As the entire planet awaits the release of the very last Beatles song, Apple Corps Ltd. has debuted a short documentary, written and directed by Oliver Murray Now and Then — The Last Beatles Song on the band's official YouTube channel.
As most everyone knows by now, this song was one of three demos on a cassette that was given to Paul McCartney by Yoko Ono after he inducted John Lennon into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame ceremony in 1994. Ono also contacted George Harrison and McCartney asked Ringo Starr if the three of them could meet up at McCartney's Hog Hill Mill recording studio in Sussex, England and make something worthwhile from these half-finished songs.
Parallel to this project, was the undertaking of the long-gestating history of a fully-sanctioned Beatles documentary. While the 'Threetles' tackled the demos with producer Jeff Lynne (who had worked with Harrison in The Travelling Wilburys and his 1987 album Cloud Nine) it became apparent that the advent of time and Lennon's haphazard recording - more to do with ideas than full-blown songs - required some heroic work.
The documentary became Anthology which begat an oversized coffee table tome of the Beatles and three compilations. Two of Lennon's compositions "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love" were brought back to life and the entire world took a rest after 1995.
Behind the scenes, during the recordings, Harrison had become disgruntled with fixing "Now and Then" and declared it "rubbish." The three remaining members didn't revisit the song and when Harrison passed in 2001, it seemed headed for a dusty cupboard.
Fast forward to 2022. After the ground-breaking work done by director Peter Jackson for the eight-part series Get Back, the restorative technology (lovingly named "MAL" in honor of Beatles' roadie Mal Evans) brought out audio that could not have been made possible back in 1995. McCartney and Starr worked with Jackson to re-create aspects that were missing musically while keeping Lennon's original vocal and Harrison's brief contribution.
The results are astounding. As McCartney stated, "It's quite emotional. And we all play on it, it’s a genuine Beatles recording."
With exclusive footage and commentary from Paul, Ringo, George, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson, The Beatles - Now And Then - The Last Beatles Song is available to stream on the Beatles YouTube channel now.