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The Beatles Detail New Single ‘Now And Then,’ ‘Red’/’Blue’ Reissues

Track features John Lennon's vocal from a late 1970s demo tape and new contributions from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr
The Beatles in April 1969 (photo: Bruce McBroom / Apple Corps Ltd.)

After Paul McCartney shocked the music world by teasing a “final Beatles song” this summer built around a late 1970s John Lennon solo demo, the group’s Apple Corps Ltd. today (Oct. 26) confirmed details about the track as well as two related reissues. “Now and Then” will arrive Nov. 2, backed on its Ed Ruscha-designed single by the Beatles‘ 1962 debut U.K. single, “Love Me Do.” A 12-minute making-of film, written and directed by Oliver Murray, will be released the day before, with a music video for “Now and Then” set for Nov. 3.

“Now and Then” and “Love Me Do” will also appear on expanded 50th anniversary reissues of the beloved Beatles compilations 1962-1966 (The Red Album) and 1967-1970 (The Blue Album), which will be released Nov. 10 in multiple CD and vinyl configurations. The music on these editions has been mixed in stereo and Dolby Atmos.

In June, McCartney told the BBC that the then-unnamed Beatles track was built around “John’s voice and a piano” isolated from the original cassette tape utilizing the same technology which was instrumental in bringing out new audio details in Peter Jackson’s 2021 Beatles documentary Get Back. After fans expressed their concern that Artificial Intelligence may have been utilized, McCartney quickly clarified, “nothing has been artificially or synthetically created. It’s all real and we all play on it.”

With help from producer Jeff Lynne, McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison spent time trying to turn “Now and Then” into a complete song during 1994 and 1995 sessions for the Beatles Anthology, but could not agree on a path forward and left it unfinished. Two other “new” Beatles songs were created from similar Lennon demos for the project, “Free As a Bird” and ‘Real Love.” However, McCartney mentioned in interviews for years that he one day hoped to revisit “Now and Then,” which has long circulated as a bootleg.

Beyond Lennon’s vocal, “Now and Then” retains the late Harrison’s 1995-era acoustic and electric guitar parts, sports a new drum part from Starr, and bass, guitar, piano, and slide guitar from McCartney. The string arrangement was written by Giles Martin, McCartney, and Ben Foster, while Martin wove in original backing vocals from Beatles songs “Here, There and Everywhere,” “Eleanor Rigby,” and “Because,” in much the same mashup fashion as the Beatles’ 2006 Love album.

“There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear,” McCartney says. “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.” Adds Starr, “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.”

“Back in 1995, after several days in the studio working on the track, George felt the technical issues with the demo were insurmountable and concluded that it was not possible to finish the track to a high enough standard,” says Harrison’s widow Olivia. “If he were here today, Dhani and I know he would have whole-heartedly joined Paul and Ringo in completing the recording of ‘Now and Then.’”

“It was incredibly touching to hear them working together after all the years that Dad had been gone,” says Lennon and Yoko Ono’s son Sean, who was only five years old when his father was murdered in New York in December 1980. “It’s the last song my dad, Paul, George, and Ringo got to make together. It’s like a time capsule and all feels very meant to be.”

Here is the tracklist for 1962-1966 (The Red Album):

Love Me Do (2023 Mix)
Please Please Me (2023 Mix)
I Saw Her Standing There (2023 Mix)
Twist And Shout (2023 Mix)
From Me To You (2023 Mix)
She Loves You (2023 Mix)
I Want To Hold Your Hand (2023 Mix)
This Boy (2023 Mix)
All My Loving (2023 Mix)
Roll Over Beethoven (2023 Mix)
You Really Got A Hold On Me (2023 Mix)
Can’t Buy Me Love (2023 Mix)
You Can’t Do That (2023 Mix)
A Hard Day’s Night (2023 Mix)
And I Love Her (2023 Mix)
Eight Days A Week (2023 Mix)
I Feel Fine (2023 Mix)
Ticket To Ride (2023 Mix)
Yesterday (2023 Mix)
Help! (2023 Mix)
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (2023 Mix)
We Can Work It Out (2023 Mix)
Day Tripper (2023 Mix)
Drive My Car (2023 Mix)
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (2023 Mix)
Nowhere Man (2023 Mix)
Michelle (2023 Mix)
In My Life (2023 Mix)
If I Needed Someone (2023 Mix)
Girl (2023 Mix)
Paperback Writer (2022 Mix)
Eleanor Rigby (2022 Mix)
Yellow Submarine (2022 Mix)
Taxman (2022 Mix)
Got To Get You Into My Life (2022 Mix)
I’m Only Sleeping (2022 Mix)
Here, There And Everywhere (2022 Mix)
Tomorrow Never Knows (2022 Mix)

Here is the tracklist for 1967-1970 (The Blue Album):

Strawberry Fields Forever (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)
Penny Lane (2017 Mix)
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017 Mix)
With A Little Help From My Friends (2017 Mix)
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (2017 Mix)
Within You Without You (2017 Mix)
A Day In The Life (2017 Mix)
All You Need Is Love (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)
I Am The Walrus (2023 Mix)
Hello, Goodbye (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)
The Fool On The Hill (2023 Mix)
Magical Mystery Tour (2023 Mix)
Lady Madonna (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)
Hey Jude (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)
Revolution (2023 Mix)
Back In The U.S.S.R. (2018 Mix)
Dear Prudence (2018 Mix)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (2018 Mix)
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (2018 Mix)
Glass Onion (2018 Mix)
Blackbird (2018 Mix)
Hey Bulldog (2023 Mix)
Get Back (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)
Don’t Let Me Down (2021 Mix)
The Ballad Of John And Yoko (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)
Old Brown Shoe (2023 Mix)
Here Comes The Sun (2019 Mix)
Come Together (2019 Mix)
Something (2019 Mix)
Octopus’s Garden (2019 Mix)
Oh! Darling (2019 Mix)
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (2019 Mix)
Let It Be (2021 Mix)
Across The Universe (2021 Mix)
I Me Mine (2021 Mix)
The Long And Winding Road (2021 Mix)
Now And Then