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The new Beatles song is here. Listen to “Now and Then” and give me your thoughts.

Back in 1978 when John Lennon sang this into a boombox while sitting at his piano at the Dakota, he couldn’t have imagined what it would be become. Cleaned up with state-of-the-art AI technology, blended with George Harrison‘s parts from an aborted session in 1995, and then touched up with new parts from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in 2023, this really is all four Beatles playing a song together. Yes, they were mostly separated by time and space and death, but the final result is every bit a Beatles song as anything they recorded in the 60s.

Now that it’s here, what do you think? Expectations were insane. The hype was over the top. Generations of Beatles fans were breathlessly awaiting its arrival. And this song will be compared to every one of the 245-ish songs The Beatles recorded in their heyday.

A couple of things I noticed:

  • Having Paul count it off at the beginning is the perfect way for it to start.
  • It’s very Beatle-ly.
  • There are some trademark John chord changes in the song. I got a “Strawberry Fields” vibe from the final few chords.
  • It definitely sounds like late-period Beatles. This would have fit on Let It Be as perhaps a counterpoint to that album’s title track.
  • I’m not gonna lie: The George Harrison slide guitar solo starting at 2:27 made me tear up a little. Simple and tasteful.
  • The harmonies that come in right at the end of the guitar solo are pure Beatles.
  • Hearing The Beatles together on a recording made with AI and Pro Tools is a different experience than hearing them on an ancient 3M 4-track tape machine, the go-to recorder at Abbey Road back in the day.
  • Do NOT dismiss the song after one listen. Give it several. It will grow on you. Trust me.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38458 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

8 thoughts on “The new Beatles song is here. Listen to “Now and Then” and give me your thoughts.

  • “Across the Universe,” “Yesterday,” “Hey Jude,” “Let It Be,” “Imagine,” timeless Beatles songs continue to captivate hearts with iconic melodies and profound lyrics.

    Reply
  • It sounds fresh. As in, up to date! Am I in a time machine? I definitely like it.

    Reply
  • The intro with Paul counting in is very classic Beatles style. Think I will listen again, it is a lot longer than all there other songs, without the repetitive catchy chorus. I with there were other hidden songs somewhere, who knows maybe there are?

    Reply
  • WHEN AI IS USED FOR GOOD INSTEAD OF EVIL:
    What word describes elation and sadness mingled together when I listen to this new Beatles song? Elation because its a new song and it feels REAL like they were all together one last time at a happy time before they were estranged.
    Sadness, as it’s the last Beatles song like that empty ear ringing when the final note of Day in the Life fades and ends.
    It’s thrilling to hear John’s voice again but sad too knowing the last song means we are all getting old. The song sounds more like a precursor to the Double Happiness era.
    George’s guitar was very George if that makes sense!

    Reply
  • So Alan, you have to eat your words about cassettes knowing your hatred for the format.

    Reply
  • I really like it. And thank the gods for hobbits!!!

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  • First listen: Hmmm…not bad. Second listen: Pretty good considering the multiple decades and long backstory. Third listen: Tears welling up at the thought of hearing a ‘new’ Beatles song in my lifetime. Love it.

    Reply

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