“Now and Then,” the final song made by all four members of The Beatles, has arrived in its completed form. Stream it below. Update: Watch Peter Jackson’s music video for the song.
The song began as a John Lennon-penned demo recording, made in 1979 and shared with the other Beatles in the mid-‘90s by Yoko Ono. At the time, the remaining band members — Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison — attempted to finish the song with production help from Jeff Lynne, but ultimately scrapped the project due to a loud hum on Lennon’s original recording which made it essentially impossible to use. Though the song held a special place in McCartney’s heart — in part because the last words Lennon said to him in person were “Think about me every now and then, old friend” — it was shelved.
Fast forward to the beginning of this decade, when acclaimed director Peter Jackson was working on his 2021 documentary, The Beatles: Get Back. For that project, Jackson’s team utilized AI technology that is able to isolate specific tracks within a mix, which paved a path towards removing the hum from Lennon’s 1979 recording of “Now and Then.” From there, McCartney and Starr got back into the studio and finished up the track, combining the demo tape with modern recordings, material from the ‘90s session, and samples from older Beatles songs, “Here, There and Everywhere,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “Because.”
The end product, as McCartney puts it, is “a genuine Beatles recording,” with contributions from all four members. Listen to the song below.
“Now and Then” also arrives with a mini-documentary, Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song, written and directed by Oliver Murray. The video premiered yesterday (November 1st), and features exclusive footage of the recording sessions, as well as commentary from McCartney, Starr, Harrison, Jackson, Sean Ono Lennon, and more. Watch it below.
“Now and Then” is available to stream digitally, but will also be released on physical formats as a double A-side with The Beatles’ very first single, 1962’s “Love Me Do.” The songs will available on 7-inch and 12-inch vinyl, in a variety of special-edition colors, as well as on cassette, beginning tomorrow, Friday, November 3rd. Orders are ongoing. A music video for “Now and Then” is also slated to premiere tomorrow, directed by Jackson. Earlier this week, he released a long statement detailing how the project came to be.
Meanwhile, The Beatles are gearing up to reissue their beloved compilation albums, 1962-1966 and 1967-1970, on November 10th in a variety of new formats, including digital, CD, and a number of different vinyl options. Pre-orders for those records are ongoing.