Last week, The Beatles released what was billed as their "final" song, "Now and Then," but that might not be the case. During a recent interview with The Sunday Times, Peter Jackson, who directed the "Now and Then" video and 2021's docuseries The Beatles: Get Back said it was "conceivable" for the band to put out more music.
“We can take a performance from Get Back, separate John [Lennon] and George [Harrison], and then have Paul [McCartney] and Ringo [Starr] add a chorus or harmonies,” he explained, reflecting on the process of sorting through 60 hours of footage and 150 hours of audio for the docuseries.
“You might end up with a decent song,” he added. “But I haven’t had conversations with Paul about that.”
Jackson admitted that right now the prospect of "new" Beatles music is just “fanboy stuff” for him; however, the logistics of it are “certainly conceivable.”
The story of "Now and Then" began 46 years ago. In 1977, Lennon recorded a demo with vocals and piano at his home at the Dakota in New York City. In 1994, his wife Yoko Ono gave the recording to the band's surviving members McCartney, Starr, and Harrison, along with “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love.” The latter two were completed as new Beatles songs and respectively released as singles in 1995 and 1996, as part of The Beatles Anthology project. The trio also worked on parts for "Now and Then" but technology at the time restricted them from separating Lennon's vocals from the piano, and they were unable to achieve the clear mix they needed to release it.
Fast forward to 2021, and Jackson's team behind Get Back found a way to de-mix the film's mono soundtrack. They applied the same technology to "Now and Then" and were able to isolate Lennon's vocals. The next year, McCartney and Starr set out to complete the track, which includes electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995 by Harrison, who passed away in 2001; Starr’s new drum part; and bass, guitar and piano from McCartney that matches Lennon’s original playing. McCartney also added a slide guitar solo inspired by Harrison, and he and Starr contributed backing vocals to the chorus.
"Now and Then" will be released as a double A-side single along with The Beatles' very first single, "Love Me Do," making it a truly full circle moment. It will also be the final track on a new version of The Beatles' anthologies 1962-1966 and 1967-1970, also known as the Red and Blue albums. The latest edition of the anthologies, featuring 75 tracks, will be released on November 10.