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Mumbai, 27th October 2023: Together and apart, The Beatles have always had a talent for the unexpected. And now, 2023 brings one of the most anticipated releases of their long and endlessly eventful history. “Now And Then” is the last Beatles song – written and sung by John Lennon, developed and worked on by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and now finally finished by Paul and Ringo over four decades later.
“Now And Then” will be released worldwide at 2pm GMT / 10am EDT / 7am PDT on Thursday, 2nd November by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. The double A-side single pairs the last Beatles song with the first: the band’s 1962 debut UK single, “Love Me Do,” a truly fitting full-circle counterpart to “Now And Then.” Both songs are mixed in stereo and Dolby Atmos®, and the release features original cover art by renowned artist Ed Ruscha. The new music video for “Now And Then” will debut on Friday, 3rd November. More details including global premiere plans will be announced.
A 12-minute “Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song” documentary film, written and directed by Oliver Murray, will premiere on 1st November. The film’s global online premiere will be hosted on The Beatles’ YouTube channel at 7:30pm GMT / 3:30pm EDT / 12:30pm PDT. This poignant short film tells the story behind the last Beatles song, with exclusive footage and commentary from Paul, Ringo, George, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson.
Paul says, “There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear. 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.”
Watch the trailer here:
Preorder/pre-save “Now And Then”/ “Love Me Do” double A-side single here
● stereo mixes:
o digital; streaming; 7-inch black & colored vinyl (light blue, clear); 12-inch black vinyl
o limited edition Beatles Store-exclusives: cassette; 7-inch blue & white marbled vinyl
● Dolby Atmos mixes: digital; streaming
On 10th November, The Beatles’ 1962-1966 (‘The Red Album’) and 1967-1970 (‘The Blue Album’) collections will be released in 2023 Edition packages by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. Since their first incarnations appeared 50 years ago, these albums have introduced successive generations to The Beatles’ music. Now, both collections’ tracklists have been expanded, with all the songs mixed in true stereo and Dolby Atmos. New 4CD and 180-gram 6LP vinyl collections pair ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ in slipcased sets. The UK single version of “Love Me Do” now kicks off 1962-1966 (2023 Edition), and “Now And Then” is featured on 1967-1970 (2023 Edition) to complete the career-spanning collections.
Ringo says, “It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room so it was very emotional for all of us. It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.”
Preorder/pre-save 1962-1966 and 1967-1970 (2023 Editions) here
● stereo mixes:
o both collections: digital; streaming; 2CD; 180g 3LP black vinyl
o both collections: limited edition Beatles Store-exclusives: 3LP colored vinyl (red for ‘Red’/blue for ‘Blue’); 4CD slipcased set; 180g 6LP black vinyl slipcased set; 6LP red + blue vinyl slipcased set
● Dolby Atmos mixes: digital; streaming
The story of “Now And Then” begins in the late 1970s,when John recorded a demo with vocals and piano at his home in New York’s Dakota Building. In 1994, his wife, Yoko Ono Lennon, gave the recording to Paul, George and Ringo, along with John’s demos for “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love”, which were both completed as new Beatles songs and respectively released as singles in 1995 and 1996, as part of The Beatles Anthology project. At the same time, Paul, George and Ringo also recorded new parts and completed a rough mix for “Now And Then” with producer Jeff Lynne. At that point, technological limitations prevented John’s vocals and piano from being separated to achieve the clear, unclouded mix needed to finish the song. “Now And Then” was shelved, with a hope that one day it would be revisited.
Cut to 2021, and the release of “The Beatles: Get Back” docuseries, directed by Peter Jackson, which astonished viewers with its award-winning film and audio restoration. Using WingNut Films’ MAL audio technology, Jackson’s team had de-mixed the film’s mono soundtrack, managing to isolate instruments and vocals, and all the individual voices within The Beatles conversations. This achievement opened the way to 2022’s new mix of Revolver, sourced directly from the four-track master tapes. This led on to a question: what could now be done with the “Now And Then” demo? Peter Jackson and his sound team, led by Emile de la Rey, applied the same technique to John’s original home recording, preserving the clarity and integrity of his original vocal performance by separating it from the piano.
Olivia Harrison says, “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. If he were here today, Dhani and I know he would have whole-heartedly joined Paul and Ringo in completing the recording of ‘Now And Then’.”
In 2022, Paul and Ringo set about completing the song. Besides John’s vocal, “Now And Then” includes electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995 by George, Ringo’s new drum part, and bass, guitar and piano from Paul, which matches John’s original playing. Paul added a slide guitar solo inspired by George; he and Ringo also contributed backing vocals to the chorus.
In Los Angeles, Paul oversaw a Capitol Studios recording session for the song’s wistful, quintessentially Beatles string arrangement, written by Giles Martin, Paul and Ben Foster. Paul and Giles also added one last, wonderfully subtle touch: backing vocals from the original recordings of “Here, There And Everywhere”, “Eleanor Rigby” and “Because”, woven into the new song using the techniques perfected during the making of the LOVE show and album. The finished track was produced by Paul and Giles, and mixed by Spike Stent.
Sean Ono Lennon says, “It was incredibly touching to hear them working together after all the years that Dad had been gone. 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.”
Excitement and anticipation for “Now And Then” has been building since June, when Paul first teased “a new Beatles song” in a media interview. Finally, on Thursday, 2nd November, “Now And Then” will be shared with the world as it was always meant to be heard.
This last instalment of The Beatles’ recorded history will be followed by new editions of the two compilation albums always seen as the definitive introduction to their work. Since their 1973 debuts, 1962-1966 (‘The Red Album’) and 1967-1970 (‘The Blue Album’) collections have ushered countless listeners of all ages, from all parts of the world, into lifelong Beatles fandom. Expanded for their new 2023 Edition releases (out 10th November), the collections together span The Beatles’ entire recorded canon with 75 standout tracks, from their first single, “Love Me Do”, to their last, “Now And Then”. The collections’ 21 newly-added tracks (twelve on ‘Red’ , and nine on ‘Blue’) showcase even more of The Beatles’ very best songs.
In recent years, several 1967-1970 tracks and a few from 1962-1966 have received new stereo and Dolby Atmos mixes for The Beatles’ Special Edition album releases, including Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017), The Beatles (‘White Album’) (2018), Abbey Road (2019), Let It Be (2021), and Revolver (2022), as well as new stereo mixes for The Beatles’ 1 (2015). 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.
“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