The official video clip for “Now And Then”, the Beatles’ latest song, is online. It will be directed by Peter Jackson, making his debut behind the camera of a music video.
The heartwarming and funny music video invites viewers to celebrate the group’s timeless and enduring love for each other along with John, Paul, George and Ringo as they created the Beatles’ final song.
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The story behind “Now And Then” begins in the late 1970s, when John recorded a demo with vocals and piano in his home, the Dakota Building in New York. In 1994 his wife, Yoko Ono Lennon, gave the recording to Paul, George and Ringo, along with John’s other demos, “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love”, which were later completed as new Beatles songs and released as singles in 1995 and 1996 respectively, as part of The Beatles Anthology project.
Meanwhile Paul, George and Ringo also recorded new parts and completed a first mix of “Now And Then” with producer Jeff Lynne. At the time, the limitations of technology prevented John’s voice and piano from being separated to achieve the clean, clear mix needed to complete the song. “Now And Then” was thus discarded, in the hope of being able to revisit it one day.
Then in 2021 the docu-series “The Beatles: Get Back” was released, directed by director Peter Jackson, who stunned viewers with the acclaimed restoration work of the film and audio. Using WingNut Films’ MAL audio technology, Jackson’s team ‘de-mixed’ the film’s mono soundtrack, managing to isolate the instruments and vocals and all the individual voices within the Beatles’ conversations.
This milestone opened the door to Revolver’s new 2022 mix, taken directly from the original 4-track master tapes. This led to the question of what could be done with the “Now And Then” demo. Peter Jackson and his recording engineers, led by Emile de la Rey, applied the same technology to John’s original home recording, preserving the clarity and integrity of the original vocal performance by separating it from the piano.
In 2022 Paul and Ringo began completing the song. In addition to John Lennon’s voice, “Now And Then” contains the electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995 by George, a new drum part by Ringo and Paul’s bass, guitar and piano, which matches the original playing of John. Paul added a George-inspired slide guitar solo; he and Ringo also contributed backing vocals in the chorus.
In Los Angeles, Paul oversaw a recording session at Capitol Studios for a nostalgic and exquisitely Beatles-esque string arrangement, written by Giles Martin, Paul and Ben Foster. Paul and Giles have also added a final, wonderful touch: backing vocals from the original recordings of “Here, There And Everywhere”, “Eleanor Rigby” and “Because”, woven into the new song using techniques perfected during the making of the show and the album LOVE. The finished track is produced by Paul and Giles and mixed by Spike Stent.
And there it was, John’s voice, clear and clear. He is very emotional. And we all play, it’s an authentic Beatles recording. I think it’s an exciting thing to still be working on Beatles music in 2023 and about to release a new song that the public hasn’t heard.”
It was the closest we got to having him in the room with us again, it was really exciting for everyone. It was like John was there, you know. He is fantastic “.
Olivia Harrison said:
In 1995, after several days spent in the studio working on the track, George felt that the technical difficulties with the demo were insurmountable and concluded that it was not possible to complete the track to a high enough standard. If he were here today, Dhani and I know that he would have joined Paul and Ringo and put his heart into completing the recording of ‘Now And Then’.”
Sean Ono Lennon said:
It was incredibly touching to listen to them work together after all the years since my father died. It’s the last song my dad, Paul, George and Ringo got to do together. It’s like a time capsule and it’s like everything was predestined to be this way.”
There has been buzz and anticipation for “Now And Then” since June, when Paul first announced a new Beatles song in an interview. On Thursday 2 November “Now And Then” will finally be revealed to the world.
This last chapter in the Beatles’ recording history will be followed by new editions of the two compilation albums which have always been seen as the definitive introduction to their work. Since their debut in 1973, the 1962-1966 (‘The Red Album’) and 1967-1970 (‘The Blue Album’) collections have brought countless listeners of all ages and from all parts of the world closer to the Beatles’ historic fan base . Available in an extended version in the new 2023 releases (from 10 November), the collections span the entire career of the Beatles with the 75 best tracks, from the first single “Love Me Do” to the latest “Now And Then”. 21 tracks are added (12 in “Red” and 9 in “Blue”), which further highlight the best of the Beatles’ repertoire.
In recent years, several songs from 1967-1970 and some from 1962-1966 have been mixed in stereo and Dolby Atmos for special editions of albums released by the Beatles, including Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017 ), The Beatles (‘White Album’) (2018), Abbey Road (2019), Let It Be (2021) and Revolver (2022) and in new stereo mixes within 1 (2015). All tracks that were not included on these releases were re-mixed in stereo and/or Dolby Atmos by Giles Martin and Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios, with the help of WingNutFilms audio de-mixing technology. Both collections include new writings by journalist and author John Harris.
A 12-minute documentary film, “Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song”, written and directed by Oliver Murray will premiere on November 1st. It will also be uploaded to the Beatles’ official YouTube channel at 8.30pm (Italian time). The moving short tells the story behind the Beatles’ final song, through exclusive video material and commentary by Paul, Ringo, George, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson. The trailer is available here: link
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