The Beatles announce release of 'last song' Now and Then and reissued Red and Blue albums

26 October 2023, 14:18 | Updated: 1 November 2023, 10:00

The Beatles announce their last ever song
The Beatles announce their last ever song. Picture: The Beatles/Apple/Getty

By Tom Eames

It's finally coming: The Beatles are set to release their final ever song.

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It's been long rumoured and discussed by Beatles fans for decades, but the Fab Four's track 'Now and Then' will finally get its official released next month.

'Now And Then' is the last Beatles song, written and sung by John Lennon, developed and worked on by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and now finished by Paul and Ringo over four decades later.

It will be released worldwide at 2pm GMT on Thursday November 2.

The double A-side single pairs the last Beatles song with the first: the band’s 1962 debut UK single, 'Love Me Do'.

The new music video for 'Now And Then' will then debut on Friday, November 3.

A 12-minute Now And Then - The Last Beatles Song documentary film, written and directed by Oliver Murray, will premiere on November 1. The film’s global premiere will be hosted on The Beatles’ YouTube channel at 7.30pm GMT.

Watch the trailer for Now and Then - The Last Beatles Song

The poignant short film tells the story behind the last Beatles song, with footage and commentary from Paul, Ringo, George, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson.

Fans can pre-order the 'Now And Then'/'Love Me Do' double A-side single here. It will be available as a download, on streaming, and as a 7-inch black & coloured vinyl, and a 12-inch black vinyl. There will also be a limited edition cassette, and a 7-inch blue and white marbled vinyl. A CD single has also been announced.

Meanwhile, on November 10, The Beatles’ 1962-1966 (‘The Red Album’) and 1967-1970 (‘The Blue Album’) compilations will be released in 2023 Edition packages.

Both albums' tracklists have been expanded, with all the songs mixed in true stereo and Dolby Atmos. New 4CD and 180-gram 6LP vinyl collections pair Red and Blue in slipcased sets.

Who wrote and recorded 'Now and Then'?

In the late 1970s, John Lennon composed 'Now and Then'.He made a demo recording of the unfinished song at his home in the Dakota Building, New York City, in 1979.

The song is a typical example of the kind of love songs that Lennon wrote in the last part of his career, where he expressed regret and apology.

When did The Beatles work on it?

Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow, gave Paul, George and Ringo some of his unfinished songs to work on and turn into ‘new’ Beatles tracks for the Anthology project in the mid-1990s.

They completed two of them – ‘Free as a Bird’ and ‘Real Love’ – and they were the first tracks on the first two volumes of The Beatles' Anthology collections of archives.

There were also the songs 'Grow Old with Me' and 'Now and Then'. 'Grow Old with Me' was already released in 1984 on the posthumous album Milk and Honey, so the Beatles focused on 'Now and Then'.

The Beatles
The Beatles. Picture: Getty

In March 1995, the three surviving Beatles started working on 'Now and Then' by making a rough backing track that they would use as an overdub.

But they stopped working on the song after only two days of recording and gave up on the idea of a third reunion single.

The project was mostly abandoned because George Harrison did not like the song.Paul McCartney later said that George called Lennon’s demo recording “f***ing rubbish”.

McCartney told Q in 1997 that “George didn’t like it. The Beatles being a democracy, we didn’t do it.”

A person who was part of the sessions told the Daily Express: “George just didn’t want to rework it because it’s not a matter of putting some vocals, or a bit of bass and drums to finish it. With this, you have to really build the song.”