I was not prepared to tear up over a single song at 9 p.m. on a Thursday night—but The Beatles “Now and Then” decided that was precisely the agenda. The song which is referred to as “The Last Beatles Song,” according to the band’s official website, was released on Nov. 2. The song has gained mass popularity, ranking No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 during its debut. Ultimately, listening to “The Last Beatles Song” was a bittersweet experience for me as a lifelong fan of the band.
My first reaction was that so many wonderful memories from my childhood all came streaming back while listening to “Now and Then.” I remember as a little girl, my older brother would set up his iPod on a speaker and let The Beatles’s discography roll for hours. I happily sang along to “Let it Be,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Octopus’s Garden” (my childhood favorite) and more. My brother, two little sisters and I even bonded over our escapades as a music entourage through the game “The Beatles: Rock Band.” And, after my brother went to college, my sisters and I would go into his bedroom and steal his old Beatles T-shirts from his closet to wear. “Now and Then” solidified itself in my heart through the past simply from my first listen.
My second thought about the song was wondering how they were able to integrate the late John Lennon and George Harrison’s voices into the audio. However, after a quick Google search, I learned that Lennon originally wrote and sang “Now and Then” in the 1970s but never finished it, according to Rolling Stone magazine. Harrison’s voice part, per Rolling Stone, was taken from 1995 recordings. Ringo Starr played drums and contributed vocals for the track, according to the band’s website. What truely “got me in the heart” is that for years Sir McCartney fostered the entire process to get his friend and bandmate’s unfinished song completed. However, I do sort of feel odd about listening to a new song partially made with recordings of deceased people. I feel as if it gets a bit into an ethical nitty gritty of fair representation of likenesses of the deceased. Nonetheless, I am certain McCartney and Starr held Lennon and Harrison’s intentions close in their mind and hearts when producing the song.
The song itself is simply beautiful. It reminds me a bit of “Something in the Way” and “The Long and Winding Road” with its melancholy flow and harmonious backup vocals. I think the sad but peaceful vibe for the song was the perfect choice for “The Last Beatles Song” as an ode to the two late band members and two aging others.
And, although my brother, sisters and I have always bickered (as siblings often do), The Beatles are one thing that has always united us. And, I think the same could be said about the world of music. Even those who are not huge fans of the band can admit the somber song was the closure many of us in the music community craved. Ultimately, “Now and Then” sparked a deep emotional reaction from me. It contains a beautiful melody and a peaceful tone. Most of all, “Now and Then” is a profound monument to the solidarity of four band members exemplified in life and in death.