The Beatles
Yoko Ono, John Lennon & Paul McCartney | Credit: Cummings Archives/Redferns

The Beatles Release Their Final Song ‘Now And Then’

The Beatles have released their final song – a mere 53 years after the band broke up. The new song, ‘Now And Then’, is rooted in a demo John Lennon recorded in the late 1970s, not long before he died in 1980. The late songwriter’s wife and collaborator, Yoko Ono, gave the recording to the surviving Beatles members Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr in 1994.

The trio worked on the song with producer Jeff Lynne, along with two other Lennon demos, ‘Free as a Bird’ and ‘Real Love’. The latter two songs appeared on the albums Anthology 1 and Anthology 2 in late 1995 and early 1996, respectively. However, the band wasn’t satisfied with the fidelity of ‘Now And Then’ and the song was subsequently shelved.

The Beatles – ‘Now And Then’

McCartney and Starr recently found a workaround, however, by employing the AI-assisted software that director Peter Jackson used while working on The Beatles: Get Back documentary in 2021. In Jackson’s case, the MAL audio technology let him de-mix the original mono soundtrack of the film footage.

McCartney, Starr and producer Giles Martin (son of the late George Martin) used MAL to isolate Lennon’s vocals from the instruments on his demo recording. “There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear,” Paul said of hearing the isolated vocals for the first time. “It’s quite emotional.”

The finished version of ‘Now And Then’ features guitar playing from the late George Harrison, which was recorded during the 1994 sessions with Jeff Lynne. “We all play on it, it’s a genuine Beatles recording,” said McCartney. “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.”

Further Reading

Paul McCartney Review – Beatles, Wings and a Lifetime of Memories in Sydney

The Beatles to Release Their Final Song Next Week

The Beatles Release Short Film Documenting the Making Of Their Final Song ‘Now and Then’

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