Thursday, December 8, 2011

John Lennon Starts Over

In the summer of 1980, after five years as Mr. Mom, John Lennon sailed from the tip of Long Island to Bermuda, helping to pilot the boat along the way, with the intention of recording some demos that would get him back into the music business. After six days at sea, Lennon arrived in Hamilton, picked up a guitar, and set to work. "I was so centered after the experience at sea that I was tuned in to the cosmos," he said later, "and all these songs came!" He spent most of July in Bermuda - with his son Sean, although his wife wasn't present - writing songs.

Lennon returned to New York at the end of July, and on August 4th, he went into the studio to start officially recording. Producer Jack Douglas brought along some friends to help with the track "I'm Losing You" - Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen and drummer Bun E. Carlos. They were stoked - Nielsen made it to the session even though his wife had given birth that morning - but Mrs. Lennon was not happy, and the song was eventually redone with session musicians. Douglas soon learned that it was best to keep the Lennons apart, even though the album was considered a collaboration by the two of them. For most of the sessions, Yoko did her recording in the afternoon, with John not showing up till after 7:00 p.m.

On the last day of rehearsals, John brought in a new song called "Starting Over." “I was listening to some Roy Orbison and I thought this would be kind of like a Roy thing," Lennon said. The song was instantly identified as the album's first single, which meant they needed to get it done first. The opening sound was provided by a Tibetan wishing bell that Lennon kept at his home. At the last second, they added "(Just Like)" to the title in order to differentiate the song from a new Tammy Wynette single called "Starting Over."

"(Just Like) Starting Over" was released as a single on October 24, 1980, fifteen days after Lennon turned forty. It was Lennon's first single since the cover of "Stand by Me" he had put out in the spring of 1975. A week later, "(Just Like) Starting Over" made the Billboard Top Forty, and by December 8, it had reached Number Three on the charts. After Lennon's tragic murder, it moved into the Number One slot on the charts as of the week of December 27, displacing Kenny Rogers' "Lady." "(Just Like) Starting Over" would stay on top for five weeks.

1 comment:

  1. according to the excellent book "You Never Give Me Your Money" Yoko didn't know Cheap Trick were already famous; she thought they just wanted to ride John's coattails.

    The version with Rick and Bun is awesome.