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Five takeaways from the Beatles’ historic “Now and Then” video

George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and John Lennon magically reunite for one more song.

Peter Howell

Movie Critic

All four Beatles are magically brought back together through the digital wizardry of their affecting “Now and Then” song collaboration and also through the filmmaking skill of Peter Jackson for the accompanying video.

Five takeaways from the newly released video for what’s being called “the Beatles’ last song”:

★ It uses a similar “Forrest Gump” montage affect of young and old Beatle images first seen in the band’s “Free as a Bird” colloboration in 1995. But the Beatles were playing with collage and montage images of themselves as early as their 1966 ”Revolver” album cover, drawn and designed by Klaus Voormann, and their 1967 “Sgt. Pepper” album cover, designed by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth;

★ Pete Best, the band’s original drummer (he was fired in 1962 and replaced by Ringo Starr the same year), contributed the most historically significant part of the 4½-minute video. It’s a few fleeting seconds of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison performing together in early ‘62, the earliest known film of them, previously unreleased. It shows the Beatles in the leather suits they favored in their pre-fame days. Pete is also in the film, although he’s hidden by his then-bandmates and his drum kit;

★ The story goes that George wasn’t impressed with “Now and Then” when he, Paul and Ringo tried to make a Beatles song out of John’s rough demo during their 1994-95 “Anthology” sessions. He called the tune “rubbish” and the band stopped working on it. But it’s clear in the footage of those sessions, much of it unreleased prior to this video, that George otherwise had a great time working with his old mates. He’s constantly smiling;

★ All the clowning around in the video may seem frivolous, but it’s very much how the Beatles got on with each other. Even when they were mad at or frustrated with each other — such as in the “Get Back/Let It Be” recording sessions — they still managed to have a lot of fun;

★ The final emotional scene where the Beatles bow to the camera was their signature stage sign-off, during their touring years that ended in 1966. 🌓


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