“Now and Then” and my dad

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A tape representing John Lennon's original recording of "Now and Then". Photo from thebeatles.com.

On Nov. 2 2023, still recovering from the onslaught of fire alarms that went off in Prosser the previous night, I took a nap after getting back from breakfast. I was supposed to meet with my college life coach but I was just too tired (sorry Janelle!). I woke up just after 10 a.m. to find my world had changed.

The Beatles had released their final single, “Now and Then,” with the music video soon to follow.

I listened to the song in tears. Was I crying out of sadness or joy? I’m still not sure, but I have a feeling that no other song will ever have such a strong impact on me for the rest of my life.

If you’re around me for more than five minutes, I will find a way to insert The Beatles into our conversation. I have been listening to their music since the day I was born. I know the words to almost every single one of their songs. My first concert was Paul McCartney’s in 2016. I even wrote about it in my college essay.

You see, The Beatles and their music are foundational to my relationship with my father. If his love had a shape, it would look like the soundwaves of every Beatles track. From playing The Beatles: Rock Band on our Wii to watching Thomas the Tank Engine episodes narrated by Ringo Starr, my childhood was full of the “Fab Four.”

It was really painful, then, for this new song to come out not long after I left home for the first time. I wanted my dad to be there next to me, listening, watching the music video, talking to me about what he thought. And sure, I was able to text him, but it wasn’t the same. Maybe part of the reason that I was crying was because he wasn’t there to hug me.

I knew that going to college would be hard. I’d never been away from home for longer than a week, and I’m very close with my parents and my younger brother. But I didn’t realize just how much I missed them until this song came in and reminded me that they weren’t by my side. It doesn’t help that “Now and Then” is about thinking of someone who isn’t around!

Now that the song has been out for several months, I’ve had time to reflect on its impact on me, my family and the other Beatles fans in the world. I’ve seen TikToks and tweets from other people my age talking about how incredible it is that we got to witness a new Beatles song in our lifetime. I saw others wishing that their family members who had passed had the chance to listen. All this impact from just four minutes and nine seconds of four Liverpool lads coming together one last time.

Even writing this I feel near tears. How can I tell you how much I love the Beatles? How can I tell you about the sadness, the joy, the anger that their music brings out in me?

How can I tell you how much I love my dad?

I suppose I can’t. It is a love beyond words. But if you listen to “Now and Then,” which you definitely should, perhaps you’ll get a sense.

(I did it Dad, I finally wrote the article. You can stop bothering me about it. But you can keep bothering me about the bass. In fact, never stop bothering me. I love you.)

3 COMMENTS

  1. EMZEE (my nickname for my daughter the author of this article)

    You said you were going to do a review of the new Beatles single now and then. Don’t forget Love Me Do is the flip side to the single, representing the first and last Beatles song. So it is interesting to see where your article headed.

    Interesting to see this article on the day Paul McCartneys violin bass that was stolen (over 50 years ago)has now been found and returned to Paul. (I know off topic)

    I knew I would get you and your brother interested in the Beatles. I started singing the song good night (sung by Ringo Starr on the white album), when I was trying to get you and your brother to fall asleep when you were babies. Also showing you and your brother the movies A Hard Days Night, Yellow Submarine (watching multiple times for a good week), and Help. Then with the remasters of the Beatles catalog and the Beatles rock band on our Wii game system.

    It would have been nice to have been there with you when you first heard the song. To share our thoughts(and a hug) on the song and the music video for the song Now and Then.

    Love your Dad
    Ps Learn that bass

  2. Great piece! This line is fantastic: “If his love had a shape, it would look like the soundwaves of every Beatles track.”

  3. Thank you both (Emma & Robert) for sharing! Reminded me of the powerful bond my son and I share which is not music related…but instead a love of the game of football. The ties that bind…

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