‘Now and Then’: The valuable retirement lesson to learn from the Beatles’ return
On 11 June 1969, the Beatles reached the number one spot on the UK charts with the song ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’. The hit marked the band’s 17th number one, and it stayed at the top of the chart for three weeks.
Yet, little did the band know that this would be their final number one for more than half a century. The Fab Four formally split in 1970 and probably wouldn’t have expected to see any more of their music reach the top spot again.
That all changed on 10 November 2023 when the group’s latest release, ‘Now and Then’, became their 18th hit to grab the coveted top position.
This achievement draws them level with Elvis Presley to have the most different songs to reach number one – although the “King of Rock and Roll” technically has 21 number ones, with three of his tracks reaching the top spot again after having done so when they were initially released.
Achieving a UK number one single after a 54-year hiatus from the top of the charts – a record in itself – is remarkable. But the story of the song’s creation is perhaps even more impressive.
Crucially, this story contains a valuable lesson about retirement planning that could help you to make the most of your wealth for the future.
Read on to find out more about the journey of the Beatles’ latest number one, and what it could teach you about planning for retirement.
It’s taken half a century to get ‘Now and Then’ to where it is today
The story behind the release and success of ‘Now and Then’ is one of those fantastic tales that helps the song live and breathe beyond the music itself.
John Lennon originally wrote and recorded the track at home in the late 70s. But of course, Lennon was tragically shot and killed in 1980, meaning the song was never finished.
In 1994, Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, passed two cassette tapes to Sir Paul McCartney with four songs that Lennon had never completed.
Alongside George Harrison and Ringo Starr, the three surviving Beatles attempted to finish Lennon’s work. This saw the trio complete and release two of the four songs, ‘Free as a Bird’ and ‘Real Love’. One of the others, ‘Grow Old with Me’, had already been released on the posthumous album, Milk and Honey.
The other song was ‘Now and Then’, which the group worked on in 1995. They reportedly spent an afternoon tinkering with Lennon’s final song, with Harrison recording new guitar lines to go with it.
However, after trying to make it work, the three reached a consensus that it wasn’t possible. It was too difficult to separate Lennon’s voice from the piano line, which was over-prominent and drowned out the rest of the instrumentation. There was also a hum from the old recording system Lennon had used running over it.
There were hints throughout the early 2000s and 2010s that the song might one day be finished. And, by 2021, technology developed by director Peter Jackson for his documentary film, Get Back, had finally advanced enough to isolate Lennon’s vocals from the piano.
So, with a team of producers in tow, McCartney and Starr finally completed the song – Harrison also sadly passed away in 2001.
That’s what led to this year’s release of the completed ‘Now and Then’. It features all four of the Beatles on the track on their original instruments, some brand-new string instrumentation, and original vocal recordings from some of the band’s biggest hits, including ‘Here, There, and Everywhere’, ‘Eleanor Rigby’, and ‘Because’.
Now, with both Lennon and Harrison no longer with us, the song’s romantic lyrics take on a whole new meaning about gratitude to one another for everything they’ve achieved. It’s also accompanied by a fantastic music video, with footage of the four throughout the years.
It’s a touching tribute to the world’s most well-loved band.
Making regular contributions to your retirement plan can help you achieve the right outcome
While interesting and very moving, the story of the success of ‘Now and Then’ can also teach you a valuable lesson about long-term planning with your money: making regular contributions to something over time can ultimately help you to achieve the goal you want.
Instead of releasing the half-finished version with an over-exposed piano line and the awkward hum ringing through it, the Beatles took their time with the track, adding to it periodically until they were finally ready to release the song they wanted.
Planning for your future and retirement can benefit from this same approach. By making regular contributions to your pension, savings, and investments, you can build your pot over time so that when you arrive at retirement, you have sufficient funds to support your lifestyle.
You’ll then be able to access your pension savings from age 55, rising to 57 by 2028.
There are various benefits to this approach, as it allows you to:
- Benefit from compound returns – that is, growth on growth – when you receive interest or dividend payments on your money, helping to boost your pot further.
- Give your money more time in the markets, which can help to smooth out rises and falls in the value of your investments.
- Gently set money aside as part of a regular savings habit, rather than feeling the pinch of saving or investing a lump sum at once.
It’s crucial to contribute to your savings in this way with your goals in mind, too. That way, you can make decisions based on what you want to achieve.
This is exactly how the Beatles approached the final version of ‘Now and Then’. Knowing that it might be the very last song they release, the band aimed to make it as polished and perfect as they could, cementing their legacy as the greatest band of all time. Having reached number one with the song, you could very much argue that they have achieved that target.
By organising your wealth around your goals for the future, you can ensure that your decisions are informed and focused on your personal ambitions, no matter what these are.
You might not climb to the top spot of the UK charts with this approach, but you will certainly put yourself in good stead for living your ideal lifestyle in retirement.
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If you’d like help planning for your future, please do get in touch with us at Britannic Place.
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This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.
A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits.