Following the release of a 13-minute documentary, the 'final Beatles song' will be released on 2 November to the joy of millions of fans across the world.
Thursday marks the day that Liverpudlian rock group The Beatles release their final song titled ‘Now and Then’. The song not only marks an end to a band that ended over 50 years ago but to the cultural canon that the group has given the world.
The song itself is the rework of a rework in some ways. An old John Lennon piano demo, and then a 90’s reunion project with George Harrison on guitar and now in 2023 the final touches are made with the remaining two 80+ year old Beatles, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr.
In a documentary released on the band's YouTube channel on Wednesday the song's parts can be heard, including string arrangements by Giles Martin, son of original producer George Martin, lead guitar and John Lennon’s isolated vocals. Giving an emotional send-off to a band that changed my and so many others' lives.
New product means a familiar feeling for fans
I was 14 in December 2009, lurking at the door of the spare room of our house where my parents had ‘hidden’ the presents for Christmas that year. After playing The Beatles Rock Band video game, I was hooked, and can still remember the rush of happiness from banging the drumsticks on a plastic Nintendo Wii drum pad to 'Octopus’s Garden'. There was only one item on my Christmas list after that.
Instead of waiting for the 25th, I unhinged the massive cardboard container, careful not to crease the cello tape around the edges and when no one was home played the game and put it away again. My parents were stunned, and not only because I posed with the box and uploaded the photo evidence to my Facebook, but because it was something I had never done before.
Like any teen obsessive, be it Nirvana, BTS or Mumford & Sons, the click in one's brain chemistry is altered irreparably for the better.
Much like when the rock band game came out, the release of Now and Then, and the remastering of famous compilation albums Red and Blue, the fans of the band will relisten and perhaps relearn the feelings that they had when they first listened to these songs. No doubt passing on, whether deliberate or not, the music to a new generation growing up.
An event of great emotional resonance
Across social media fans have been jubilant over the release of the new single, both those who lived through the 60’s when the groups were together originally and those who will be experiencing a Beatles release for the first time in their lives. One fan on X, formerly known as Twitter commented, “I'm a Beatlemaniac and it's going to be my first time experiencing the release of a Liverpool 4 single.”
“I think all Beatles fans and maniacs are excited and thrilled to be "children" today,” said another Japanese fan about the new song, “It's like the day before an elementary school field trip!”
Aside from the singles released in the late 90’s reunion around the time of my birth, this is the first Beatles release I am fully aware of. I have seen the remastering of the entire musical catalogue, super deluxe 60th-anniversary releases, Peter Jackson’s recent mini-series and much more, but this is the first new song in my, and many other young fans' lifetimes.
And in the end…
The mop-top teenager of the 2010s, whose personality revolved around a band that had long broken up decades prior, is happy to write this piece and give my homage to the band that shook me out of adolescent ambivalence.
To be talking about a new Beatles song in 2023, along with the new Rolling Stones album released just a few weeks ago, is an uncanny valley in cultural terms, almost like seeing Frank Sinatra work an iPad.
Yet, it is an incredible testament to AI's technological advantages, and the lasting impact of one of the most celebrated bands in music history, that we have this song. A takeaway for fans young and old is that no chapter is ever fully closed on the things and people you love - whether its the music of your past or the other loves we all carry with us, always.