Every now and then The Beatles come on, reminding us of something we love. Whether it’s a song you haven’t heard since childhood or the one you frequently play when you’re feeling low, The Beatles have shaped the history of music and gave the world anthems that will last a lifetime.
The Beatles represent sentiment and emotion in their songs all while giving you something to dance to. They’ve done it all and with great expertise.
I’ve often found myself wishing I was alive during the time when their exemplary albums like “Abbey Road,” “Rubber Soul” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” were played live. But unfortunately the ‘60s are over, and we are left with the songs that have been released before most of our time.
Until Nov. 2, 2023.
The Beatles released their final song “Now And Then” on the Thursday after Halloween, bringing a sweet surprise of nostalgia to fans. The song has contributions from all four of The Beatles members: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. Thanks to a familiar software used on re-releases of Beatles songs that can isolate both instruments and vocals, the song was able to be transformed.
“Now And Then” derives from a piano and vocal recording played and sung by Lennon that was recorded in the 1970s. The cassette was later passed on to the remaining Beatles by Yoko Ono in 1994, which was 14 years after Lennon had passed away.
Harrison, Starr and McCartney worked on the song in 1995 but never ended up finishing it until 2022. Although Harrison passed away before “Now And Then” was released, just like Lennon, anyone can hear that all the band members’ musical talent and spirits are present in the song. In order to get the correct sound, Harrison’s guitar tracks were taken from 1995 and implemented into the song.
Along with this, McCartney wrote a second verse to the song and AI technology allowed Lennon’s vocals to come through on that second verse.
Beginning with a familiar countdown by McCartney, the song starts off with a strong guitar melody accompanied by keys. Lennon’s pining vocals join in, singing to a distant love, platonic or romantic, I’m not too sure.
At around the minute mark, drums and electric guitar sound in, bringing life to the song through instrumentals. McCartney joins in with Lennon, singing the classic harmonies featured in the countless songs they’ve released. It has the definitive sound many of The Beatles songs share. As McCartney and Lennon sing the choruses, Harrison sings “Ah / Ah / Ooh” giving a solid, psychedelic impression in the background. The song transitions at its peak and takes a turn with a powerful instrumental break containing orchestral strings.
Although the lyrics are simple, they hold together the song with great importance. Something about hearing the group singing, “Now and then / I miss you / Oh, now and then / I want you to be there for me / Always to return to me,” brings a hope that they are singing to each other. The idea that McCartney and Starr are singing these words to their past bandmates — reminiscent of the life they all lived together — is so special for both the fans and the band.
“Now And Then” remains true to its melody all throughout, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Quietly, at the end of the song, you can hear Ringo Starr saying “Good one,” a perfect close to the masterpiece with words from McCartney at the beginning and Starr at the end.
Getting to hear a brand new Beatles song with the rest of the world is something I never thought I’d experience. With 45 years in the making of “Now And Then,” it’s pretty special to live in a time where recordings from decades ago can be transformed into songs through technology.