How The Beatles’ Final Song “Now & Then” Came to Be

The Beatles in the 1960s
The Beatles in the 1960s. Photo by Granger/REX/Shutterstock (8754325a)

It’s been five decades since The Beatles went their separate way, but that didn’t stop them from making waves with a brand-new song this past weekend. “Now & Then” has been billed as the legendary band’s “final song”, but how did it come together after all this time?

“Now & Then” was built on the backbones of a demo John Lennon recorded during the ’70s, but it never saw the light of day. The Beatless were initially planning to include it in The Beatles Anthology in 1995, but their plan fell apart because they couldn’t mash the backing track and Lennon’s recording in a way that made sense.

Things turned around almost three decades down the road, largely thanks to the visionary director Peter Jackson. The audio restoration technology his team developed for the documentary The Beatles: Get Back made it possible to isolate Lennon’s vocals from the instruments and eventually complete the song.

Even though “Now & Then” was billed as The Beatles’ last song together, Jackson believes it’s possible to use the same technology to resurrect some of their other lost tracks.

“We can take a performance from Get Back, separate John and George, and then have Paul and Ringo add a chorus or harmonies. You might end up with a decent song but I haven’t had conversations with Paul about that. It’s fanboy stuff, but certainly conceivable,” said Jackson told The Sunday Times.