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Now And Then

The last Beatles song is released after forty-five years.
Now+And+Then

Now and then and over the years, people have hummed along to what is possibly the greatest band of all time, The Beatles. For a decade, The Beatles dominated the music industry and are still prevalent in today’s world with over twenty six million monthly listeners on Spotify. Nicknamed the “fab four”, the musicians John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr created some of the most amazing pieces of music the world has ever seen. The famed “Fab Four” were revolutionary for their time and made music that would change music for the better. I would say that like Beethoven and Mozart, they will go down as geniuses of their time.

I like to consider the Beatles as artists who compare to Michelangelo and Leonardo Davinci, specifically because of the band’s emotional intelligence. The Beatles showed this intelligence with songs about love, regret, sadness, loss, happiness.

Love

Romantic love truly is a feeling like no other. It’s a hard feeling to describe and convey to others, but The Beatles truly had a special gift to illustrate with their words. Almost every member of the band was able to make a master piece off of this feeling.

Paul McCartney wrote “Here There and Everywhere” which is in my opinion one of his best love songs. The song truly shows how people can feel about their significant others, with lyrics like, I want here everywhere/ And if she beside me I know I need never care/But to love her is to need her, to show how when people are in love, they want their partner everywhere.

John Lennon’s “In My Life” is the best example of a simple song that can become a favorite. The song has a simple guitar riff and steady tempo. But the lyrics illustrate how a first love makes us feel something new. He writes, When I think of love as something new/Tho’ I know I’ll never lose affection/For people and things that went before/I know I’ll often stop and think about them/In my life I love you more.

For me, the greatest love song The Beatles ever made is “Something” written by George Harrison. The song talks about initial attraction with lyrics like Something in the way she moves/Attracts me like no other lover. Whether it is a first or last love, there is something about that person that makes people fall in love. The song also shows how a person can look forward to marriage with George writing I don’t want to leave her now/You know I believe and how.

 Sadness

Apart from love, The Beatles also showed an understanding of sadness as some of their songs have a deeper message.

One of their most famous songs, “A Day in the Life”, acts as a reflection of how humans view their lives and what goes on around them. The world maybe sad around us yet we can’t help but laugh, shows how we are in our own worlds and have lost some empathy, a message that people can still resonate with in society today.

With love can also come heartbreak, and Paul McCartney shows this in “For No One”. It explains how feelings can change with the lyrics she says that long ago she knew someone/But he’s gone. The song also illustrates the difference between the person who ended the relationship and the person who got broken up with. The person who broke up says, And in her eyes, you see nothing/no sign of love behind the tears. While the person got broken up with thinks that they still need to fight for the relationship showcased by, You want her, you need her/And yet you don’t believe her/When she says her love is dead/you think she needs you. These varying perspectives are something everyone can relate to. 

We have all done something we regret and wish to go back on. The Beatles showed great understanding of this with their song “Yesterday”. The song seems to be written from the perspective of a man who made a mistake with his significant other. The lyrics, Why she had to go/I don’t know, she wouldn’t say/I said something wrong/Now I long for yesterday” proved this. It shows how humans feel after a mistake thinking that their problems were so far away, but now that they are here, we feel like half the [person we used to be].

Peace

There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

The Beatles capture this in their notable song “Here Comes the Sun” written by George Harrison. The song has simple lyrics with a straight forward message: “It’s alright”. With that, this song became a favorite among fans and can still be heard everywhere today.

A song that also brought people peace was “Let It Be” written by Paul McCartney. While not necessarily super upbeat, the song can help with the feeling of loss and stress. Paul saw his mom who had passed away in a dream during a stressful time in his life, and she told him to “let it be”. The lyrics there will be an answer, let it be lets everyone know that everything will be okay. 

Musical Masterpieces

What I admire most about The Beatles is their simple use of instruments in the background of their songs while still being able to create a fantastic piece of composition. However, this does not mean that they did not make some innovative works of art.

