The Meaning Behind Now and Then by The Beatles
Now and Then
John Lennon left behind a musical legacy that is rich with introspective and socially conscious messages. A good example of a song with a loose end is “Now and Then“.
John Lennon had written the song in the 1970s and eventually recorded it on a cassette recorder in 1979, in very poor quality. The tape could not be used. Even George Harrison called it rubbish.
Long ago after John Lennon’s Death – in November 2023 – the song was remastered with the help of artificial intelligence and published by Paul McCartney. The producer was Giles Martin, who is the son of legendary Beatles producer George Martin. He remastered Lennon’s voice, and Ringo Starr got into the studio next to Paul McCartney in 2022. The guitar part was recorded before the death of George Harrison in 1995.
The song’s melancholy desire reflects Lennon’s contemplative character and his complicated relationship with time (both past and future), a recurring topic in his later works. The term “Now and Then” alludes to a conversation between the past, the present, and even the future.
Listeners to “Now and Then” are taken to the intimate surroundings of Lennon’s home recording sessions, where his raw vocals coupled with a simple piano melody generate a sense of both nostalgia and immediacy. Lyrical snatches suggest an individual who is searching for meaning across the full spectrum of his life.
“Now and Then” continues the unadulterated sincerity of John Lennon’s post-Beatles output. Its incompleteness adds to its sincerity and serves as a metaphor for the unfinished talks, relationships, and self-discoveries that we all carry with us.
Lennon penned the song in the midst of a time of great upheaval and change in both his own life and the globe at large. His return to New York and his mending of fences with Yoko Ono after what he called a “lost weekend” in Los Angeles marked the beginning of a period of inner growth and healing for him. The social context of the late 1970s, with its political turmoil and cultural shifts, adds a layer of collective nostalgia for simpler times to the song’s reflective desire.
Its inclusion in Lennon’s record is a testament to the lasting fascination with his music and life. Fans are given an unusual look into Lennon’s creative process through this song, a sonic picture of a legend at work, unrefined and unguarded.
It connects his life with ours, a reminder that the best art isn’t always in the end product but in the process and promise behind it.
Our lives are full with what-ifs and could-have-beens, and “Now and Then” forces us to reflect on these shards of experience. Allowing the future to rewrite our tale, it promotes communication with our former selves and peace with the present.
A disturbing reminder that some voices, even in their stillness, continue to reverberate across time and space, pushing us to contemplate, dream, and wonder, “Now and Then” remains an enigmatical component of John Lennon’s eternal legacy.