Now and Then (lost Beatles song; 1995)
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Now & Then is an unreleased song by former Beatle John Lennon originally recorded in 1978. The song was considered to be re-recorded as a tribute to Lennon by the surviving Beatle members in the 1990s, but was never released.
In 1989, surviving members of the Beatles (Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr), announced plans to provide an official timeline of their 10-year career as The Beatles, to be entitled "Anthology". Along with that announcement, rumors began circulating of the three remaining Beatles reuniting to make new music. The rumor was denied by the members and anyone associated with The Beatles at that time. It wasn't until 1994 the remaining members began discussing the idea. The main issue was that they felt uncomfortable working without Lennon, who had been murdered in 1980.
Paul McCartney soon approached Yoko Ono, Lennon's widow, under the suspicion that she would have some of Lennon's unused recordings. As a result, Ono gave McCartney three cassette tapes, one of which was found in Lennon's New York apartment with the words "For Paul" written on them in Lennon's handwriting.
The tapes contained the songs "Grow Old With Me" and "Now and Then", featuring Lennon on piano and vocals. The three remaining Beatles soon began work on all demos with Jeff Lynne producing. The first two songs, "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love", were completed and released in 1995 and 1996 on the first two volumes of the Anthology soundtracks. Production of "Now and Then" began in 1996, with a basic guitar track provided by Harrison and percussion track from Starr. Harrison later retorted the song, reportedly calling the song "f**kin rubbish." In 1997, the song was shelved and the overdubbing effort was left incomplete. In 2001, Harrison passed away after battling cancer, making the completion of the song even more difficult.
No content from the single overdub session has resurfaced.
In 2009, McCartney stated in an interview his interest in completing the song with Lynne and Starr, using the archived tracks that Harrison provided before his death. The only other thing needed is approval from Harrison's estate (owned by his widow, Olivia Harrison) and from Yoko Ono, which the status of their approval or disapproval is unknown.
The original Lennon piano demo of the track has since surfaced on YouTube, and there are also several fan edits of the song circulating on bootlegs.