It was just like playing with John again: Paul McCartney reveals it was ... trends now
Sir Paul McCartney has said it was 'magical' to be reunited with John Lennon for The Beatles' new and final song Now And Then - as he revealed it was like having the late star in the room again.
Emotional Beatles fans broke down today as they heard the band's 'masterpiece' which was written and sung by Lennon, developed by the late George Harrison and finished by Sir Paul and Sir Ringo Starr decades after the original recording.
Some 43 years after Lennon's death – and more than two decades on from Harrison's passing – The Beatles have come together with the help of AI and audio tech pioneered by Lord of the Rings and Get Back director Sir Peter Jackson.
Now And Then, written and sung by John in 1977, features acoustic and electric guitar played by Harrison in 1995. Sir Paul McCartney completed the bass and Sir Ringo Starr recorded the drums in the last year.
Describing how special it was to work with Lennon again, Sir Paul told BBC Radio 1: 'When we were in the studio we had John's voice in our ears, so you could imagine he was just in the next room in a vocal booth or something, and we were just working with him again so it was joyful.
'It was really lovely, you know, because we hadn't experienced that for a long time obviously and then suddenly here we were, working with ol' Johnny.'
LISTEN TO THE NEW BEATLES SONG BELOW
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Sir Paul McCartney playing bass on the new and final song Now And Then released today. He said it was just like playing with John Lennon again. It features all four Beatles
Ringo Starr recording the drums for the final track (pictured) in the last 12 months. It also includes electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995 by George and John Lennon's original vocals from the late 1970s
Tears of a Beatles fan this afternoon as she listens the new, and final, Beatles song as it was played today at the Liverpool Beatles Museum in Mathew Street
The Fab Four: (Clockwise from far left) George Harrison, Ringo Starr (at drums), Sir Paul McCartney, John Lennon in New York in 1964
Today at 2pm, Now And Then was debuted on the BBC and YouTube to the exultation and excitement of tens of millions of fans. Listening parties have been held all over the world, including in their home city of Liverpool at The Cavern Club and the Liverpool Beatles Museum. Tears were shed as the song played.
Describing how the opportunity came about, Sir Paul explained: 'Before John died he was working on some songs and Yoko (Ono, Lennon's wife) spoke to George Harrison and said "I've got a cassette with some John songs on that he never got to finish. Would you be interested in finishing them off?"
'So we thought about it and we thought "Yeah, it would be great", 'cause in a way we would be working with John again, which we thought we would never be able to do.
'We worked and finished two of the songs but we didn't get round to finishing the third one, and the third one is called Now And Then. So it was knocking around for a long time and I kept thinking "There's something here, you know, we should finish this".
'I ended up talking to Ringo and we asked him if he fancied putting the drums on again and then I thought "Well, I could up the bass a bit", so I put the bass on again. We already had George playing guitar and we had John on vocal - it was kind of magical doing it.
'So we ended up making it into a real record, and that's what's being released.'
Sir Paul said he hopes the track gives fans 'a loving feeling', adding: 'That's often what we were trying to do with our records - we were trying to spread love. And in this one it is very poignant.
Emotional fans listen with tears in their eyes at a party at the Liverpool Beatles Museum
Liam Gallagher led the reviews, and loved it as did millions of others
Back in the studio! The Beatles also released a short film revealing how they made their last song together 43 years after John Lennon 's death. Sir Paul McCartney pictured in the 1990s with George Harrison, who played the guitar track in 1995 before he died in 2001
Demo: The band are releasing the track, Now And Then, which late singer John began recording in the late 1970s before it was unearthed by his wife in the Nineties (pictured) and handed to Paul on a tape marked 'For Paul'
Referencing George Harrison 's death, Sir Paul said of the song: 'In 2001 we lost George, which took the wind out of our sails, it took almost a quarter of a century before we tackled Now And Then again'
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'It's John talking about 'I miss you' and stuff like that so... I think 'emotion' - that would be the key word for people to take away from it, 'emotion'.'
Earlier, Sir Paul said finishing his friend's lost love song felt like the Fab Four were all back together again, declaring today: 'To still be working on Beatles music in 2023. Wow. It's probably the last Beatles song, and we have all played on it so it is a genuine Beatles recording.
'Every time I thought, 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 have been: 'Yeah'.'
Among those to celebrate the song was Liam Gallagher who tweeted: 'Now n Then absolutely incredible biblical celestial heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time long live The Beatles LG x'.
BBC Radio 2 listeners, the first to hear it in the UK, said they were in tears as it played live. One, Gemma from Nottingham, said: 'Just wow. I got the shivers when I heard the one, two at the beginning of the track. That was amazing. I'm actually feeling a little bit emotional now'.
Another said: 'I'm in tears listening to the new Beatles track. Let's hope we have the Fab Four for Christmas number one'. A third fan said: 'I'm only in my mid 30s but The Beatles were a massive part of my childhood with my parents listening to them, and now this new song. I'm in tears, it sounds so haunting yet so beautiful'.
Now And Then is based on vocals recorded by John Lennon on to a cassette before his death.
He recorded the unfinished piece of music in 1977 as a demo at his home in New York City.
The tape, labelled simply: 'For Paul', was then handed to the band by Yoko Ono in 1994, and also contained Real Love and Free As A Bird.
George Harrison, who died in 2001, played the guitar on the songs in the 1995 and 1996.
But Now And Then was shelved, with a hope that one day it would be revisited, because John vocals could not be separated from his piano track, making his singing hard to hear.
But 2022 and 2023, Sir Paul McCartney completed the bass and Ringo the drums