Possibly the most moving moment in Glastonbury history occurred in 2022. Paul McCartney played a recording of John Lennon performing ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’ from the film Let It Be and duetted with his late bandmate’s voice, obtained from the director’s original tapes. get back, Peter Jackson. “I know it’s virtual, but look,” McCartney exclaimed as the audience cried. “It’s John. “We are together again.”
Now the same cutting-edge technology has been applied to the fuzzy demo of the Beatles’ latest song, ‘Now and Then’. It is one of four tracks that Lennon recorded at his home in 1977, and Yoko Ono gave it to the other members of the band in 1994 to complete their retrospective project. Anthology. However, they rejected it as a possible third single after spending two days tinkering due to poor sound quality. What was George Harrison’s verdict? “It’s rubbish.”
If only Harrison could hear her now. Featuring McCartney’s count on his austere piano and Harrison’s 1995 acoustic accompaniment, the soft, mid-paced psychedelic ballad has a majestic, reflective tone. John is present, radiant and incredibly alive.
After Lennon sounded so dull and buried in the singles of Anthology, ‘Free as a Bird’ and ‘Real Love’, the emotional resurrection present in this tune is treated with the respect and reverence it deserves.
McCartney gives space and prominence to Lennon’s voice and mixes his own voice, carefully, to achieve that wonderful brotherly harmony that we thought we would never hear again.
The lyrics, although sounding like a typical Lennon love song until greater inspiration, resonate now 40 years after his departure.
“Every once in a while I miss you,” the duo sings, as if they were sharing the microphone again. “Every once in a while I want you to be there for me, to always come back to me.” Subtle ostinatos with Harrison’s guitar and a new solo with slide of McCartney, which honors his experience as an artist, resonate throughout the song. The sounds then rise to a chorus that captures the band’s singing at its psychedelic best.
The assembly carried out by McCartney and his co-producer, Giles Martin, is intelligent and almost imperceptible. The reuse of vocals from ‘Here, There and Everywhere’, ‘Because’ and ‘Eleanor Rigby’ reconstruct the Beatles’ choral harmony, while the lush string arrangement (which McCartney often rejected when Phil Spector used it extensively on Let it Be) hides any imperfections.
“It’s good,” Ringo Starr murmurs at the close of those four historic minutes, and the world’s greatest rock’n’roll canon is completed with a typical and shameless measure of Balkan intrigue.
It would be a serious mistake to compare a reconstruction crafted from an invariable model with the pure magnificence of the greatest pop group that ever existed when they were at the top. It’s true that, without the experiments and innovations of the full band, ‘Now and Then’ is nothing like ‘A Day in the Life’, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ or ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’. But that is not the point.
The objective is to give cultural closure to the era of rock’n’roll; offer, after the disappointments of 1995, a worthy epilogue for the best band of all time (something I am willing to defend); give the new generations a small sample of the excitement that the teenage Beatlemaniacs of 1964 felt when listening to a new Beatles song; and bringing Lennon back in such a vivid way to right pop’s most tragic wrong, even just a little. Without disparaging Taylor Swift, Elton John or U2, this is the musical event of the year and one of the most moving in history. Now get back to doing ‘Real Love’ one more time.
‘Now and Then’ is now available.
Translation of Michelle Padilla