A new Beatles song titled Now And Then is being released next week as their "final" single: "There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear. It’s quite emotional."

The Beatles
(Image credit: Apple Corps Ltd)

News you likely didn't have on your 2023 bingo card: a brand new single from The Beatles is coming next week. Written and sung by John Lennon and featuring contributions from George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr - McCartney and Starr worked together to finish the song for release this year - Now And Then will be released Thursday November 2, and is being advertised as the final 'new' Beatles song ever. It will be paired on release with the band’s classic 1962 debut UK single, Love Me Do

A 12-minute documentary, Now And Then - The Last Beatles Song, written and directed by Oliver Murray, will also accompany the single's release, and will premiere on Wednesday November 1, with commentary from Paul, Ringo, George, John Lennon and Yoko Ono's son Sean and Peter Jackson, who produced and directed critically lauded 2021 doc The Beatles: Get Back

Now And Then's gestation began in the late 70s when John Lennon wrote and recorded a bare bones, piano-led demo of the track at his home in New York. Two decades later, his widow Yoko Ono gave the demo to Lennon's former Beatles bandmates, who worked on the song but were unable to fulfil its potential for a full release.

In the last couple of years, McCartney and Starr - with some help from Peter Jackson and his team - have been able to utilise modern technology to resume work on the song, adding new instrumental and vocal parts and readying it for release.

“There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear," says McCartney of hearing Lennon's voice properly lifted from the original Now And Then demo for the first time. "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," adds Starr. "It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.”

“Back in 1995, after several days in the studio working on the track, George felt the technical issues with the demo were insurmountable and concluded that it was not possible to finish the track to a high enough standard," says George Harrison's widow, Olivia. "If he were here today, [their son] Dhani and I know he would have whole-heartedly joined Paul and Ringo in completing the recording of Now And Then.”

“It was incredibly touching to hear them working together after all the years that Dad had been gone," says Sean Ono Lennon. "It’s the last song my dad, Paul, George and Ringo got to make together. It’s like a time capsule and all feels very meant to be.”

The release of Now And Then will precede a snazzy new reissue of the Beatles' 'Red' and 'Blue' albums (AKA 1962–1966 and 1967-1970),  their two most famous compilations. Both reissues will land on November 10.

Now And Then can be pre-saved at streaming services, while a number of physical variants will be made available, including light blue and clear vinyl 7" singles, and a black vinyl 12", while The Beatles' stores will carry exclusive alternatives.  

A trailer has also been filmed to mark the news of the release, which you can watch below. 

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.