It took just 53 years since their break-up, 45 after John Lennon recorded a home demo, 27 from their previous song, and the assistance of technology that could’ve been equated to literal magic at any of those points, but the Beatles have released their final track. (And one hopes not the last thing to come from the vaults, “Carnival of Light” remaining under lock and key.) “Now and Then” began with John Lennon’s home-demo tape in 1978, was under consideration by the remaining Beatles during their Anthology project from the mid-90s, and then jettisoned for its poor audio quality; only with the machine-separating technology Peter Jackson’s Weta innovated for Get Back were Lennon’s vocals isolated and Paul McCartney’s decades-long dream to complete the song fulfilled. Add a George Harrison guitar recorded in 1995, get Ringo back in the studio, record a new string section, and cobble together some old harmonies
With this week’s release (the most lavish treatment I’ve ever seen bestowed on one song) comes a video directed by Jackson, his first, that spans the Beatles’ 65 years––from supposed first footage of them in concert to the present day. The whole thing has far more of an On Cinema quality than I’d predicted, about which: great! The Beatles often worked with a silly, sometimes outright-stupid sense of humor––it’s arguably their best way to stand on ceremony. Promoting “Now and Then,” also is a new documentary short on the song’s history, and which I now realize you could’ve just watched instead of listen to me provide context.
Watch both below: