The Beatles have released what is being described as their final new song together, called “Now and Then.”
It is the last of a series of songs written by John Lennon, and handed to Paul McCartney by Yoko Ono in demo form on cassette in 1994. The cassette also featured demos for “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love.” Those two songs were completed and released as singles in 1995 and 1996. However, at that time the band struggled to complete a song from the demo of “Now and Then” and abandoned the attempt. McCartney explained the difficulties the band faced in 1995:
“On John’s demo tape, the piano was a little hard to hear. And in those days, of course, we didn’t have the technology to do the separation … we kind of ran out of steam a bit, and time. Now and Then just languished in a cupboard.”
However, during the making of The Beatles’ 2021 “Get Back” documentary, director Peter Jackson’s film company developed a piece of software that allowed them to “de-mix” muddled recordings of overlapping sounds. For “Now And Then,” the software was able to “lift” Lennon’s voice from the original cassette recording, removing the background hiss and the hum of the mains electricity that had hampered previous attempts to complete the song.
Paul McCartney re-recorded the piano parts Lennon played on the demo and added a guitar solo in the style of George Harrison, as well as the bass, percussion and harpsichord. Ringo Starr recorded new drum parts for it, while the late George Harrison features via rhythm guitar parts kept from the failed 1995 recordings. Strings have also been added, as well as some newly recorded background vocals. Some older background vocals have also been used, including some from the song “Eleanor Rigby.”
A short documentary which explains the creative process behind “Now and Then” has been released on Youtube.
“Now and Then by The Beatles is new this week on Radiohan.
On 11 October 1962 The Beatles made their debut on the UK charts with the single “Love Me Do.” John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote it in 1958 when John was 17 and Paul was 16. They made time for songwriting by skipping school. They had written songs before, but “Love Me Do” was the first one they liked enough to record. The song peaked at number 17.
In 1964 it was released in the United States where it became a number one hit. It also topped the Australian and New Zealand charts. Re-released in 1982 as part of EMI’s Beatles 20th anniversary, “Love Me Do” re-entered the UK charts and peaked at number 4.
The Beatles came very close to releasing another song as their first single. At their September 4 recording session their Manager, George Martin decided their first single should be a song called “How Do You Do It?” which was written by someone else. The Beatles were not happy but did some lackluster takes of the song before they were allowed to record “Love Me Do.” Eventually, Martin changed his mind and went with “Love Me Do.” “How Do You Do It?” became a hit for Gerry & the Pacemakers in 1964.
On this day in 1965 The Beatles started a three-week run at number 1 on the U.S. singles chart with “Help!,” the title of their second film and the group’s ninth U.S. number 1.
“Help!” was written by John Lennon with some help from Paul McCartney. John once said that the song was one of his favourites among the Beatles songs he wrote. During an interview with “Playboy” in 1980, he recounted: “The whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension. I was subconsciously crying out for help”.
This week in 1970 Let It Be, the final Beatles single before Paul McCartney announced his departure from the band, was the number one song in Australia and the USA. The song also topped the charts in Canada, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.
McCartney said he had the idea of Let It Be in 1968 when the Beatles as a group were having a tough time and he had a dream in which his deceased mother, Mary Patricia McCartney, reassured him: “It’s gonna be OK. Just let it be.” Paul’s mother had died when he was 14 years old.
When asked if the phrase “Mother Mary” in the song referred to Mary, mother of Jesus, McCartney has typically replied that listeners can interpret the song however they like.
On 23rd of August 1963 “She Loves You,” a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney was released as a single by The Beatles in the United Kingdom. It became the best selling UK single of all time until 1977 when that record was broken by Paul McCartney and Wings with “Mull of Kintyre,” the first single to sell over two million copies in the UK.