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Behind the scenes of The Beatles’ last song: ’Now and Then’

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The Beatles have imprinted the music industry for many, many years. As a matter of fact, most would describe the four-piece rock band to be “the most influential band of all time.” From their first album titled “Please Please Me” (1963), to their last studio album, “Abbey Road”(1969), the band’s music has been cherished by people all over the world. Even after the release of “Abbey Road,” The Beatles went on to complete the album “Let It be” that was eventually released in 1970. 

After The Beatles split in 1974, fans from across the planet were devastated to hear that they may never hear new music by their favorite band as a whole again. While each member went on to create their own music, it was seemingly so that The Beatles were no more. Little did they know that this would not be the end of the iconic band.

On September 2, 2023, a song titled “Now and Then” was released and credited to The Beatles. Needless to say, the band’s fanbase has gone absolutely wild at this news. The song has been pinned as “the last Beatles song” and appears on a double A-side single, paired with a new stereo remix of the band’s first single “Love Me Do” (1963). The two songs serve as “bookends” to The Beatles’ revolutionary history. 

Alongside many others, you may be wondering how it is possible for The Beatles to release new music after two of the four members have passed away and they have been split for decades. The song has actually been in production since 1995, but it was originally written by John Lennon in the 1970s. According to the Disney+ documentary, “Now and Then – The Last Beatles Song,” Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were interested in creating new music together, but they did not feel right in excluding John Lennon. Following their wish to fulfill new music with Lennon, they decided to reach out to Yoko Ono, Lennon’s former wife, who granted them with tapes of Lennon’s old demos. Originally, McCartney, Harrison and Starr were able to come up with a sound for Lennon’s demo “Now and Then,” while still using Lennon’s lyrics, vocals and melody. After the realization that the song’s music completely overshadowed Lennon’s voice, along with the loss of George Harrison in 2001, the band periodically gave up on the song.

It was not until 2022 that McCartney and Starr decided to continue their decades-long project. With the help of producer Peter Jackson and his technology, the track was able to be manipulated much more easily, thus being able to enhance Lennon’s voice. While Harrison’s guitar solo was kept as a tribute to him, McCartney and Starr were able to recreate their contributions, McCartney on Bass and Starr on drums. Additionally, they decided to reach out to Capitol Records for a personalized string arrangement for a more “Beatle-y feel,” according to McCartney. After every part was added together and the mixing had been finalized, the record was finally finished. 

This entire process truly is very touching. It goes way beyond the idea of wanting to have one final record, rather keeping The Beatles’ legacy alive and thriving while paying tribute to the members who have since passed on. It is apparent that the relationship between McCartney, Lennon, Harrison and Starr was absolutely irreplaceable and The Beatles reign will live on for decades to come.

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About the Contributor
Ruthie Light, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Ruthie Light is a 12th grade student who is returning as a third-year reporter for the Beaver Tales newspaper. Besides being a member of the newspaper staff, Ruthie Light is also involved in the yearbook committee, student council, honors choir, and drama club. When she is not busy with her various extracurricular activities, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, listening to music, and watching movies.