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The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The Beatles’ final encore gives listeners a final song after 55 years in the shadows

Photo courtesy of Apple Music
On Nov. 2, 2023, The Beatles released “Now and Then”, a song that has been dubbed the “last Beatles song”, bringing their history to a close nearly 55 years after they split.

One of the most famous rock bands of all time has officially come to a close. On Nov. 2, 2023 The Beatles released “Now and Then,” a single that has been dubbed as “the last Beatles song,” officially bookending the band’s long history.

“Now and Then” was written and recorded as an unfinished home demo by John Lennon before his untimely death in 1980 and was later drafted as a Beatles reunion single by the three remaining Beatles following “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love” in 1995-96. However, it was ultimately shelved due to its poor recording quality. Nearly three decades later, “Now and Then” was completed by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the two surviving Beatles, utilizing the original demo by Lennon as well as overdubs and guitar tracks by George Harrison, who died in 2001.

Using artificial intelligence-backed audio restoration technology, Lennon’s voice was extracted from the demo and is featured in the final version of the song along with McCartney’s. In June 2023, McCartney clarified that “nothing has been artificially or synthetically created. It’s all real and [they] all [played] on it. [They] cleaned up some existing recordings – a process which has gone on for years.”

McCartney opens the song with a count-in of four beats, just as he did with the Beatles’ first original song “I Saw Her Standing There.” However, while their first song started with him counting to four, he only counted to two in “Now and Then,” perhaps referencing the fact that only two Beatles are still alive. The count-in is followed by the intro to the melancholic tune and Lennon’s distinctive voice.

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The song’s opening lines “I know it’s true/It’s all because of you” speaks to the importance of friendships and relationships. Amidst all the difficulties, Lennon admits that his bandmates gave him the strength to live. The lines later sung by Lennon “And if you go away/I know you’ll never stay” evoke a sense of loneliness in the listener, highlighting the innate fear of losing the connection that kept Lennon alive. The repetition of the phrase “now and then,” establishes a tone of impermanence, something that is reflected in the band’s history and is appropriate for its last song.

The song presents a real sense of nostalgia for both fans and the artists themselves, evident in the way the lyrics continuously reference the past and seem to yearn for the “good old days.” It seems as though there was a real sense of regret in Lennon’s mind when he made the demo about the course of the band’s breakup and their post-Beatles relationship. These regrets have been shared by McCartney particularly. as he worked on this project in addition to his lament that Lennon’s death prevented them from mending their history and relationships. The song is ethereal and poignant and feels as though it ties now (2023) and then (the Beatles’ glory years) together.

Following the release of the song, the Beatles dropped the official music video which was directed by Peter Jackson who is best known for directing, writing, and producing the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. The video incorporates recent videos of McCartney and Starr finishing the song, footage from the 1995 reunion with Harrison when they briefly worked on “Now and Then,” as well as both seen and never seen before footage of the Beatles in their prime. Without watching the video, it is hard to picture the beautiful tribute it presents for the Beatles that allows fans to “celebrate The Beatles’ timeless and enduring love for one another.”

It is incredible that in the year 2023, the public has the honor of listening to a newly released Beatles song nearly 55 years after their dissolution and almost 45 years after the first death of a member. Its creation shows the true power of modern technology in that two members of one of the most iconic music groups of all time were able to contribute to their last single posthumously. “Now and Then” is both nostalgic and timeless, a fitting goodbye from the Beatles that seemingly encapsulates the last words Lennon ever said to McCartney, “think about me every now and then, old friend.”

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About the Contributor
Leah Kreisler
Leah Kreisler, Sports Editor
Leah Kreisler is a junior at WCHS and the Sports Editor for the Observer. In her free time, Leah enjoys playing volleyball, going to the gym, reading and writing and spending time with her friends and family.

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