Now and Then – trailer and story
Now and Then’s eventful journey to fruition took place over five decades and is the product of conversations and collaborations between the four Beatles that go on to this day. The long mythologised John Lennon demo was first worked on in February 1995 by Paul, George and Ringo as part of The Beatles Anthology project but it remained unfinished, partly because of the impossible technological challenges involved in working with the vocal John had recorded on tape in the 1970s. For years it looked like the song could never be completed. But in 2022 there was a stroke of serendipity. A software system developed by Peter Jackson and his team, used throughout the production of the documentary series Get Back, finally opened the way for the uncoupling of John’s vocal from his piano part.
As a result, the original recording could be brought to life and worked on anew with contributions from all four Beatles. This remarkable story of musical archaeology reflects The Beatles’ endless creative curiosity and shared fascination with technology. It marks the completion of the last recording that John, Paul and George and Ringo will get to make together and celebrates the legacy of the foremost and most influential band in popular music history.
The Beatles’ double-A-side single for “Now And Then” and “Love Me Do” pairs the last Beatles song with the band’s first UK single. Powerful musical bookends to The Beatles’ recorded canon, both songs are also featured in the expanded Anniversary Editions for 1962-1966 (‘The Red Album’) and 1967-1970 (‘The Blue Album’).
“Now And Then”
“Now And Then” is the last Beatles song, written and demoed by John Lennon in the mid/late 1970s. With John’s voice now pristine in the mix, “Now And Then” features elements from the 1995 sessions including George Harrison’s guitar parts, and vocal and instrumental parts recorded by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in 2022, along with a new arrangement for strings. Produced by Paul and Giles Martin, “Now And Then” is the last song recorded by all four Beatles, a powerful and fitting finale for the band’s timeless recordings.
“Love Me Do”
The song that started it all, “Love Me Do” was The Beatles’ first UK single in 1962. For the first time, the iconic song has been de-mixed using machine aided learning and remixed in true stereo. “Love Me Do” launched The Beatles’ journey to unparalleled worldwide success and acclaim that continues to this day.
Together and apart, The Beatles have always had a talent for the unexpected. And now, 2023 brings one of the most anticipated releases of their long and endlessly eventful history. “Now And Then” is the last Beatles song – written and sung by John Lennon, developed and worked on by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and now finally finished by Paul and Ringo over four decades later.
Arriving as a double A-side with the “Now and Then” single, “Love Me Do” was restored at Abbey Road by engineer Miles Showell from two 60-year-old 7” singles at Abbey Road before it was sent to Peter Jackson’s WingNut Films to be de-mixed using MAL audio technology and finally to Giles Martin & Sam Okell to be remixed in true stereo. The labels are Apple on the “Now and Then” side and red Parlophone on the “Love Me Do”-side.
Showell half-speed mastered the single along with both “Red” and “Blue”, Giles Martin and Sam Okell completed all stereo and Atmos mixes and Abbey Road’s Oli Morgan handled the Atmos masters.
Paul says: “There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear. It’s quite emotional. And we all play on it, it’s a genuine Beatles recording. 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.”
Ringo says: “It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room, so it was very emotional for all of us. It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.”
Olivia Harrison says: “Back in 1995, after several days in the studio working on the track, George felt the technical issues with the demo were insurmountable and concluded that it was not possible to finish the track to a high enough standard. If he were here today, Dhani and I know he would have whole-heartedly joined Paul and Ringo in completing the recording of ‘Now And Then.’”
Sean Ono Lennon says: “It was incredibly touching to hear them working together after all the years that Dad had been gone. 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.”
“Now And Then” will be released worldwide at 2pm GMT / 10am EDT / 7am PDT on Thursday, November 2 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, November 3. More details including global premiere plans will be announced.
A 12-minute “Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song” documentary film, written and directed by Oliver Murray, will debut on November 1. The film’s global online premiere will be hosted on The Beatles’ YouTube channel at 7:30pm GMT / 3:30pm EDT / 12:30pm PDT. This poignant short film tells the story behind the last Beatles song, with exclusive footage and commentary from Paul, Ringo, George, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson.
“Now And Then” Credits:
Produced by Paul McCartney, Giles Martin
Additional Production: Jeff Lynne
Vocals: John Lennon, Paul McCartney
Backing Vocals: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr
Guitars: George Harrison
Guitars, Bass, Piano, Electric Harpsichord, Shaker: Paul McCartney
Drums, Tambourine, Shaker: Ringo Starr
String Arrangement: Paul McCartney, Giles Martin, Ben Foster
Mixed by Spike Stent
Engineered by Geoff Emerick, Steve Orchard, Greg McAllister, Jon Jacobs, Steve Genewick, Bruce Sugar, Keith Smith
Source Separation / MAL Courtesy of WingNut Films Productions Ltd.
Head of Machine Learning: Emile de la Rey
Project Management: Adam Sharp
Recorded at Hog Hill Studio, Capitol Studios and Roccabella West
Mastered by Miles Showell
Project Producers: Jonathan Clyde and Guy Hayden
Executive Producer: Jeff Jones