“The quality of the demo was so bad, I wouldn’t be surprised if George wanted to get back to his garden in all honesty”: Giles Martin on George Harrison’s ambivalence to Now and Then
The Beatles released their final track earlier this month, but it turns out not all of the Fab Four were bothered about the track.
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Now and Then – the final track with contributions from all four Beatles – was the subject of months of anticipation before its release, and considerable discussion following.
But while surviving members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr opted to resurrect the demoed track – which was originally recorded by John Lennon in 1977 – one Beatle, George Harrison, wouldn’t have been bothered to release it, according to Giles Martin, son of the band’s producer George Martin.
In a new interview with Mojo, asked whether it was a concern that George Harrison was being posthumously overruled with the release of Now and Then given his ambivalence towards the track, Martin replies: “No, because of course this wouldn’t happen without [George’s widow] Olivia and [son] Dhani’s approval.”
He continues: “It wasn’t that George didn’t like the track. It was that the quality [of the Now and Then demo was so bad, I wouldn’t be surprised if George wanted to get back to his garden in all honesty.”
Shortly following the release of Now and Then, the track’s music video – directed by The Beatles: Get Back director Peter Jackson – was released. As Jackson says, he was reluctant to take on the project at first.
“When Apple asked me to make the music video, I was very reluctant – I thought my next few months would be a hell of a lot more fun if that tricky task was somebody else’s problem, and I could be like any other Beatles fan, enjoying the night-before-Christmas anticipation as the release of a new Beatles song and music video approached,” he says.
He even claims that he never explicitly said he would take part.
“I told Apple how the lack of suitable footage worried me. We’d need to use a lot of rare and unseen film, but there’s very little… Nothing at all seemed to exist showing Paul, George and Ringo working on Now And Then in 1995…” he adds.
“I knew The Beatles don’t take no for an answer if their minds are set on something – but they didn’t even wait for me to say no. I found myself swept along as they quickly addressed my concerns.
“Paul and Ringo shot footage of themselves performing and sent that to me. Apple unearthed over 14 hours of long forgotten film shot during the 1995 recording sessions, including several hours of Paul, George and Ringo working on Now And Then, and gave all that to me.”