‘I was transported’
When I first heard John’s voice at the beginning, it took me back to December 1980. I was a 16-year-old student sitting alone in a small cafe in a suburb of Brisbane, listening to Starting Over on the juke box and grieving the loss of my favorite songwriter. The new song has a similar sound to the tracks on the Double Fantasy album. Now and Then has a dreamy quality that repeats throughout and Ringo’s beat is calming, supportive, and understated. It brought me a mix of joy, sadness, and reflection – the power of music. Robert Lastdrager, 59, from Montmorency in Melbourne, shared his thoughts.
I was unaware of the emotional impact it would have on me.
I was not expecting such an emotional reaction to this song. My younger brother died at 27 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 noted that he had the music taste of someone much older. As the release of the song approached, I couldn’t help but wonder what he would have thought about the band using AI to complete it and if he would have approved of the final product.
Upon hearing the initial lyrics and the sorrowful tone in John’s voice, I was overwhelmed with chills. The song effectively captures the hollowness one experiences after losing a loved one and having to carry on without them. Without having experienced this feeling, 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 now every time I listen to “Now and Then,” I can envision him singing along. It’s a pity that my brother never got the chance to hear it; I believe he would have approved. Klara, age 33, from London.
“The artificial intelligence is both impressive and frightening.”
“This song is not only good, but also deeply moving. It can be described as a poignant conclusion, especially for those like myself whose life has been enriched by Beatles music. However, the AI technology used in this song is both impressive and unsettling.” – Carlotta Fontana, 71, from Milan, Italy.
‘Pedestrian is the adjective that comes to mind’
This song is quite melancholy. While it may have been enjoyable to create, it lacks creative brilliance. I am unable to understand why Ringo and Paul put in the effort. Surely they do not require the financial gain? It can be described as ordinary. These comments were made by Graham Dyson, a 72-year-old resident of a small village in southern Oslo, Norway.
I understand why George thought it was a negative experience.
I was deeply moved by the performance of Paul at age 81. It was especially touching to hear John’s voice, which was enhanced and brought to life through technology. I hope they use this same technology to revisit the mixes of “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love” from the mid-1990s, instead of using the ghostly vocals from John’s home recordings. However, I can understand why George felt that “Now and Then” was a bit depressing and chose not to release it for almost 30 years. The song has a similar raw and delicate feel to John’s early solo works, such as “Love,” but with a hint of wistfulness and melancholy. This was John Barron reporting from Sydney, Australia.
I was persuaded by the video created by Peter Jackson.
As a die-hard Beatles fan, I have extensively listened to every bootleg and outtake, making me well-acquainted 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 “I don’t want to lose you” bridge, which I always saw as the most emotional and poignant part of the song. However, after watching Peter Jackson’s video, my perspective has changed. I now understand the direction that the remaining members of The Beatles were aiming for: the unique blend of happiness and sadness that is present in many of their iconic tracks such as “Help,” “Penny Lane,” “Nowhere Man,” and “The Long and Winding Road.” By omitting the bridging section, the song transforms from a heartfelt love ballad to an uplifting pop single, with wistful verses leading to a triumphant chorus. The video adds to the impact of the song, encapsulating the magic of The Beatles and why they continue to hold such significance: it evokes our longing for a bygone era while also serving as a farewell statement – though it may be gone, wasn’t it fabulous? Martin Pulman, a resident of Kingsbury in London.
I have a deep affection for it.
I became a fan of the Beatles when I was 12 years old. When I watched the Anthology documentary and learned about the unfinished song “Now and Then,” I had high expectations and was feeling nervous, but I couldn’t have predicted the strong emotional impact it would have on me. The passion put into completing this song was evident and it made me envision John sitting at the piano, sharing his new song with Paul, Ringo, and George, as they all joined in. I adore this song. Carolina Goloni, 40, from the Netherlands.
The song is uninteresting and lacks originality. Referring to it as a “Beatles song” is a bit of a stretch since it is a compilation of recordings from former band members over many years. This raises the question, would this track have received any attention if not for its connection to the Beatles? It’s not necessarily bad, but while listening, the only word that comes to mind is “boring.” Sarah, 42, USA.
I am conflicted about this being the last Beatles song. The lyrics are powerful and seem to call for a minor key, but I do not want to view their story in a negative light. However, the song’s sadness resonates with how many fans perceived the band’s ending and serves as a reminder for all of us to mend important relationships before it’s too late. This emotional impact makes me appreciate the song. Kimberly Blessing, 48, from Glasgow.
“The song is fantastic.”
During lockdown, I developed a strong admiration for the Beatles. Their music and story are incredibly captivating. The song is fantastic and listening to Paul’s mature voice alongside John’s youthful late-30s voice brought tears to my eyes. The use of strings in the song gave it an authentic Beatles vibe. Paul’s tribute to George with his slide guitar was also very emotional. Although I wish they had included the “I don’t wanna lose you” section, it would have made the song too lengthy. While it may not be as impressive as their earlier work or even “Free As a Bird,” not every song needs to be a chart-topper. What matters most is the meaning behind the song. As Paul famously said on the White Album, “It’s amazing, it’s the Beatles! Enough said!” – Joe McCafferty, 18, Letterkenny, Ireland
‘A suitable ending’
This ending is highly fitting and its release alongside a new version of Love Me Do demonstrates the band’s growth while still staying true to the formula that initially brought them success. Ringo’s drums take center stage as the constant beat against which the rest of the composition is built. It serves as a flawless conclusion to the Beatles’ studio recordings, capturing themes of loss and mortality in contrast to the seemingly eternal nature of art. Steve Block, 51, from Walton-on-Thames, captures this sentiment.