Now And Then, the last official Beatles song, will be released next week
“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,” says McCartney.
Image: Les Lee / Getty Images
Huge news for fans of The Beatles – The last song made by the band, titled Now And Then is set to be released next week on Thursday 2 November.
This monumental release was originally written and sung by John Lennon, developed and worked on by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and now finally finished by both McCartney and Starr over four decades later.
Now And Then will land at 2pm GMT next week, and a new music video will later debut on Friday 3 November. Lennon recorded a demo for the song with vocals and piano at his home in New York in the late 1970s. In 1994, his wife, Yoko Ono Lennon, gave the recording to the other Beatles, along with his demos for Free As A Bird and Real Love.
At the same time, McCartney, Harrison and Starr also recorded new parts and completed a rough mix for the track with producer Jeff Lynne. At that point, limitations in tech prevented Lennon’s vocals and piano from being separated to achieve an unclouded mix so the song remained unfinished.
Thanks to audio restoration tech utilising AI to demix the demo, Peter Jackson and his sound team (led by Emile de la Rey) could later revive the vocals and piano. In 2022, McCartney and Starr began completing the song, which also includes electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995 by Harrison, Starr’s new drum part, and bass, guitar and piano from McCartney, which matches Lennon’s original playing.
In Los Angeles, McCartney oversaw a Capitol Studios recording session for the song’s string arrangement. Backing vocals from the original recordings of Here, There And Everywhere, Eleanor Rigby and Because have also been woven into the new song as a subtle touch. It was finalised and produced by McCartney and Giles, and mixed by Spike Stent.
McCartney says of the release, “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.”
Starr adds, “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.”
And that isn’t all – a 12-minute Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song documentary film will premiere on 1 November on The Beatles’ YouTube channel at 7:30pm GMT. The short film is described as “poignant” and tells the story behind the track, with exclusive footage and commentary from McCartney, Starr, Harrison, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson.
You can watch the trailer below:
On 10 November, The Beatles’ 1962-1966 The Red Album and 1967-1970 The Blue Album collections will be released in 2023 Edition packages. Both tracklists have been expanded, with all the songs mixed in true stereo and Dolby Atmos.
Find out more via the official website of The Beatles.