The Beatles have released a brand new track ‘Now and Then’ from all four members, billed as “the last Beatles song,” along with an accompanying music video and a short film giving viewers a look into how the song was created.
John Lennon wrote the song ‘Now and Then’ on his piano back in the late 1970s. Its demo was recorded on a tape recorder at his home in NYC. The late singer-songwriter’s wife, Yoko Ono, sent the tapes to the members of the band, and then surviving Beatles – Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr – teamed up in the mid-1990s to work on Lennon’s demos of ‘Free as a Bird,’ ‘Real Love,’ and ‘Now and Then.’ However, due to the noise on the tape and the lack of technology to separate the vocals, instruments, and different elements of a track back then, they weren’t able to finish the song until last year.
Unfortunately, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were the only two members of the band that were able to return to finish ‘Now and Then’ after George Harrison’s passing in 2001, with the help of the separation technology that Peter Jackson and his team developed for ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ documentary series. The writer, producer, and director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson, helped isolate John Lennon’s voice from other sounds from a cassette tape on the original demo using his MAL audio software. This process helped the song come to fruition.
With the MAL software, the vocals from the demo could now be separated and were crisp in 2022. It was as though John Lennon were singing in the studio right before us. The piano was much clearer, too. George Harrison played guitar for the song back in 1995 and his part was included in the final version of ‘Now and Then’ along with a “guitar solo in George’s style.” McCartney said it was “really a tribute to George” in the short film.
The Beatles are among the best-selling artists on the planet, and their music continues to be celebrated to date. The quartet released their last song, ‘Now and Then,’ as The Beatles, over 60 years after they were formed in 1960.
The track was released as a double A-single with ‘Love Me Do,’ their first hit, peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964. The short film is now streaming on YouTube and Disney+. It was penned and directed by Oliver Murray, who said: “The legacy of The Beatles set one of the most important foundations for modern youth culture. It is a great honor to be given the responsibility of telling this story and I think it will conjure up a lot of different emotions for people as we all have a very personal relationship to the band’s work. Now and Then is a story of musical archaeology and a brotherly bond between four guys that gave the world some of the most popular entertainment in history.”
‘Now and Then’ is a 12-minute, 24-second short film featuring interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, John Lennon’s son – Sean Ono Lennon, and Peter Jackson that takes us behind the scenes into the making of the song that was finally completed and released more than four decades after John Lennon wrote and recorded ‘Now and Then’ as a demo.
It highlights how technology made it possible for The Beatles to make one last genuine record that all the members of the band were a part of and played in. The film, a short and sweet farewell to The Beatles and a celebration of their creativity and determination to pay tribute to John Lennon and George Harrison, is a must-watch for The Beatles fans.
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