John, Paul, George, and Ringo have reunited for one last song, which was released on Thursday, marking the definitive end of the band’s musical career and legacy more than 50 years after they split up.
The Beatles’ song, “Now and Then,” was released simultaneously on streaming services and broadcast on BBC radio shortly after 2 p.m. at the time (10 a.m. ET). It includes George Harrison, who passed away from lung cancer in 2001, and John Lennon, who was shot and killed in 1980. Both were made possible by digital technology.
All four of the original Beatles singers are heard on the new album, with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr effectively completing what was originally an old demo tape by John Lennon. The song incorporates several elements of the group’s characteristic sound and has an emotive chorus that has the voices of McCartney and Lennon harmonizing as they say “I miss you.”
Lennon’s former colleagues used the same batch of demo tapes to create songs like “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love” during the mid-1990s. The original “Now and Then,” taped more than 40 years earlier, came from the same tape.
The last song the Beatles were collaborating on together was “Now and Then,” but McCartney claims Harrison became irritated and wrote it down as “[expletive] rubbish.”
The primary issue was the sound quality. A gloomy-sounding piano was recorded alongside Lennon’s vocals. However, in the 2020s, Lennon’s lead vocal might be extracted and clarified using the same software that Peter Jackson utilized to separate voices and instruments from mono tracks for his “Get Back” documentary series, which aired in 2021.
That therefore answers the how and why; the true, and unjust, question is whether the song even approaches the legendary status of The Beatles or their body of solo works. Naturally, it doesn’t, but even so, it’s a pleasant surprise that fulfills the remaining unresolved matter for the group.
Fans will be enthralled with the song’s opening moments: The song begins with a well-known Beatles count-in, which is followed by piano chords reminiscent of John Lennon and an acoustic guitar strumming. Then, there it is that flawless voice, singing “I know it’s true, it’s all because of you,” and an instantly recognizable Lennon tune.
However, as that extract implies, “Now and Then”‘s lyrical content is limited to generic appreciation, nostalgia, and profound wistfulness. This emotional mash-up is fitting for The Beatles in 2023, when half of the band has passed away far too young and the other half is reflecting on John Lennon’s statements from the perspective of their early 80s.
However, this is hardly a deep analysis, and even with his vocals boosted, Lennon’s performance was undoubtedly not what he would have wanted the song to sound like in the end.
The song, which features new lyrics by 81-year-old Paul McCartney and 83-year-old Ringo Starr, will be the last track to be issued by what may be the most significant and best-selling musical band of the 20th century.
The band’s lasting appeal is demonstrated by the fact that some fans are complaining on social media about the song’s seeming glitches or complete stops when they play it on Spotify.
What Criticism Have Leveled About Beatles’ Released
Now And Then has received mostly excellent reviews from critics; the Guardian gave it four stars out of five and described it as a touching homage to the band’s friendship.
Rolling Stone calls the song the great farewell the Fab Four – and their fans – deserve, while Clash calls it beatific, emotional, and “gloriously contagious”.
The majority of reviewers appear to concur that the song isn’t up to par with a classic Beatles recording. With a rating of three stars, The Telegraph said that Now And Then falls short of what one would anticipate from a classic Beatles ballad.