Musician sadly died before she knew she played on The Beatles' final song 'Now and Then'
14 November 2023, 12:54
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It must've been a dream come true.
For viola player Caroline Buckman, that's precisely what happened in April 2022 when she was asked by Paul McCartney to perform on a new song that was in the works.
Hired at short notice for a three-hour session that paid "a couple hundred bucks", Buckman was "delirious" at being handed such an opportunity.
As first reported by broadcaster CBC, the musician was one of a handful that believed to be working on a new McCartney solo song.
Even the sheet music they were given was titled 'Give & Take' as a decoy, not to give the game away, with the only writing on the sheet stating: "Strings arranged by Paul McCartney, Giles Martin and Ben Foster."
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Tragically however, Caroline Buckman lost her battle with breast cancer in March 2023 at the age of 48, without knowing exactly what her recording was used for due to the intense secrecy around the project.
Her mother has now spoken about the immense pride she felt after discovering that Buckman can be heard on a song that is attributed to arguably the most culturally significant band of the 20th century.
The Beatles - Now And Then - The Last Beatles Song (Short Film)
Her family were only informed she made up part of the song's string section once the song was released.
Erika Buckman, Caroline's mother, recalled her surprise after receiving a phone call the day 'Now and Then' was released into the world.
Knowing her daughter was present on one of The Beatles' songs, she admitted her initial reaction was: "You’re going to make me cry,"
Adding how Caroline would've felt if she knew, Erika said: "She would have been delirious about it. It is sad… [but] I'm very proud."
It was an acquaintance of fellow musician Songa Lee - a close friend of Buckman's who also played on the song - that broke the news.
"Did you know you are in a documentary?", Lee revealed. "You played on The Beatles' song."
She was so emotional and overwhelmed that she called Erika to explain, saying that Caroline "definitely would have cried knowing that."
"It would have meant the world to anybody, but for her in particular, of all the musicians I know and work with, this probably would have been the most astounding and fantastic thing."
The Beatles - Now And Then (Official Music Video)
Caroline was a revered musician, known as a big-hearted individual who befriended many of the artists she got to work with.
"She was just very warm and loving and generous," Lee says. "She was always thinking about what she could do to help her friends. She really loved being a good friend."
But she was surprisingly starstruck by McCartney, and broke her rule of asking the music icon to sign her sheet music for her, which he duly obliged.
"In her entire career, she'd never asked a colleague [for an autograph]," Caroline's boyfriend Mitch Brown said. "She was super-thrilled. She said, 'I played with Paul McCartney today',".
Throughout the sessions, McCartney declined to sit in the mixing room whilst the string players added their part, with one of the musicians revealing he said: "No, this is where the magic happens… I just wanna sit here and enjoy it."