Social Media Reacts to the Beatles’ Final Song, 'Now and Then,' 46 Years After It Was First Written

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The Beatles released their final “new” track on Thursday, nearly 60 years after Beatlemania gripped the nation. “Now and Then” has set social media alight, with longtime Beatles fans and new converts alike wowed by the group’s classical style and astonished by the technology that—in this case—made it possible. The release will be followed by Friday’s debut of a music video directed by Peter Jackson, who helmed the marathon Beatles doc Get Back. A short documentary detailing the song’s creation will also hit YouTube on Friday.

“Now and Then” was an unfinished demo John Lennon began in 1977. He recorded vocals and a piano track on a cassette tape and quickly forgot about it. Paul McCartney, who along with Ringo Starr comprise the only living members of the original quartet, has long dreamed of finishing Lennon’s song.

The finished version uses John’s original 1977 vocals and piano, along with George Harrison’s guitar work from 1995's Anthology sessions, and a 2022 recording of Starr singing and drumming. Its final production was made possible using cutting-edge technology created for Get Back, which was able to separate Lennon’s vocals from his piano work on the original cassette.

Social media quickly hailed the song as a new classic. Many seemed to agree that, even if it didn’t hold up to the band’s best work, “Now and Then” was still a high-water mark for the Beatles.

Music journalist Rob Sheffield, writing for Rolling Stone, called the song “the final masterpiece they—and we—deserve. It's a tribute to Paul's obsessive devotion that he spent so many years bringing his friend's song into the world.”

"Was it the rocker I'd hoped it would be? No," journalist Allison Steele wrote of her initial reaction. "Was it a poignant reflection of where John was when he recorded vocals? Yes. Did it make me tear up? Absolutely. The lyrics, given what's transpired, were prescient."

Many marveled at all the time that had passed since the song was first written, or just how long the Beatles had been in their lives.

While others celebrated the group's singular talents.