HITS Daily Double


The last song all four Beatles ever worked on, “Now and Then,” will be released 11/2 as a double A-side single, paired with the Fab Four’s 1962 U.K. debut, “Love Me Do.”

A 12-minute documentary, Now and Then – The Last Beatles Song, written and directed by Oliver Murray, will debut on Wednesday (11/1) on The Beatles’ YouTube channel.

“Now and Then” (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol Records/UMe) was written and sung by John Lennon, developed and worked on by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and finally finished by Paul and Ringo. Ed Ruscha did the cover artwork.

The track will appear on an expanded edition of the compilation 1967-1970, aka The Blue Album, on 11/10. Companion set 1962-1966, aka The Red Album, will be released at the same time.

The story of “Now and Then” begins in the late 1970s, when Lennon recorded a demo with vocals and piano at his home in New York. In 1994, Yoko Ono Lennon, gave the recording to Paul, George and Ringo, along with the demos for “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love,” which were both completed as new Beatles songs and released as singles as part of The Beatles Anthology project.

At the same time, the three Beatles recorded new parts and completed a rough mix for “Now and Then” with producer Jeff Lynne. Technological limitations prevented John’s vocals and piano from being separated to achieve a clear, unclouded mix.

In 2021, Peter Jackson’s team used WingNut Films’ MAL audio technology on The Beatles: Get Back docuseries, which led to 2022’s new mix of Revolver. The team, led by Emile de la Rey, applied the same technique to the original home recording of “Now and Then,” separating the vocal performance from the piano.

That year, McCartney and Starr set about completing the song. “Now and Then” includes Harrison on electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995, a new drum part by Starr, and bass, guitar and piano from McCartney. Macca added a slide guitar solo.

McCartney oversaw a Capitol Studios recording session for a string arrangement written by Giles Martin, McCartney and Ben Foster. McCartney and Martin then added backing vocals from the original recordings of “Here, There and Everywhere,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “Because.”

“There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear,” McCartney said. “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.”

The expanded Red and Blue albums feature 75 tracks, 21 of which have been added since the initial release in 1973; 12 have been added to Red, Blue has nine more.

The 1967-1970 tracks and a few from 1962-1966 have received new stereo and Dolby Atmos mixes for The Beatles’ Special Edition album releases. All tracks not also featured on those releases have been newly mixed in stereo and/or Dolby Atmos by Giles Martin and Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios, aided by WingNut Films’ audio de-mixing technology. Both collections include new essays written by journalist and author John Harris.