- Timeline This film has been released in 2023
- Release date:
- Nov 01, 2023
2023 • For The Beatles • Directed by Peter Jackson
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“Now and Then“, dubbed the last Beatles song, was released on November 2, 2023. To generate excitement for the release, a 12-minute documentary film, which tells the story behind the song, was released on November 1. It features footage from the 1994-1995 Beatles reunion, where the three surviving Beatles attempted to work on “Now and Then,” as well as new videos from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Peter Jackson working on the track in 2023, and historical Beatles videos as well as new 2023 interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Sean Lennon.
The legacy of the Beatles set one of the most important foundations for modern youth culture. It is a great honor to be given the responsibility of telling this story and I think it will conjure up a lot of different emotions for people as we all have a very personal relationship to the band’s work. ‘Now And Then’ is a story of musical archaeology and a brotherly bond between four guys that gave the world some of the most popular entertainment in history.Oliver Murray – Director – From variety.com, November 1, 2023
I think all the best music documentaries, they’re not really about music. They use music to Trojan-horse something else. So I like the idea that, if you watch this for the first time, the way it’s all teed up is that you go along on a journey with John’s tape. The tape moves geographically and through time, and John is therefore the character that is emerging out of it.Oliver Murray – Director – From thedailybeast.com, November 1, 2023
People think it was just bots making a fake Beatles record. So it was important to us to have a moment in the film where you hear John’s voice — just his voice—after it was cleaned up by Peter Jackson and his head of machine learning, Emile de la Rey, and it sounds just like it should. Because even once his voice was separated and cleaned up and rebuilt, they placed him in a room, using the sound of the kind of microphone John would have used, really making sure that they got an authentic 1970s sound off of that tape.Oliver Murray – Director – From thedailybeast.com, November 1, 2023
I do feel like it’s a big thing, and I will allow myself to think it’s a big deal, because I’m very proud of what we’ve done. I think it’s an important story. That word gets bandied around way too much, but if the last Beatles record isn’t an important milestone in the history of modern music, then I don’t really know what is.Oliver Murray – Director – From thedailybeast.com, November 1, 2023
Making good music in a band is all about chemistry. The way our four very different personalities combined in The Beatles was something very special. When we lost John, we knew that it was really over. But in 1994, amazingly, an interesting opportunity arose where we could make more music together.Paul McCartney – 2023 interview – From the documentary.
George and Ringo came down to my studio. We listened to the track. There’s John in his apartment in New York City, banging away at his piano, doing a little demo. Is it something we shouldn’t do? Every time I thought like that, I thought, ‘Wait a minute. Let’s say I had a chance to ask John, ‘Hey John, would you like us to finish this last song of yours?’ I’m telling you, I know the answer would’ve been: Yeah! he would’ve loved that.
We did ‘Free as a Bird’ and ‘Real Love,’ and we got a little bit of time left to do ‘Now and Then.’
On John’s demo tape, the piano was a little hard to hear. And in those days, of course, we didn’t have the technology to do the separation.
Every time I want a little bit more of John’s voice, this piano came through and clouded the picture. I think we kind of ran out of steam a bit, and time, and it was like, well, I don’t know — maybe we’ll leave this one.
“Now And Then” just kind of languished in a cupboard. And then in 2001, we lost George, which kind of took the wind out of our sails. It took almost a quarter of a century for us to wait until the right moment to tackle “Now And Then” again.
With the technology that Peter Jackson and his team had worked out during the Get Back movie, he’d been able to separate off certain instruments and voices. We thought, “Well, we’d better send John’s voice to them off the original cassette.Paul McCartney – 2023 interview – From the documentary.
My dad would have loved that because he was never shy to experiment with recording technology. I think it’s really beautiful.Sean Lennon – 2023 interview – From the documentary.
They said this is the sound of John’s voice [Paul imitates computer noise]. A few seconds later or however long it took, and there it was: John’s voice, crystal clear. So in the mix, we could lift John’s voice without lifting the piano, which had always been one of the problems. Now we could mix it and make a proper record of it. I pulled it out, had a listen to it, and thought, ‘Oh, I could actually do the bass a bit better. So why don’t I start there?Paul McCartney – 2023 interview – From the documentary.
Paul called me up and said he’d like to work on “Now And Then”. “What do you think?” I think it’s great. So he put the bass on, he sent the files to me, I put the drums on.Ringo Starr – 2023 interview – From the documentary.
It really brought it on, you know. And so now we had a track that was really starting to cook.
I’d been vaguely thinking strings might be a good thing. The Beatles did lots of string things, you know: Strawberry Fields, Yesterday, I Am The Walrus… We wanted to go to Capitol Studios because that had been EMI, and it was sort of “Beatley.” Giles worked on an arrangement like Giles’ dad [original Beatles producer George Martin] would’ve done in the old days. We had to put the music out on the stands for the musicians, but we couldn’t tell ’em it was a new Beatles song. It was all a bit hush-hush. We pretended it was just something of mine.
