The Beatles announce last-ever song Now and Then along with Red and Blue album reissues

The Beatles announce last-ever song Now and Then along with Red and Blue album reissues

26th October 2023
Coming 2 November, the final track from the John Lennon demo tape which gave birth to Free as A Bird and Real Love in 1995 was finally completed using George Harrison guitar parts and finishing touches by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

The announcement comes with news that the much-loved Red and Blue albums will be reissued on 10 November with additional tracks including the original single version of Love Me Do.


Photos © Apple Corps

Arriving as a double A-side with the Now and Then single, Love Me Do was restored at Abbey Road by engineer Miles Showell from two 60-year-old 7” singles before it was sent to Peter Jackson’s WingNut Films to be de-mixed using MAL audio technology and finally to Giles Martin & Sam Okell to be remixed in true stereo.

Miles half-speed mastered the single along with both Red and Blue, Giles Martin and Sam Okell completed all stereo and Atmos mixes and Abbey Road’s Oli Morgan handled the Atmos masters.

We can’t wait for everyone to hear the finished product!

Pre-order below.
*Now and Then* 7"

Now and Then 7"

*Now and Then* 7" Clear

Now and Then 7" Clear

*Now and Then* 7" Blue

Now and Then 7" Blue

*1962-1966* (‘The Red Album’) 3LP

1962-1966 (‘The Red Album’) 3LP

*1967-1970* (‘The Blue Album’) 3LP

1967-1970 (‘The Blue Album’) 3LP

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.

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.

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.

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