- 26 Oct 23
The story of ’Now And Then’ began in the late 1970s, when John Lennon recorded a demo with vocals and piano at his home in New York’s Dakota Building.
Almost 60 years since their only ever live show in Ireland - The Beatles have announced the release of the last ever Fab Four track ‘Now and Then’.
‘Now And Then’ will be released worldwide at 2pm GMT on Thursday 2 November by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe.
The double A-side single pairs the last Beatles song with the first: the band’s 1962 debut UK single, ‘Love Me Do,’ a truly fitting full-circle counterpart to ‘Now And Then.’
Both songs are mixed in stereo and Dolby Atmos, and the release features original cover art by renowned artist Ed Ruscha.
The new music video for ‘Now And Then’ will debut on Friday, 3 November. More details including global premiere plans will be announced.
A 12-minute Now And Then - The Last Beatles Song film, written and directed by Oliver Murray, will premiere on 1 November. The film’s global online premiere will be hosted on The Beatles’ YouTube channel at 7:30pm GMT.
The poignant short film will tell the story behind the last Beatles song, with exclusive footage and commentary from Paul, Ringo, George, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson. The trailer is available to watch now.
The story of ’Now And Then’ began in the late 1970s, when John recorded a demo with vocals and piano at his home in New York’s Dakota Building.
In 1994, Yoko Ono Lennon, gave the recording to Paul, George and Ringo, along with John’s demos for ‘Free As A Bird’ and ‘Real Love’, which were both completed as new Beatles songs and respectively released as singles as part of The Beatles Anthology project.
At the same time, Paul, George and Ringo also recorded new parts and completed a rough mix for ‘Now And Then’ with Jeff Lynne. At that point, technological limitations prevented John’s vocals and piano from being separated to achieve the clear, unclouded mix needed to finish the song.
‘Now And Then’ was shelved, with a hope that one day it would be revisited.
In 2021, to the release of The Beatles: Get Back docuseries, directed by Peter Jackson. Using WingNut Films’ MAL audio technology, Jackson’s team had de-mixed the film’s mono soundtrack, managing to isolate instruments and vocals, and all the individual voices within The Beatles conversations.
This achievement opened the way to 2022’s new mix of Revolver, sourced directly from the four-track master tapes.
Peter Jackson and his sound team, led by Emile de la Rey, applied the same technique to John’s original home recording of ‘Now and Then’, preserving the clarity and integrity of his original vocal performance by separating it from the piano.
In 2022, Paul and Ringo set about completing the song. Besides John’s vocal, ‘Now And Then’ includes electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995 by George, Ringo’s new drum part, and bass, guitar and piano from Paul, which matches John’s original playing.
Paul added a slide guitar solo inspired by George; he and Ringo also contributed backing vocals to the chorus.
The finished track was produced by Paul and Giles, and mixed by Spike Stent.
“There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear. It’s quite emotional. And we all play on it, it’s genuine Beatles recording,” said John’s legendary songwriting partner Paul McCartney. “In 2023 to still be working on Beatles music, and about to release a new song the public haven’t heard, I think it’s an exciting thing.”
“It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room so it was very emotional for all of us,” added Ringo. “It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.”
John Lennon’s son, Sean Ono Lennon, also weighed with his thoughts -“It was incredibly touching to hear them working together after all the years that Dad had been gone,” he said. “ It’s the last song my dad, Paul, George and Ringo got to make together. It’s like a time capsule and all feels very meant to be.”
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