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The Beatles release their very last song

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Collegian | Charles Cohen

The last Beatles song. A powerful statement that brings mixed emotions: happy that we’re lucky enough to hear one more Beatles song yet sad that this is really the end. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have teamed up for the last time to create “Now and Then,” which features guitar and vocals from the the two late members of the band, George Harrison and John Lennon.

Many thought “Free as a Bird” in 1995 and “Real Love” in 1996 were the last Beatles songs we would ever hear.

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For “Now and Then,” the band took some of Lennon’s demo tapes and transformed them into a complete Beatles song with all four members playing on it. 

“One of the world’s most famous and influential bands has sung its swan song, a bittersweet moment that draws the curtain on an era of legendary music.”

“Now and Then” was originally supposed to be a part of the 1995 docuseries “The Beatles Anthology,” but the band couldn’t use it due to its poor quality and technical issues. They tinkered with the tune, but ultimately, they planned to scrap it. 

“On John’s demo tape, the piano was a little hard to hear, and in those days, of course, we didn’t have the technology,” McCartney said in a short film created for the new song.

During the band’s 2021 documentary series “Get Back,” which used footage and audio of the band recording their 1970 album “Let It Be,” technology was used to separate the band member’s voices and instruments. During that process, the pieces started to come together, and that technology allowed the Beatles to finish their last song.

“With the technology that Peter Jackson and his team had worked out during the ‘Get Back’ movie, he’d been able to separate off certain instruments and voices,” McCartney said.     

McCartney, Starr and members of the Lennon and Harrison families sent the demo tape to Jackson’s team in hopes they could do something with it to make the last Beatles song a reality. Using the demo tape recorded by Lennon in the late ’70s, Jackson and his team were able to use advanced technology to separate Lennon’s vocals from the piano and use artificial intelligence to fill in the cracks.

The Beatles are well known for their use of strings, so they decided to add an orchestra to the new song to fill it all in. McCartney also performed on a slide guitar to add a solo to the song — another thing the band is well known for.

McCartney called the solo a tribute to Harrison, as he mirrored his playing style. Starr and McCartney also filled in on background vocals. 

Finally, there it was: a complete and genuine Beatles song — the last the band will likely ever create. One of the world’s most famous and influential bands has sung its swan song, a bittersweet moment that draws the curtain on an era of legendary music. The band’s music will certainly live on, as they are still one of the most streamed music groups in the world over 60 years after their debut single.

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The song itself has a very distinct Beatles sound and feel to it. A somber Lennon sings out a beautiful story of love and pain. McCartney fills in the song with his famous Hofner violin bass, adding soul, as Starr lays down his perfectly simple drumming one last time for The Beatles.

Using his work from the ‘90s on the song, Harrison plays a catchy guitar with a little bit of twang to it. The strings accompanying the song bring a dramatic effect, amplifying its impact. 

Lennon sang the lyrics, “I want you to be there for me, always to return to me,” as well as, “And if I make it through, it’s all because of you,” over 40 years ago on a little demo tape he probably would have thrown into a junk drawer. Now his lyrics are topping the charts again 43 years after his death.  

Reach Tyler Weatherwax at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @twwax7272.

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About the Contributor
Tyler Weatherwax
Tyler Weatherwax, News Editor
Tyler Weatherwax is a second-year attending Colorado State University. He has lived in the state of Colorado for his entire life and grew up just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. He is currently majoring in journalism and media communication and is a news editor for The Collegian and assistant news director for KCSU. Weatherwax hopes to share some of the world with people through his reporting and experiences. His goal as a journalist is to bring information to others in the hopes that it inspires and educates them in their lives. He also tries to push himself into the unknown to cause some discomfort in his life and reporting. Weatherwax has been a DJ for 90.5 FM KCSU as well as 88.3 FM KFFR. Some things Weatherwax enjoys doing are playing bass guitar, reading, collecting records, going outside and spending time with his friends and family. Weatherwax hopes to become a journalist after he graduates and to see more of the world.

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