Now & Then – The Last Beatles Song, a short film exploring the story of John, Paul, George and Ringo’s momentous final musical collaboration (above picture courtesy of Apple Corp Ltd )featuring never-before-seen footage from the studio and unreleased music is to air on BBC One at 19.30 (GMT) on 1 November.

Directed by Oliver Murray, (Ronnie’s, My Life As A Rolling Stone, and They All Came Out To Montreux), the film was made with the full support of the Lennon and Harrison Estates and in collaboration with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

The film’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 McCartney, Harrison, and Starr as part of The Beatles Anthology project. Still, it remained unfinished, partly because of the impossible technological challenges involved in working with the vocal Lennon had recorded on tape in the 1970s. For years it looked like the song could never be completed. But in 2022 the software system developed by Peter Jackson and his team, used throughout the production of the documentary series Get Back, opened the way for the uncoupling of Lennon’s vocals from his piano part.

As a result, the original recording could be brought to life and worked on anew with contributions from all four Beatles.

“The legacy of the Beatles set one of the most important foundations for modern youth culture and for a full stop to be added to their catalogue is a seismic shift in the history of music,” said Oliver Murray. “It is a great honour to be given the responsibility of bringing this moment to the screen and I think it will conjure up a lot of different emotions for people.

“Their influence resonates in every corner of artistry, shaping not just the music we listen to, but the way we perceive creativity. For a band that released their first single in 1962 to still be engaged with state-of-the-art technology is astounding. There’s been a lot of negativity around AI, and for good reason in many cases, but to see it used here with such warmth and attention to detail paints a much brighter future. Now and Then is a story of musical archaeology and a brotherly bond that gave the world some of the most popular music in history.”

Orofena Films said: “This remarkable story of musical archaeology reflects The Beatles’ endless creative curiosity and shared fascination with technology. It marks the completion of the last recording that Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr will get to make together and celebrates the legacy of the foremost and most influential band in popular music history.”

You can watch the trailer here

Michael Burns

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