Sean Lennon Explains John Lennon’s Lyrics In “Now and Then”
via The Warning Guardian / Youtube
Sean Ono Lennon recently appeared on X to discuss the history of John Lennon’s words in the most recent Beatles song, “Now and Then.”
On the platform, there has been ongoing discussion about who wrote the lyrics for “Now and Then,” specifically questioning whether John Lennon or Paul McCartney wrote the song for Yoko Ono. A user presented a theory from director Peter Jackson, suggesting that the song initially started as a tribute to Yoko (with evidence from ‘The Lost Weekend’) but later transformed into a reflection on the Beatles. When McCartney was asked directly if the song was about him, he believed it was about Yoko.
Upon seeing this theory, Sean responded to provide clarity:
“If you listen to my dad speak about lyrics, it’s clear he never felt any song was necessarily about one thing. Songs are not essays. Poetry is not journalism. Art is like life multilayered and elusive.”
Lennon’s Shift to Personal Songwriting
John Lennon talked about his just-released album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, in a 1971 Rolling Stone interview, saying he thought it was his most honest effort. He clarified that he began composing songs about his own experiences during the making of this album, which was a departure.
Expressing personal experiences felt more genuine to John, and he revisited some of his older tracks, selecting those he deemed authentic. Lennon revealed:
“I don’t know about anything else, really, and the few true songs I ever wrote were like ‘Help’ and ‘Strawberry Fields.’ I can’t think of them all offhand. They were the ones I always considered my best songs. They were the ones I really wrote from experience and not projecting myself into a situation and writing a nice story about it. I always found that phony, but I’d find occasion to do it because I’d be so hung up, I couldn’t even think about myself.”
John’s Perspective on Writing Lyrics
Lennon admitted in the same 1968 interview that he frequently didn’t completely understand the meaning behind the songs until much later. He compared his method to abstract painting, stressing the dangers of overanalyzing and straining over words, and he suggested that free expression led to a more organic creative process.