Hello, Goodbye: The Beatles’ “Last Song,” “Now and Then,” Has Arrived

Now and Then,” the newly created track that’s being billed as The Beatles’ “last song,” has just been released as a digital single.

Videos by American Songwriter

The piano-driven ballad features a dramatic and melancholy vocal by John Lennon, lifted from a cassette demo the late Beatles star recorded during the late 1970s at his home in the Dakota building in New York City.

[RELATED: Watch Documentary About New Beatles Song, “Now and Then,” Featuring a Clip of the Tune]

The song starts simply, with just Lennon’s voice accompanied by piano and light drums. Soon strings well up, leading into the chorus, where Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr’s backing vocals join Lennon’s lead voice.

After the second chorus, the track moves into a slide-guitar solo and more string accompaniment. A third and final verse is followed by another slide-guitar interlude and some staccato strings before the song comes to an end with dramatic descending strings.

Here are the lyrics to “Now and Then”:

I know it’s true, it’s all because of you
And if I make it through, it’s all because of you
And now and then, if we must start again
Well, we will know for sure, that I will love you

Chorus: Now and then, I miss you
Oh, now and then, I want you to be there for me
Always to return to me

I know it’s true, it’s all because of you
And if you go away, I know you’ll never stay

Chorus: Now and then, I miss you
Oh, now and then, I want you to be there for me

I know it’s true, it’s all because of you
And if I make it through, it’s all because of you

“Now and Then” is available via major streaming services and as a digital download. The digital single also features a new mix of The Beatles’ original 1962 single version of “Love Me Do.”

A physical version of the single, featuring both tracks, will be released Friday, November 3, and will be available on 7-inch black and colored vinyl variants, on a 12-inch black vinyl disc, and on cassette. You can pre-order the single now. An official music video directed by The Beatles: Get Back filmmaker Peter Jackson will also premiere on Friday at The Beatles’ official YouTube channel.

As previously reported, “Now and Then” originally was supposed to have been included as part of The Beatles Anthology (1995-1996) compilation series, which included two other new songs created using unreleased Lennon demos that the band’s surviving members—McCartney, Starr, and George Harrison—completed by recording new accompanying tracks.

Because of technological limitations at the time, Lennon’s vocals and piano “Now and Then” couldn’t be enhanced adequately enough for a quality mix, so the track was shelved with hopes that it could be revisited when audio technology had advanced more.

Eventually, new audio technology that Jackson employed to enhance the sound of The Beatles: Get Back was utilized to lift Lennon’s vocals from the “Now and Then” demo, clearing the way for the song to be completed.

In 2022, McCartney and Starr added new instrumental tracks and backing vocals, while a Beatles-style string arrangement written by McCartney, producer Giles Martin, and composer Ben Foster was added as well.

A short documentary that tells the story of how “Now and Then” came into existence premiered on The Beatles’ YouTube channel on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, expanded 2023 editions of The Beatles’ 1962-1966 and 1967-1970 compilations, commonly known as “The Red Album” and “The Blue Album,” respectively, will be released in multiple formats and configurations on November 10, with “Now and Then” appearing on the updated “Blue Album.” You can pre-order the expanded compilations here.

Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images

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