Somehow, some way, the long and winding road has led us to a brand new Beatles song — 61 years after the Fab Four made their “Love Me Do” recording debut in 1962.
“Now and Then” arrives like a gift from that glorious Abbey Road in the sky on Thursday — despite the fact that John Lennon and George Harrison died in 1980 and 2001, respectively, leaving surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to finish the long-buried track on the right side of the dirt.
And if you think that it’s the result of some magical mystery trickery of AI defiling the sacred ground that is the Beatles back catalog, thankfully, you’d be wrong.
While “the last Beatles song” certainly benefits from advancements in technology that allowed it to finally be released — five decades after Lennon wrote and recorded the demo at his Dakota residence on New York’s Central Park West in the ’70s — “Now and Then” is a real Beatles tune that feels like it somehow got stuck in some mop-topped time warp before the “Imagine” singer was murdered in 1980.
It’s a nostalgic trip back to the Baby Boomer glory days of yesteryear. Make no mistake about it — this is a song for those of a certain age who are yearning more for “Then” than “Now.”
And let’s be honest, there are many of us — from the Baby Boomer generation and beyond — who have never been touched by a band in the same way that The Beatles did from the moment we first heard them.
For those masses across the globe, “Now and Then” is a revelation — like hearing old, dear friends who came back from the dead sounding as vital as we remembered them in our heart of hearts.
It’s a wistful ballad that takes on even more layers of longing when you think that it’s John Motherf – – king Lennon, sounding — through the miracles of the same technology that allowed director Peter Jackson to isolate vocals and instruments in the 2021 Beatles documentary “Get Out” — like he’s alive and 30-something again.
You feel that kind of chills when Lennon, as pure-voiced as ever, croons, “Now and then, I miss you/Oh now and then, I want you to be there for me.”
Same, John. Same.
But it’s not just Lennon who is a Beatle resurrected on “Now and Then.” Harrison, whose guitar parts were recorded in 1995 — after Yoko Ono had given the demo to her late husband’s surviving bandmates — is also saluted in a slide-guitar solo lovingly rendered by McCartney in the style of his fallen friend, who died from lung cancer in 2001.
In the end, “Now and Then” — which, in a nice twist, is backed by “Love Me Do” on the single release — is not a Beatles classic that will trump “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Let It Be” or “Hey Jude.” The lyrics are underdeveloped — it was a demo for a reason — and the tune is nowhere near as ambitious as the music that the Fab Four were producing in their later years. But really, who cares when those harmonies swell to the heavens?
Much like the recent Rolling Stones comeback album, “Hackney Diamonds,” it is the sweetest of send-offs for fans with absolutely no reason — or right — to expect anything more from these giants of the game than what they had already given us.
This story originally appeared on NY Post