Apple Corps Ltd., the Beatles’ longtime label, has announced the impending release of the Fab Four’s “final” song, “Now And Then.” The track will arrive as an A/B single — backed with the group’s first-ever release, “Love Me Do” — on Thursday, November 2 at 10 a.m. EDT. According to a press release, “Now And Then” 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 over four decades later.”
A documentary short titled “Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song” is scheduled to arrive a day before the song’s release. Watch its trailer below.
“Now And Then” started out as a John Lennon demo, per the song’s announcement — recorded in the late ’70s in New York’s Dakota building, where he lived out his final years (and in front of which he was shot and killed in 1980) after the Beatles’ 1970 breakup. Fourteen years after his death, his wife Yoko Ono passed it along to the rest of the band — Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr. and George Harrison (who passed away in 2001) — along with two more of Lennon’s track sketches that the group recreated and released shortly thereafter as Beatles songs. They were unable to do the same with “Now And Then” due to technological limitations that made it impossible to separate John’s vocal track from his piano playing.
During production for Peter Jackson’s 2021 docuseries The Beatles: Get Back, however, the director’s team was able to “demix” the film’s mono soundtrack and isolate the vocals from “Now And Then” using an AI program created by WingNut Films.
“There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear,” McCartney recalls in the press release. “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.”
“It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room, so it was very emotional for all of us,” Starr adds. “It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.”
The final product includes guitar parts recorded by George in 1995, as well as new drums from Ringo and bass, guitar, and piano from Paul. Scroll down to see the cover art for “Now And Then” and the single’s full list of credits.
“Now And Then” single art
“Now And Then” credits
Produced by Paul McCartney, Giles Martin
Additional Production: Jeff Lynne
Vocals: John Lennon, Paul McCartney
Backing Vocals: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr
Guitars: George Harrison
Guitars, Bass, Piano, Electric Harpsichord, Shaker: Paul McCartney
Drums, Tambourine, Shaker: Ringo Starr
String Arrangement: Paul McCartney, Giles Martin, Ben Foster
Mixed by Spike Stent
Engineered by Geoff Emerick, Steve Orchard, Greg McAllister, Jon Jacobs, Steve Genewick, Bruce Sugar, Keith Smith
Source Separation / MAL Courtesy of WingNut Films Productions Ltd.
Head of Machine Learning: Emile de la Rey
Project Management: Adam Sharp
Recorded at Hog Hill Studio, Capitol Studios and Roccabella West
Mastered by Miles Showell
Project Producers: Jonathan Clyde and Guy Hayden
Executive Producer: Jeff Jones