The new Beatles song, ‘Now and Then,’ is out, it’s ‘bittersweet and melancholic’

The new (and final) Beatles song “Now and Then” came out yesterday, and it will be followed by the music video today at 10am ET. Directed by Peter Jackson, the music video features never before seen footage provided by Pete Best (former Beatles drummer before Ringo Starr), Olivia Harrison (George Harrison’s widow), and Sean Ono Lennon. Yahoo Music Editor in Chief Lyndsey Parker has a lovely article with a lot of poignant commentary from Giles Martin, producer of the new track and son of the Beatles longtime manager George Martin. Whatever you feel about the song having an assist from AI to access John Lennon’s vocals, it’s quite apparent that the new song has the blessing of the Beatles family, by virtue of how many of them have pitched in to usher in this moment. I’m excerpting here what I thought was a particularly moving section from Giles Martin:

It seems McCartney had been chasing “Now and Then” since 1995, but Martin doesn’t believe its release, three decades after it was shelved and four whole decades after Lennon recorded the demo, brings any closure for either McCartney or Starr — because that was never the point. “I think they have closure anyway. I don’t think they’re paralyzed; they certainly don’t act like they are paralyzed by any sense of loss from what they’ve done. I think that’s a different thing from just missing someone you love,” Martin explains. “And I just hope that ‘Now and Then’ makes [listeners] love and miss whoever they love and miss. I think as a song it’s deeply bittersweet, and I just hope people enjoy it. It’s as simple as that.”

[From Yahoo! Entertainment]

“And I just hope that ‘Now and Then’ makes [listeners] love and miss whoever they love and miss.” Reading that quote was the first time it hit me that there is now a Beatles song that my father will never know. My father was 22 when the movie of A Hard Day’s Night came out, and one of his favorite stories to tell was about seeing it in a packed theater in the height of Beatlemania. He said he heard the first iconic chord of the title song, and then nothing else — the audience screamed for the entire film. Twenty years later my father was at a record store in the Bay Area. He saw a kid pull out a Beatles LP, turn to his friend and say “Hey look, Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings!”

Giles Martin describes the song as bittersweet and melancholic, and I felt those qualities in both the lyrics and the plaintive, yearning music. The simple dichotomy of considering what exists now versus what existed then, really lets you fill in the blank. It also feels quite prescient coming out of the upheaval of the pandemic, a time that starkly established a now and then, a before and after, and that left everyone with a person to love and miss. It may be cliche, but I’m gonna leave the last words to the Fab Four: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

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