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  • John Lennon said “(Just Like) Starting Over” featured an instrument owned by someone he loved.
  • “(Just Like) Starting Over” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a few weeks and became a big hit.
  • “(Just Like) Starting Over” was the first track on the hugely successful album Double Fantasy.
"(Just Like) Starting Over" singer John Lennon in glasses
John Lennon | George Stroud / Stringer

John Lennon‘s “(Just Like) Starting Over” contains a reference to one of his earlier songs, “Mother.” Subsequently, John said this was because his entire body of work was “part of one big production.” Notably, “(Just Like) Starting Over” was more popular than the song it referenced.

John Lennon said it was obvious his album ‘Double Fantasy’ was ‘part of a larger work’

During a 1980 interview with Rolling Stone, John discussed the reception of his music. “People are always judging or criticizing you, or focusing on what you’re trying to say on one little album, on one little song, but to me it’s a lifetime’s work,” he said. 

“From the boyhood paintings and poetry to when I die — it’s all part of one big production,” he added. “And I don’t have to announce that this album [Double Fantasy] is part of a larger work: If it isn’t obvious, then forget it.” 

Why John Lennon’s ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ references his earlier song ‘Mother’

John said he put a clue about the unity of his work in one of his most famous songs. “But I did put a little clue on the beginning of Double Fantasy — the bells on ‘(Just Like) Starting Over,'” he said. “The head of the album is a wishing bell of Yoko’s. 

“And it’s like the beginning of ‘Mother’ on the Plastic Ono album, which had a very slow death bell,” he continued. “So it’s taken a long time to get from a slow church death bell to this sweet little wishing bell. And that’s the connection. To me, my work is one piece.”


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How ‘Mother’ and ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ performed on the charts in the United States

“Mother” became a modest hit in 1971. The song reached No. 43 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for six weeks. It appeared on the album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 34 weeks.

On the other hand, “(Just Like) Starting Over” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five of its 22 weeks on the chart. It appeared on the album Double Fantasy, which topped the Billboard 200 for eight weeks and remained on the chart for 77 weeks. 

Notably, covers of both “Mother” and “(Just Like) Starting Over” appeared on the charity album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. The “Mother” cover on that album was by Christina Aguilera while the “(Just Like) Starting Over” cover was by The Flaming Lips. Both performers adapted the songs to fit their signature styles.

“(Just Like) Starting Over” was a huge hit and it showed how John changed over time.