The song “Strawberry Fields Forever” is a very experimental song from The Beatles that reflects on John Lennon’s childhood where he would play with his friends at a place called Strawberry Fields. This song was made during their transition from being on the road to being only in the studios which obviously led to a lot of creative work to be done. The first minute of the song starts off with a softly sounding flute. Then it smoothly proceeds into a beat drop that seems to have an entire orchestra behind it. Along with Ringo’s drums intensifying, this transition is nothing short of a work of art. The lyrics that going to strawberry fields is nothing to get hung about shows how when we were kids we had nothing to worry about. The song also speaks how living is easy with eyes closed which is a reference to when we were younger, and we never wanted to sleep, but with age we want more and more sleep.

Another great use of their instruments can be shown in the song “Eleanor Rigby” which shows the sadness and loneliness of aging. Written from the perspective of a perplexed young Paul McCartney who can’t seem to understand why older people seem more lonely, the song has a sadder tone that is definitely geared toward people who have experienced loss. This is also one of the few songs that is basically done solo, Paul being the lead vocalist, with a whole unique string section behind him. The other Beatles members were only a part of some of the chorus which makes this song especially unique. Even though this song has a sadder tone, it actually has a faster tempo in some parts, than the expected slower somber tone. End to end, the song tells an immaculate story of an old Eleanor Rigby and the priest Father Mckenzie who never actually meet in the song though it feels like they missed each other at the wrong time. The song leaves Eleanor completely alone with Father Mckenzie to preach to no one at her funeral.

Personal Favorites

My two favorite songs are “While my Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Hey Jude”.

The song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” written by George Harrison is to me, nothing short of one of the best songs ever written. While the lyrics seem to convey being alone in the world, the instrumental music plays the biggest role. The piano intro by Paul sets up the song for the beautiful singing of George Harrison. Ringo’s drums set the heavy tone, and the rhyme was set by John on guitar along with Eric Clapton who came and helped.

The song “Hey Jude” is in my opinion the greatest Beatles song of all time. The song was written by Paul McCartney and is a message to John Lennon’s son Julian (Jude) who was feeling lonely without that much of a father figure in his life. The ending can bring an entire stadium together in harmony with the simplest of lyrics, “Na na na nananana, nannana, hey Jude”. Hearing an entire stadium filled with thousands of people is an otherworldly experience that only The Beatles could create. 

Now And Then          

With John Lennon’s assassination in December of 1980, the chances of the band making another song seemed impossible. However in 1994, Yoko Ono, who famously is blamed for ruining the band, actually brought the three remaining Beatles with old demo tapes of John’s voice of songs that he couldn’t finish. The three of them worked on many of his demo tapes, but they could not work on John’s song “Now and Then” because of sound quality issues. The original tape was made in John’s apartment, and while the band missed and enjoyed the sound of his voice again, the piano he played in the background had poor quality. Without the technology in 1995 to remove that sound of the piano, the band felt drained and left that song alone. 

Later on in 2001 when George Harrison died from lung cancer, the odds of a song coming out from The Beatles seemed to be stacked against them. But in 2022, screenwriter and film director Peter Jackson and his team were able to separate the different sounds and voices in songs while they worked on The Beatles documentary “Get Back”. Being able to separate John’s voice with his piano, Paul and Ringo then decided to start working on the song “Now and Then” again. Paul hopped on the base and Ringo of course played the drums. Mixing in George’s guitar parts from 1995, they now had their fourth Beatle. They even got Giles Martin, their old producer or the fifth Beatle, George Martin’s son, to help to truly solidify this as a Beatles song. 

With everyone doing their part, the Beatles finished their last song and topped the digital charts. Though, now and then, we miss this incredibly talented group, their music still lives on along with their legacy. 

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About the Contributor
Quentin Pettinato, Contributor
Quentin Pettinato is sixteen years old and a junior at Hempfield Area High School. He is a soccer varsity captain along with Junior Nathan Tonini and Sophmore Braden Crowe. He enjoys mountain biking with his Dad and takes joy in going to the movies with his friends whenever he can. Quentin plans to be a sports journalist after he graduates from Hempfield. He got into journalism after watching soccer show Ted Lasso. His favorite character, "Trent Crimm" is a respected journalist for the premier league. Quentin's motto is that "It is what it is", and whatever it is, he will report it.