Beatles: Watch Mini-Doc About Final Track ‘Now And Then’
The final Beatles song, “Now And Then,” comes out tomorrow (Nov. 2). In a new mini-documentary, fans are offered a look into the making of the track.
As previously reported, the track’s origins stem from a John Lennon demo that was first worked on by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in 1995 as part of The Beatles Anthology. Peter Jackson and his team were able to develop new audio technology while making the 2021 docuseries The Beatles: Get Back. As a result, “Now And Then” could be completed.
Jackson says in the mini-doc, “During the course of ‘Get Back,’ we were paying a lot of attention to the technical restoration. That ultimately led us to develop a technology, which allows us to take any soundtrack and split all the different components into separate tracks based on machine learning.”
When Jackson and his team developed this technology, McCartney gave the director Lennon’s original demo for him to work with.
McCartney recalls, “They said, ‘This is the sound of John’s voice.’ [imitates computer noise] A few seconds later or however long it took, and there it was: John’s voice, crystal clear … In the mix, we could lift John’s voice without lifting the piano, which had always been one of the problems. Now, we could mix it and make a proper record of it.”
Starr added, “Since Peter took John off and gave him his own track, it’s like John’s there, you know. It’s far out.”
Sean Lennon noted of this technology, “My dad would’ve loved that, because he was never shy to experiment with recording technology. I think it’s really beautiful.”
A Beatles Surprise
One of the most unique aspects of “Now And Then” was the addition of strings on the track. Musicians were recruited for a recording session at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, California. The string arrangement was put together by Giles Martin, son of late Beatles producer George Martin. However, the musicians were unaware that they were recording music for a Beatles song.
McCartney recalls, “We had to put the music out on the stands for the musicians, but we couldn’t tell them it was a new Beatles song … We pretended it was just something of mine.”
“Now And Then” is available for pre-order in a variety of formats at The Beatles.com. Those formats include digital, cassette and a number of vinyl pressings.