“Now and Then” was written, sung and recorded with piano on a cassette tape by John Lennon in the late 1970’s at his apartment in the famous luxury Dakota building, which borders Central Park at W 72nd Street in New York City’s Upper West Side.
Now and Then (John Lennon)
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 (Ah-ah)
If we must start again (Ah-ah)
Well, we will know for sure
That I love you
I don't wanna lose you, oh no, no
Abuse you or confuse you
Oh no, no, sweet darlin'
But if you have to go (Go), away (Ah-ah-ah)
If you have to go, well you the reason [?]
Now (Now) and then (And then)
I miss you (I miss you)
Oh, now (Now) and then (And then)
I want you to return to me
'Til you return to me
Lennon was shot to death outside his apartment on the evening of December 8, 1980, by Mark David Chapman, whose next parole opportunity is in 2024. Lennon’s murder will be the topic of an upcoming documentary on Apple TV+. A release date for the highly anticipated 3-part series, “John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial”, has not been announced, but it promises to be the most revealing documentary yet.
The cassette containing the foundational elements of “Now and Then” was stashed away at the Dakota until 1994, when Yoko Ono (Lennon’s second wife) gave it to Paul McCartney, who worked with the remaining Beatles to finalize the song. At the time, there were technical problems separating Lennon’s voice from the piano, and generally poor audio quality, so “Now and Then” was eventually shelved … until recently.
“There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear. It’s quite emotional. And we all play on it, it’s a genuine Beatles recording. In 2023, to still be working on Beatles music, and about to release a new song the public haven’t heard, I think it’s an exciting thing.” (Paul McCartney)
“It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room, so it was very emotional for all of us. It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.” (Ringo Starr)
After an incredible amount of work by immensely talented music and technical specialists, the completed version of “Now and Then” features electric and acoustic guitar tracks laid down by George Harrison in 1995 (he died from oropharyngeal cancer in 2001 at age 58), new drum components and backing vocals by Ringo Starr, and bass, guitar and piano by Paul McCartney. A string arrangement was added, as well as a nostalgic medley of backing vocals from “Here, There and Everywhere” (1966), “Eleanor Rigby” (1966) and “Because” (1969). The finished track attributes production to Paul McCartney and Giles Martin (son of the late Beatles record producer George Martin), with mixing by the highly acclaimed Spike Stent.
“The Last Beatles Song” documentary film will premiere on Wednesday, hosted on the Beatles’ YouTube channel, as well as on CBC TV and CBC Gem (in Canada).
The song itself will be unveiled on Thursday, paired with the Beatles’ first-ever single “Love Me Do” (1962).
A music video will debut on Friday.
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