What do readers think of the Beatles’ Now and Then – ‘boring and ordinary’ or ‘simply fantastic’?

‘I was transported’

Upon hearing John’s voice in the initial verses, I was transported back to December 1980. I recalled being a 16-year-old student, sitting alone in a small cafe on the outskirts of Brisbane, listening to “Starting Over” on the jukebox and grieving the loss of my musical idol. This new song has a similar vibe to tracks on the “Double Fantasy” album. “Now and Then” has a recurring dreamy quality, and Ringo’s beat is wonderfully serene, providing subtle support. It evoked a mix of emotions within me – joy, sadness, and contemplation. The power of music. Robert Lastdrager, 59, from Montmorency, Melbourne.

I was not aware of how I would emotionally respond.

I was not prepared for the emotional response I had to this song. My younger brother, who was only 27, passed away last year from a brain tumor. He was a huge fan of The Beatles and even chose their songs for his wedding and funeral. Many people were amazed by his music taste, thinking it was beyond his years. As the release date approached, I couldn’t help but wonder what he would have thought about the band using AI to complete the song, and if he would have approved of the final outcome.

As I listened to the initial lyrics and John’s sorrowful tone, I was overcome with a sense of unease. The song perfectly captures the hollowness one experiences after losing a loved one and realizing they are no longer by your side. Without having gone through this myself, I’m not sure if I would have fully appreciated the song. My brother used to hum Beatles tunes while tending to the garden, and every time I hear “Now and Then,” I can imagine him singing along. I wish he could have heard it too; I have a feeling he would have loved it. Klara, 33, from London.

“The artificial intelligence is both amazing and frightening.”

The song is not just good, it is also emotionally powerful. “Poignant closure” accurately describes it. For people like myself who have been deeply connected to Beatles music and have been positively impacted by it, the song feels like a heartfelt farewell. However, the use of AI in the music industry is both impressive and unsettling. These are the thoughts of Carlotta Fontana, a 71-year-old from Milan, Italy.

I would describe it as “pedestrian”.

A bit sad really, this song. It was probably fun in the making, but it’s no great creative wonder. Indeed, I cannot figure out why Ringo and Paul bothered. They can’t need the money, surely? Pedestrian is the adjective that comes to mind. Graham Dyson, 72, small village south of Oslo, Norway

I understand why George considered it a negative experience.

The song is quite emotional, especially after witnessing Paul’s live performance a few days ago at the age of 81. The use of John’s vocals from his thirties, enhanced with technology, creates a unique and pleasant effect. Hopefully, they will use this technology to rework the mid-1990s versions of “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love” instead of using the distant and eerie vocals from John’s home recording. However, I can understand why George felt that “Now and Then” was a bit depressing and why it remained unreleased for almost thirty years. It has a similar feel to John’s early solo works, such as “Love,” with a nostalgic and melancholic tone. John Barron from Sydney, Australia shares his thoughts.

“I was convinced by Peter Jackson’s video.”

As a self-proclaimed Beatles enthusiast, I have extensively explored every bootleg and outtake, making me very familiar with Lennon’s original demo and the various fan versions released over the years. Initially, I was taken aback and irritated by the removal of Lennon’s emotionally charged “I don’t want to lose you” bridge, which I personally considered the most poignant part of the song. However, after viewing Peter Jackson’s video, my perspective has shifted. I now understand the intention of the remaining Beatles: to capture that unique blend of happiness and sadness that is present in many of their timeless songs such as “Help,” “Penny Lane,” “Nowhere Man,” and “Long and Winding Road.” By removing the bridging section, the song transforms from a melancholic love ballad to an uplifting pop single that transitions from wistful verses to a triumphant chorus. The video enhances the impact of the song, encapsulating the essence of the Beatles and their enduring significance. It evokes nostalgia for a bygone era while also serving as a farewell statement – although it may be in the past, it will always be fabulous. Martin Pulman, a resident of Kingsbury in London, shares this sentiment.

I have a strong affection for it.

I have been a supporter of the Beatles since I was 12 years old. After seeing the Anthology documentary (and the moment when the works on “Now and Then” were abandoned), I had high hopes for the song, but I couldn’t predict how emotional it would be. I could sense the dedication put into preparing this song. It made me envision John sitting at the piano, sharing his new song with Paul, Ringo, and George as they all gathered around him and joined in. I cherish it immensely. Carolina Goloni, age 40, from the Netherlands.


This song is uninteresting and unoriginal. Referring to it as a “Beatles song” is a bit of a stretch, as it is a compilation of recordings from former band members over many years. It raises the question, would this track have received any attention if not for its connection to the Beatles? While it is not technically bad, listening to it only brings one word to mind – dull. Sarah, 42, USA.

‘I’m torn’

I am conflicted about this being the last Beatles song. The lyrics are very meaningful and seem to call for a minor key, but I don’t want to view their story in that light. However, its sadness resonates with how many fans perceived the band’s end and serves as a reminder for all of us to mend important relationships before it’s too late. This evokes strong emotions for me, making me appreciate the song. Kimberly Blessing, 48, from Glasgow.

The tune is absolutely fantastic.

During the lockdown period, I developed a strong admiration for the Beatles. Their music and story are truly captivating. Their latest song is fantastic! I couldn’t help but shed a few tears as I listened to Paul’s aged voice harmonizing with John’s youthful voice from their late 30s. The addition of strings gave it a classic Beatles sound. Paul’s slide guitar tribute to George was also very emotional. Although I wish they had included the “I don’t wanna lose you” part of the song, it may have made it too long. While some may argue that it doesn’t live up to their earlier work or even “Free As a Bird,” not every song needs to be a chart-topper. What matters more is the meaning behind the song. To quote Paul from the White Album, “It’s amazing, it’s the Beatles! Stop complaining!” – Joe McCafferty, 18, from Letterkenny, Ireland.

‘A suitable ending’

This is a fitting conclusion, and its release alongside a new version of Love Me Do demonstrates the growth and evolution of the Beatles while still staying true to the formula that made them successful. Ringo’s drums take center stage as the steady rhythm that the rest of the band plays against. It serves as the ideal ending to the Beatles’ studio recordings. This piece encapsulates themes of loss and mortality in contrast to the perceived immortality of art. Steve Block, age 51 from Walton-on-Thames, shares this sentiment.

Source: theguardian.com

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