On the new album, there’s a guitar solo. We had kept George’s guitar parts from ’95. And I thought what I’d like to do is do a slide guitar solo in George’s style. It was really a tribute to George.
And then we started mixing it. Wow, this is it. Now it’s a Beatle record.Paul McCartney – 2023 interview – From the documentary.
It was incredibly touching to hear them working together after all the years my dad had been gone. It’s the last song that my dad and Paul and George and Ringo will get to make together.Sean Lennon – 2023 interview – From the documentary.
All of those memories come flooding back. My god, how lucky was I to have those men in my life, and to work with those men so intimately, and to come up with such a body of music. To still be working on Beatles’ music in 2023: WOW! We’re actually messing around with state of the art technology, which is something The Beatles would’ve been very interested in. “Now And Then,” it’s probably, like, the last Beatles song, and we’ve all played on it. So it is a genuine Beatle recording.Paul McCartney – 2023 interview – From the documentary.
From TheBeatles.com, October 26, 2023:
A 12-minute “Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song” documentary film, written and directed by Oliver Murray, will debut on November 1. The film’s global online premiere will be hosted on The Beatles’ YouTube channel at 7:30pm GMT / 3:30pm EDT / 12:30pm PDT. This poignant short film tells the story behind the last Beatles song, with exclusive footage and commentary from Paul, Ringo, George, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson.
From The Beatles, October 31, 2023:
Watch the 12-minute documentary film which tells the story behind the last Beatles song, with exclusive footage and commentary from Paul, Ringo, George, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson.
‘Now and Then’s eventful journey to fruition took place over five decades and is the product of conversations and collaborations between the four Beatles that go on to this day. The long mythologised 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 because of the impossible technological challenges involved in working with the vocal John had recorded on tape in the 1970s.
For years it looked like the song could never be completed. But in 2022 there was a stroke of serendipity. A software system developed by Peter Jackson and his team, used throughout the production of the documentary series Get Back, finally opened the way for the uncoupling of John’s vocal from his piano part.
The short-film tells the story of the original recording being brought back to life with contributions from all four Beatles – marking the completion of the last recording that John, Paul, George and Ringo will get to make together.
“Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song” documentary film, written and directed by Oliver Murray, will debut on November 1. The film’s global online premiere will be hosted on The Beatles’ YouTube channel at 7:30pm GMT / 3:30pm EDT / 12:30pm PDT. This poignant short film tells the story behind the last Beatles song, with exclusive footage and commentary from Paul, Ringo, George, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson.
The Film Premieres Around the Globe
The film is also being shown on TV around the globe on the following channels – but check local listings to confirm schedule and channel.
Territory of Broadcast Broadcaster / Channel Time and Date of Broadcast Australia + Territories detailed below ABC /ABC & ABC News November 1st 7:30pm GMT Belgium, Flanders VRT / Canvas & VRT Max (online) November 1st 7:30pm GMT Belgium, Wallinder RTBF / La Trois November 3rd 10pm CET Canada CBC /CBC TV & CBC NEWS NETWORK November 1st 7:30pm GMT Columbia Canal/ Canal 13 November 4th 10pm local time Costa Rica Rock N Wine / 101 8pm local time on Nov 3rd 2023 Denmark DRTV/ DR1 & DR2 November 1st 8:30pm CET/ 7:30pm GMT El Salvador Pop 12 / Canal 12 5pm local time on 3 Nov 2023 Finland YLE/ YLE TV2 & YLE Teema November 1st 7:30pm GMT France Mainland, Overseas departments, Monaco and Andorra France TV / France 4 & Culture Box November 1st 7:30pm GMT Germany ZDF / ZDF Mediathek [TBC] Guatemala Más Música TV / Channel 78 [TBC] local time on Nov 3rd 2023 Honduras Canal 11 / Canall 11 10am local time on [Nov 3rd] 2023 Hong Kong ViuTV / ViuTV99 November 2nd 12:30pm local time Hong Kong PCCW/ Now True On Demand [TBC] Israel YES DBS / Yes Docu November 1st 21:30 pm local time. Italy RTL / RTL 102.5, RADIO FRECCIA, RADIO ZETA RADIO & Correspomnding Radio TV Channels November 1st 8:30pm CET/ 7:30pm GMT Japan NTV / [CHANNEL] November 18th [TIME] Mexico TV Azteca / [CHANNEL] November 1st 7:30pm GMT / 1:30PM MEXICO CITY TIME Nicaragua Megabox / Canal 5 4pm local time on [Nov 3rd] 2023 Panama Oye TV / Canal 7 1pm local time on Nov 8 2023 Poland TVN/ TVN 24 (News) Spain and Andorra Telefonica/Movistar Plus + & Música por Movistar y& Documentales por Movistar November 1st after 7:30pm GMT / 8:30PM CET Switzerland SRG SSR / SRF 1 November 2nd, 18:35 CET Switzerland and Lichtenstein Blue TV/ Blue Zoom November 3rd 18:30 CET UK BBC / BBC 1 November 1st 7:20pm GMT US + Territories detailed below PBS/ All Stations November 14th (across 1 week)
Last updated on November 2, 2023