Watch a Short Documentary Film About Beatles’ “Now and Then”
The 12-minute movie, written and directed by Oliver Murray, chronicles the making of the track, which will be released on Nov. 2. It includes new commentary from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson, plus archival clips of George Harrison.
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You can watch the film below.
The History Behind 'Now and Then'
"Now and Then" stems from a demo Lennon recorded prior to his death in 1980, a tape that was then given to the surviving Beatles by Yoko Ono. In the mid '90s, McCartney, Starr and Harrison teamed up with producer Jeff Lynne to work on "Now and Then" as well as other lost Lennon tapes. These sessions yielded two complete songs, "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love," which appeared on Anthology 1 and Anthology 2, respectively.
"Now and Then" was left unfinished, largely due to complications with the audio quality of the tape, until now.
"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," Harrison's widow, Olivia, said in an earlier press release. "If he were here today, [son] Dhani and I know he would have whole-heartedly joined Paul and Ringo in completing the recording of 'Now and Then.'"
In 2021, Jackson's filmmaking team used a new kind of de-mixing technology for the three-part The Beatles: Get Back, a process that was then applied to Lennon's original demo tape. The vocal was finally able to be separated from the piano part, making it easier to construct a new song. While McCartney and Starr recorded new tracks, Harrison's previously recorded acoustic guitar parts were added on.
"It was incredibly touching to hear them working together after all the years that Dad had been gone," Sean Ono Lennon added. "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."
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Gallery Credit: Andrea Vale