It’s been more than six decades since The Beatles started their iconic journey as a band with their debut UK single “Love Me Do” — and now, in 2023, the surviving members are releasing the group’s final song together.
“Now and Then” will arrive on Nov. 2 at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT from Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe, and it marks the last song written by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. McCartney and Starr finished the song together, more than 40 years after its inception.
The double A-side single also includes a sweet full-circle moment, as its paired with “Love Me Do,” featuring the original cover art shot by Ed Ruscha. Both songs have been mixed in stereo and Dolby Atmos.
Additionally, a 12-minute Now and Then — The Last Beatles Song documentary film will arrive on Nov. 1. The Oliver Murray-writen doc will tell the story behind the track and will feature exclusive footage and commentary from McCartney, Starr and Harrison, as well as Sean Ono Lennon Get Back director and Peter Jackson. Watch the trailer below.
“Now and Then” begins in the late 1970s, when John recorded a demo with vocals and piano at his home in New York’s Dakota Building. In 1994, his wife, Yoko Ono Lennon, gave the recording to Paul, George and Ringo, along with John’s demos for “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love.” In 2022, Paul and Ringo set out to complete “Now and Then.” In addition to John’s vocal, the song includes electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995 by Harrison; Starr’s new drum part; and bass, guitar and piano from McCartney, who also added a slide guitar solo inspired by George.
“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,” Starr said of the process in a press statement, with McCartney adding, “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.”
And that’s not all: On Nov. 10, The Beatles’ 1962-1966 (The Red Album) and 1967-1970 (The Blue Album) collections will be released in 2023 Edition packages by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. Both collections’ track lists have been expanded, with all the songs mixed in stereo and Dolby Atmos and new 4CD and 180-gram 6LP vinyl collections that pair Red and Blue in slipcased sets. The UK single version of “Love Me Do” now kicks off 1962-1966 (2023 Edition) and “Now and Then” is featured on 1967-1970 (2023 Edition) to complete the career-spanning collections.
Preorder and pre-save 1962-1966 and 1967-1970 (2023 Editions) here.