient for the drums to kick it to life. My opinion changed; I love it now, loved it since December 9 of that year, for obvious sentimental reasons; and now I can appreciate it as within the ’50s tradition

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4 November 2022
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Timothy
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I think too, that upon turning 40, John saw himself as an older man and thus looked to define what generation he was from, and the journey he and other people of his era shared. He was older, proud of it and saying ‘this is who I am’.

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6 February 2023
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Neely
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this song is amazing especially the intro 

then the elvis esque vocals…. love it 

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