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The song “Now And Then“, which was marketed as “The Last Beatles” song, was announced on October 26, 2023. It was released on November 3, as a double A-side single, and paired with a new stereo version of “Love Me Do“, the first Beatles single. The press release emphasized that the cover of the single was designed by artist Ed Ruscha.
Ed Ruscha had previously collaborated with Paul McCartney. He designed the album art and typography for Paul McCartney’s “McCartney III” in 2020, followed by the cover of “McCartney III Imagined” in 2021 and the box set “McCartney I II III” in 2022.
From TheBeatles.com, October 26, 2023:
“Now And Then” will be released worldwide at 2pm GMT / 10am EDT / 7am PDT on Thursday, November 2 by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. The double A-side single pairs the last Beatles song with the first: the band’s 1962 debut UK single, “Love Me Do,” a truly fitting full-circle counterpart to “Now And Then.” Both songs are mixed in stereo and Dolby Atmos, and the release features original cover art by renowned artist Ed Ruscha. The new music video for “Now And Then” will debut on Friday, November 3. More details including global premiere plans will be announced.
Intriguingly, Ed Ruscha has repeatedly used the words “Now” and “Then” in his work over the years. In 2005, he released a book of his work titled “Then & Now.” In 2014, he created a piece titled “THAT WAS THEN THIS IS NOW.” And in 2023, the Museum of Modern Art hosted a retrospective of his work titled “ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN.“
The Museum of Modern Art presents ED RUSCHA / NOW THEN, the most comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work ever staged, and his first solo exhibition at the Museum, from September 10, 2023, through January 13, 2024. Organized in close collaboration with the artist and mirroring his own cross-disciplinary approach, the exhibition will feature over 200 works, produced from 1958 to the present, in various media—including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, artist’s books, and installation—displayed according to a loose chronology throughout the Museum’s sixth- floor galleries. Alongside the artist’s most acclaimed works, the exhibition will highlight lesser-known aspects of his practice, offering new perspectives on one of the most influential figures in postwar American art.
The back cover of the single “Now And Then” was not designed by Ed Ruscha. It showcases a photograph by Rick Guest, capturing an artwork by American artist Chris Griffin. George Harrison acquired it from a shop in Providence, Rhode Island, back in 1997.
Fast forward to a moment steeped in nostalgia and a touch of the mystical. Olivia Harrison, George’s widow, had recently placed this artwork on her mantelpiece, a simple act that seemed to beckon an almost magical call from Paul McCartney. He rang to reminisce about “Now And Then.” As Olivia recalls, she stood there, phone in hand, her gaze drawn to the artwork, which echoed the song’s title. The coincidence left her astonished. “I was sort of dumbfounded,” she said. “I think this is George saying it’s OK.“
I put it on the mantelpiece. Then the phone rang. It’s Paul, and he begins to remind me of this third song with Real Love and Free As A Bird. I said “I remember it.’ He said ‘It’s called Now And Then.’ I’m standing there with the phone in one hand, looking at the clock that said Now And Then. I was sort of dumbfounded. I said ‘I think this is George saying it’s OK.’Olivia Harrison – From the inner sleeve of the “Now And Then” single
We were in this store. George saw this clock made out of bits and pieces and it had some scrabble letters and it just said “Now and Then.” He was attracted to it for some reason, just took it off the wall and bought it. Built this little Russian dacha in the garden and hung the clock in it and there it sat for 25 years. End of last summer, cleaned it up a little bit, put it on the mantelpiece. Phone rings. It’s Paul and begins to explain that there was… reminding me of this third song that was on the cassette tape with ‘Real Love’ and ‘Free as a Bird’ and I said I remember it. It’s called “Now and Then” and I’m standing there looking at the clock that said “Now and Then.” We were so moved and happy that this thing that George had held in his hand somehow magically appeared and I said I think this is Georgie saying it’s OK.Olivia Harrison – From George Harrison on X: “Here’s a surprising magical story about Now and Then. @thebeatles | @johnlennon | @PaulMcCartney | @ringostarrmusic https://t.co/v42YW40R4s” / X (twitter.com), November 20, 2023
Last updated on November 22, 2023