After much hoo-hah, the Last Ever Song from The Beatles is upon us. Now On Then, which has its roots in a John Lennon demo recorded in the late 1970s and features contributions from all four members of the band, is on streaming platforms now.
Now On Then was originally recorded by Lennon at his home in New York’s Dakota Building. When the remaining Beatles were putting together their Anthology project in 1995, Yoko Ono supplied them with the demo, alongside rough versions of two others, Real Love and Free As A Bird. Reworked, the latter two emerged as singles, but the technology used wasn't advanced enough to rescue the former.
That all changed when film director Peter Jackson put together 2021's Get Back documentary, and his team were able to develop software could isolate each instrument on the band's primitive four track recordings. The same technology was use to "lift" Lennon's vocal from the Now And Then demo, allowing Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to complete the work they began with George Harrison in 1995.
“There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear," said McCartney. "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," said Starr. "It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out."
The Peter Jackson-directed video for Now And Then will be released tomorrow (Friday) at 2pm GMT / 10am EDT / 7am PDT.
A number of physical variants of the Now And Then single are available – backed by The Beatles' first ever release, 1962's Love Me Do – including light blue and clear vinyl 7" singles and a black vinyl 12", while The Beatles' stores is carrying exclusive alternatives.
The release of the single comes ahead of the reissue of the Beatles' iconic 'Red' and 'Blue' compilations albums (a.k.a. 1962–1966 and 1967-1970), originally released in 1973. Both will land on November 10 and can be pre-ordered now.