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‘(Just Like) Starting Over’: John Lennon Leaves A Lasting No.1

On the chart of December 20, 1980, ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ became a posthumous UK No.1.

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John & Yoko '(Just Like) Starting Over' artwork - Courtesy: UMG
John & Yoko '(Just Like) Starting Over' artwork - Courtesy: UMG

When John Lennon went into the Hit Factory in New York to record what became the first single from his and Yoko Ono’s return to public life, the Double Fantasy album, the rock’n’roll flavor of the track was so strong that he himself referred to it as the “Elvis Orbison” song. Its upbeat, optimistic spirit was in cruel contrast to what we all know happened just after its release. On the chart of December 20, 1980, “(Just Like) Starting Over” became a posthumous UK No.1.

(JUST LIKE) STARTING OVER. (Ultimate Mix, 2020) - John Lennon (official music video HD)

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At the time of John’s brutal and shocking murder on December 8, the single was on its way down the UK charts. It had entered at No.30 in November, his first appearance on the bestsellers in his home country since the reissue of “Imagine” in 1975. “Starting Over” climbed to No.20, then No.13, then No.8, its apparent peak, falling to No.10 and No.21 just before those fateful events near the Dakota Building where John and Yoko lived in New York.

As is so often the case when such a huge figure in music leaves us, the commercial and cultural impact of John’s passing was dramatic. The song raced straight to No.1 the following week, and then earlier in 1981, “Imagine” itself reemerged for a four-week run at the top.

Listen to the best of John Lennon on Apple Music and Spotify.

“(Just Like) Starting Over” then became the last US No.1 single of 1980 and Lennon’s second solo chart-topper there, after 1974’s “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night.” It stayed at the summit throughout January, in a five-week run that was almost like a vigil for the irreplaceable talent the world had lost. For millions of people, the contrast between John’s death and the infectious optimism of the comeback single he left behind was hard to bear.

Buy or stream “(Just Like) Starting Over” on the 2020 John Lennon compilation GIMME SOME TRUTH. The Ultimate Mixes.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Graham Harley

    December 20, 2016 at 11:11 am

    John was killed on 8th December, not 6th.

  2. Dave Hahn

    December 20, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    I hope that they never release Chapman from prison. Murdering John Lennon was indefensible and unforgivable.

  3. joy stinson

    December 21, 2022 at 5:53 am

    Enjoyed the John part of DF and from his very last interviews he’d definitely mellowed and had his head on straighter. I have the album, the picture cover single of course and a large record store promotional poster of the album cover. Listening to the song again reminds me of that awful event. Sadly the song and album were climbing the charts but it took his death for them to reach number one which he desperately wanted as kept asking the producer when recording if thought it would reach number one.

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