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The Beatles return for one more masterpiece with new song ‘Now And Then’

It's the brilliant final statement the Fab Four — and their fans — deserve

By Rob Sheffield

The Beatles at Abbey Road (Picture: MPL)

The Beatles have released their new single, the long-awaited ‘Now and Then’. It’s an emotionally powerful song written by John Lennon as a home demo in the 1970s. But it’s also a true Beatles collaboration, with Paul McCartneyGeorge Harrison, and Ringo Starr playing and singing together. Nothing like ‘Now and Then’ has ever happened before. It’s a totally unique music story: John Lennon leaves a song unfinished, but years later, his friends come together to complete it for him, simply out of love and musical brotherhood. It’s the final masterpiece that the Beatles—and their fans—deserve.

This song is a dream that Paul McCartney spent years bringing into the world, a John demo he was determined to preserve even when nobody else could tell what he heard in it. He produced “Now and Then” with Giles Martin, with John’s original 1977 piano and vocal, George’s guitar from the 1995 Anthology sessions, and Ringo singing and drumming in 2022.

“Now and Then” could have been cheap or cloying or overblown, but instead, it’s a pained, intimate adult confession. You can hear why Paul never forgot this song over the years, and why he couldn’t let it go. You can also hear why he knew this needed to be a Beatles song, and how right he was to pursue his mad quest to the end. In other words, it’s a real Beatles song, adding one more classic to the world’s greatest musical love story.

‘Now and Then’ drops on Thursday, Nov. 2, at 2 pm GMT / 10 am ET / 7 am PT. The physical release drops on Friday, in vinyl on 7-inch and 12-inch, with both black and colored vinyl. There’s also a limited-edition cassette single. It’s a double A-side with “Love Me Do,” their first single from 1962, bringing the whole story full circle. Peter Jackson’s excellent video (oh, that final scene) also premieres on Friday. “Now and Then” will complete the new expanded version of the legendary Red and Blue Albums, out on Nov. 10.

From Rolling Stone.