On November 2, at 3 p.m. Polish time, the last song by The Beatles – “Now and Then” will be released. The single also announces the reissues of “The Red Album” and “The Blue Album”. Both albums will be released on November 10. On November 1, TVN24 will premiere the documentary “Now and Then – The Last Beatles Song”, which tells the story of the creation of the last song of the legendary group.
After years of waiting, The Beatles’ song “Now and Then” has been officially released. It is the band’s last song, written and sung by John Lennon, polished by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and – over four decades later – completed by Paul and Ringo.
“Now and Then” will be released on Thursday, November 2 at 3 p.m. Polish time by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/Universal Music. The single will combine the last and first song of The Beatles – the B-side will include the debut song in the UK from 1962 – “Love Me Do”. The cover was created by renowned artist Ed Ruscha. The music video for “Now and Then” will be released on Friday, November 3.
The day before the single’s premiere, a 12-minute documentary “Now and Then – The Last Beatles Song” directed by Olivier Murray will be released. The painting will tell the story of The Beatles’ last song. The documentary will feature statements by Paul, Ringo, George, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson, who created the documentary series about the band “The Beatles: Get Back”.
On Friday, November 10, new editions of the 1962-1966 (“The Red Album”) and 1967-1970 (“The Blue Album”) collections will go on sale.
The story of The Beatles’ last song
The story of the song “Now and Then” begins in the second half of the 1970s. Then John Lennon recorded a demo with vocals and piano in his New York apartment in the Dakota Building. In 1994, Yoko Ono Lennon gave the recording to Paul, George and Ringo, along with John’s demos for “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” – these songs were released as singles in 1995 and 1996 respectively as part of the “The Beatles Anthology” project “. At the same time, Paul, George and Ringo recorded their parts and completed the rough mix of “Now and Then” with Jeff Lynne as producer. At the time, technological limitations made it impossible to separate John’s vocal track and piano to achieve the clean, muddy mix needed to complete the song. “Now and Then” was put in a drawer with the hope that one day technology would make it possible to properly listen to the song.
In 2021, the premiere of the above-mentioned series “The Beatles: Get Back” directed by Peter Jackson took place. Using special technology, his team was able to split the film’s soundtrack into mono tracks, isolating vocals and instruments as well as the individual voices in The Beatles’ conversations.
Peter Jackson and his sound engineering team, led by Emile de la Rey, also used the new technology for John’s “Now and Then” demo, separating the vocals from the instruments while retaining Lennon’s pure voice throughout.
In 2022, Paul and Ringo began working on completing the song. In addition to John’s vocals, “Now and Then” features electric and acoustic guitar parts recorded in 1995 by George, a new drum part by Ringo, and Paul’s bass, guitar and piano matched to John’s piano. Paul added a slide guitar solo inspired by George. Paul and Ringo are also responsible for the backing vocals on the chorus.
“We really felt like John was with us.”
Paul supervised the recording sessions at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, where the song’s melancholy strings were recorded – their sound is quintessentially The Beatles. The authors of this batch are Giles Martin, Paul and Ben Foster. Paul and Giles also added a final, subtle element: backing vocals from the original recordings of “Here, There And Everywhere”, “Eleanor Rigby” and “Because”, woven into the new song using technologies refined during the album’s development.
The finished track was produced by Paul and Giles and mixed by Spike Stent.
Paul says, “It was John’s voice, so clear.” It was very emotional. We’re all there, it’s the truest Beatles recording. Who would have thought that in 2023 I would still be working on the Beatles’ music and that we would have the premiere of a new song that listeners don’t know. It’s very exciting.
Ringo emphasizes: “We will never be as close to that feeling of having John back in the same room with us.” So it was very emotional for all of us. We really felt like John was with us. It was extraordinary.
Main photo source: press.thebeatles.com