The Beatles recently dropped their final track “Now and Then,” and now fans can take a peek at how the tune was created in a new documentary. “Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song,” dropped on YouTube Wednesday.
The documentary showcases footage from the 1995 recording session, where Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison made attempts to contribute to a John Lennon demo. It also includes clips of McCartney and Starr adding new bass and drum parts for the song just last year. Additionally, the film features an orchestral session at Capitol Studios, guided by McCartney and co-producer Giles Martin.
The collection also includes fragments of Lennon’s lead vocals, initially recorded on a cassette during the late 1970s. With Peter Jackson’s advanced audio separation technology, these recordings have been carefully restored. This gives them a sound similar to Lennon standing before a high-quality microphone in a modern studio.
Beatles bassist and vocalist Paul McCartney is seen marveling at the technology’s abilities in the documentary. “They said, this is the sound of John’s voice. A few seconds later… there it was. John’s voice, crystal clear,” McCartney recalls. “Peter took John off and gave him his own track. It’s like John’s there, you know — it’s far out.”
This Final Track From The Beatles Has Been Underway Since the 90s
This final track has been in the works for decades. In ’95, while the remaining three Beatles worked on Lennon’s “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love” for the “Anthology” projects, they made their first attempt. The trio cheerfully entered McCartney’s countryside studio with then-producer Jeff Lynne… and later left after completing their work (and leaving behind “Now and Then”). Ringo jokingly remarked, “OK, see you next week.”
McCarthy also teased about recording the orchestral bits, revealing how the musicians didn’t know they were working on the final Beatles tune. “I’d been vaguely thinking strings might be a good thing. The Beatles did lots of string things, you know, ‘Strawberry Fields,’ ‘Yesterday,’ ‘I Am the Walrus.’ We wanted to go to Capitol Studios ’cause that had been EMI … Giles worked on an arrangement like Giles’ dad [original Beatles producer George Martin] would’ve done in the old days. … We had to put the music out on the stands for the musicians, but we couldn’t tell ’em… It was all a bit hush-hush.”
The YouTube/Disney+ documentary marks the beginning of a 10-day release of material that holds great significance for Beatles fans. Just yesterday, the “Now and Then” track was unveiled, with Peter Jackson’s music video for the song dropping today. And mark your calendars for the upcoming Friday, November 10th, when expanded versions of the “1962-66” and “1967-70” collections will grace DSPs and stores, featuring a plethora of new stereo and Atmos remixes.
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