Meghan Boucher ‘27 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The last thing audience’s expected from the music industry in 2023 was a new Beatles song. And yet, with the release of “Now and Then,” a whole new generation now knows what it feels like to experience the release of a new masterpiece by one of the world’s most iconic bands.
“Now and Then” is a labor of love that spans decades. It originated as a demo John Lennon recorded in the 1970s, which Yoko Ono gave to the remaining Beatles after Lennon’s death. However, with muffled vocals and a quiet piano it was seemingly impossible to finish the song.
That was until 2022 when the AI restorative technology, used by Peter Jackson in his documentary “The Beatles: Get Back,” was able to isolate Lennon’s voice. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr then perfected the track by adding in guitar parts from the late George Harrison, and their own vocals, bass, and drums.
The result is a collaboration of friendship and musicianship. The words written by Lennon gain new meaning as they’re sung by his former bandmates, now almost in their 80s: “Now and then/I miss you/Oh, now and then/I want you to be there for me/Always to return to me.” It is the hindsight of the present that makes these lyrics so impactful. The song is simple at its worst, and a nostalgic homage between friends at its best. To hear McCartney sing “I miss you” alongside Lennon, with Starr and Harrison playing along in the background, packs an emotional punch. It blossoms from simple to heartbreaking as a thread of nostalgia and what could have been runs through the four-minute song.
“Now and Then” is the last time all four Beatles will create something together. While it may not reach the same caliber as some other Beatles classics, like “Let it Be” or “Strawberry Fields Forever,” it is culturally resonant in a way that makes it profoundly emotional to listen to. It’s simple and that’s okay. It does not have to live up to their greatest hits. What it does have to do is give a sense of closure to the surviving members and to the fans. And it did just that. The last lines of the song are a testament to this: “And, if I make it through/It’s all because of you.”
What “Now and Then” does for their original fans and a whole new generation of Beatle-lovers is show that the influence of this band will make it through. They are relevant now. They were relevant then. And it’s all because of the sheer talent of the band and the amount of love poured into the legacy of the Beatles across decades.