- Publish Date
- Thursday, 2 November 2023, 3:04PM
Today the last ever new Beatles song is being released,thanks to the help of AI, and to celebrate The Beatles have also put out a short film about Now and Then's five-decade-long creation.
The John Lennon demo was first worked on in February 1995 by Paul, George and Ringo as part of The Beatles Anthology project but it remained unfinished, partly due to the impossible technological challenges involved in working with the vocal John had recorded on tape in the 1970s.
However, in 2022 thanks to a software system developed by Peter Jackson and his team, which was used throughout the production of the documentary series Get Back, the original recording was finally able to be recreated and restored.
You can watch Now And Then - The Last Beatles Song (Short Film) above!
Sir Peter Jackson directed the short film and in an interview on the official Beatles website shared that it made George Harrison’s son cry.
"We wanted the short film to bring a few tears to the eye, but generating emotion using only archive footage is a tricky thing. Fortunately, the simple power of this beautiful song did a lot of the work for us, and we finished the first 30 or 40 secs of the film fairly quickly.
"Having done that, we jumped straight to the ending and tried to craft something that could adequately sum up the enormity of The Beatles’ legacy - in the last few seconds of their final recording. This proved to be impossible... I realised we needed the imagination of every viewer to do what we couldn’t, and have each viewer create their own personal moment of farewell to The Beatles - but we had to gently steer everyone to that place. I had some vague ideas, but didn’t really know how to achieve this.
"Fortunately, Dhani Harrison happened to be visiting NZ at this time. I discussed the ending with him, and described one vague idea I’d been toying with. His eyes immediately filled with tears - so that is the way we went."
Peter Jackson was responsible for isolating Lennon's voice from the 1970s demo - originally recorded with the late musician playing the piano as well - which had been presented to Paul by Yoko Ono back in 1994 when the three remaining Beatles were working on new music for their 'Anthology' project.
Despite his success and skill as a director and the fact he had worked with Paul and Ringo closely on the 'Get Back' documentary, he felt the pressure of being the man responsible for creating the last ever Beatles music video.
"When Apple asked me to make the music video, I was very reluctant - I thought my next few months would be a hell of a lot more fun if that tricky task was somebody else’s problem, and I could be like any other Beatles fan, enjoying the night-before-Christmas anticipation as the release of a new Beatles song and music video approached... I could have that experience once again - all I had to do was say no to The Beatles.
"To be honest, just thinking about the responsibility of having to make a music video worthy of the last song The Beatles will ever release produced a collection of anxieties almost too overwhelming to deal with. My lifelong love of The Beatles collided into a wall of sheer terror at the thought of letting everyone down. This created intense insecurity in me because I’d never made a music video before, and was not able to imagine how I could even begin to create one for a band that broke up over 50 years ago, had never actually performed the song, and had half of its members no longer with us.
"It was going to be far easier to do a runner."
- Additional writing by Bang! Showbiz