HEARD the old, old men say,
And one by one we drop away.”
They had hands like claws, and their knees
Were twisted like the old thorn-trees
By the waters.
“All that’s beautiful drifts away
Like the waters.”
William Butler Yeats
The Beatles have a new single coming out.
At one time in those same days of this our life, as the Anglo Saxons used to say, nothing was more important than these eight words.According to sources, this will be a “last great song.”
Like “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love,” the “new Beatles songs” from The Beatles’ Anthology series in 1994, the song is a construct based on a leftover demo by John Lennon.
Supposedly this one, according to friends of Paul McCartney, will be that “last great one” that Sir Paul has been waiting for. Through the magic of digital technology, guitar tracks from George Harrison will be merged onto the track. Paul will sing, and Ringo will drum.
Beatle music, right?
For all their sentimental charm, neither “Free as a Bird” nor “Real Love” felt like “Beatles songs.” They were put up jobs.
This feels like one of those moments such as when one hears of a new poem by Shelley or a new dance piece by Mozart being discovered. The new piece gets lots of media coverage and a grand premiere in a major venue, but has no effect on the reputation or legacy of the artist.
I suspect the same will turn out to be true of “Now and Then,” this new Beatles song.
So I’m not expecting the impact of “A Hard Day’s Night” or “Eleanor Rigby” or “Revolution.”
But a new Beatles single is coming out.