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Inside the magic of the Beatles’ last song

«Making good music in a band is all about alchemy. The way our four different personalities came together in The Beatles was a very special thing.” Talking is Paul McCartney. His voice is in the background while the images of four very young boys flash on the screen. From then on they would become the Beatlesi.e. the most iconic band ever. «When we lost John (Lennon, ed)», continues McCartney, «we knew it was really over. Then incredibly, in 1994, an opportunity arose to make more music together”.

It opens like this Now And Then – The Last Beatles Songthe emotional short – directed by Oliver Murray – which tells the story behind the Beatles’ last song, Now And Then, available worldwide from November 2nd. The documentary commented by Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson, which we saw in preview, has the power from the first minute to take us back into the atmosphere of the greatest and most beloved band ever. It tells the story behind the scenes of the work that lasted almost thirty years that led to this last song, thanks to the use of the most sophisticated technologies and the magic that despite everything still binds the Fab Four. «I was talking to Yoko (Or noted.), who told me: “Ah, I think I have a tape of John’, recalls George, reliving the moment they received the recording of the singer that started it all. «We could have used John and tried to make a record. It was the best opportunity ever to have him with us again.”explains Ringo.

It’s also on video Sean Lennon, the son of John and Yoko who is now 48 years old while he was only 5 when he lost his father: «I remember when I lived in the Dakota with dad and mom. There’s this idea that my dad stopped making music for a while to raise me, but he was always playing music around the house. He was recording demos all the time, and I remember him using those cassette decks. Mom had a handful of songs that my dad hadn’t finished, and he gave them to the other Beatles.” George, Ringo and Paul in 1995 thus had the opportunity to listen to their friend’s never-finished song: there’s him playing the piano in his home in New York and recording a short demo. The three ask themselves whether to continue: «Is this something we shouldn’t do?», continues McCartney, «But every time I thought about it, I said to myself: wait a minute, suppose I had had the chance to ask John “hey, would you like if we finished this latest song of yours?” I assure you, I know she would have answered “yes!”. He would have liked it.”

However, the piano covers John Lennon’s voice a lot, the sounds are muffled. Now and Then it ends up in a drawer and remains there until 2001, when the Beatles also lose George Harrison and “all the energy to make new music”. We will have to wait for 2022 and the meeting with Peter Jackson, the Oscar-winning director who signed the beautiful series Get Back, seven and a half incredible hours for any fan of the group and beyond. Jackson has the technology and the right team at his disposal to get that tape out of the drawer. During the processing of Get Back, in fact, the director showed McCartney and Ringo how it was possible to take an audio track and separate all the various components into new, different tracks. «My father would have liked it, because he was never afraid to experiment with new recording technologies. I think it’s really cool,” says Sean. The most exciting moment arrives, the lights dim: «A few seconds or so later, we were there: we heard John’s voice, absolutely crystal clear.”, Paul recalls. And again: «Paul called me and said he would like to work on it Now and then, asking what I thought,” Ringo continues, “I said, ‘I think it’s great.’ So he put the bass on it and sent me the files, then I added the drums.”

The two also add strings and return, in great secrecy, to Capitol Studios to record. McCartney finishes the song with a guitar solo. «Then we started mixing it. Wow, here we go, now it’s a Beatles song.”he says, «All the memories come back to me. God, how lucky I was to have those men in my life.” And how lucky we were to have them, the Beatles.

The short Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song, after being broadcast by the BBC on the evening of November 1st and exclusively for Italy by Rtl 102.5, Radiofreccia and Radio Zeta, is available on YouTube on the official Beatles channel.

Source: Vanity Fair

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