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.
“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.
“Now and Then” was written and sung by John Lennon, who recorded the track as a demo at his Dakota home in New York in 1978. The original recording contained only Lennon’s voice and piano. In 1994, Yoko Ono gave the demo to McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, along with Lennon’s demos for “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love“. Working with producer and Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) mastermind Jeff Lynne, the remaining three Beatles recorded new parts for a version of “Now and Then”, but the technological limitations of the era prevented them from separating Lennon’s vocals from the piano on his original demo.
After shelving “Now and Then” for decades, McCartney and Starr resurrected the project after working with director Peter Jackson on his documentary Get Back. Jackson and his sound team devised a method of using AI to isolate Lennon’s vocals on the original tape.
“There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear,” McCartney commented of the experience in a press release. “It’s quite emotional. And we’re all playing on it, it’s a real Beatles recording. To be still working on Beatles music in 2023 and to be about to release a new song that the public hasn’t heard, I think it’s an exciting thing”.
“It was the closest we’ve ever come to having him back in the room, so it was very emotional for all of us,” Starr added. “It was like John was there, you know. It’s way out there.”
In 2022, McCartney and Starr completed “Now and Then“, which features electric and acoustic guitars laid down by Harrison in 1995, a new drum part and backing vocals from Starr, and bass, guitar and piano from McCartney, who added a slide guitar solo inspired by the late Harrison.
More info: https://www.thebeatles.com/announcement