The Beatles’ very last song sent fans into a frenzy when it hit the airwaves last week.
And now Giles Martin, the son of the band’s unofficial fifth member George Martin, has given insight into the making of the song, which was completed using modern technology more than five decades after it was first recorded.
Speak with The sunGiles, whose father George was a producer on many of the band’s albums, said Paul McCartney contacted him about completing the demo after John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono presented it to the band in 1994.
He said: ‘I know Paul and he has a great memory. I’m sure it bothered him that they never finished it.’
Giles added that there was “no marketing plan” behind releasing the song, and Yoko simply handed the song over to the band because it was “a beautiful tune” that John had written.
Inside: Giles Martin, the son of George Martin, the unofficial fifth member of The Beatles, has given insight into the making of their last ever song, Now And Then
The song is tipped to become The Beatles’ 18th UK number one, a huge achievement more than 50 years after the foursome last performed together.
It was the technology used in Peter Jacksons’ 2021 documentary Get Back, which allowed Paul to use the same AI system to separate John’s singing from his piano playing on the original demo.
Giles added: “You have someone who happens to be Paul McCartney, and he happens to have been in a band with his best friend, John Lennon.
‘There was a fight, as everyone knows, but it wasn’t about their friendship. It was based on finance and business, and it was nothing like the Gallagher brothers or the Everly Brothers.”
Since 2006, Giles has been one of the custodians of The Beatles’ musical legacy, after he and father George co-produced the group’s sound collage Love.
He also worked on the 50th Anniversary remixes of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The White Album, Abbey Road and Let It Be and is working on audio for the Get Back films.
After his death in 1980 at the age of 40, Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono gave the recording to the surviving Beatles in 1994, along with Free As A Bird and Real Love, which were released by the band in the same decade.
During this period, Harrison, Sir Paul and Sir Ringo recorded new cuts and completed a rough mix for Now And Then with producer and musician Jeff Lynne.
Praised: Giles said Paul McCartney contacted him about completing the demo after John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono handed it over to the band in 1994
Important: Giles has been one of the custodians of The Beatles’ musical legacy since 2006, after he and father George co-produced the group’s sound collage Love
However, the band did not release the song, citing issues related to extracting Lennon’s vocals and piano due to limited technology at the time. Harrison later died in November 2001 at the age of 58.
Filmmaker Peter Jackson’s recent Beatles documentary used audio restoration technology that allowed the band’s vocals, music and conversations to be isolated, a technique later used for Now And Then.
The song, which features Harrison’s electric and acoustic guitar, recorded in 1995, was completed last year by Sir Paul and Sir Ringo.
Jackson has also created a music video for the song, which reunites the Fab Four as Lennon and Harrison play instruments alongside recent footage of surviving members Sir Paul and Sir Ringo.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Sir Paul said: ‘I like the idea of not letting go of each other.
“You know, when you have someone you love so much. In many cases it is a family member, and even if they go, you don’t want to let them go – that’s what people say when someone dies.
‘They are in your memory, always in your heart. And yes, that certainly applies to me and the boys.’
Reflecting on how he would like the band to be remembered, he added: ‘I remember the Beatles, I remember joy, talent, humor and love.
“And if people remember us for those things, I would be very happy.”
Sir Ringo said he would like the group to be remembered ‘fondly’.
The drummer added, “How many streams did we do last year? A billion? Three billion? It blows me away. The beat’s still going, you know?’
Emotional fans took to social media to applaud the “compelling, emotional and moving” music video for The Beatles’ latest song.
Using CGI, the clip – directed by Peter Jackson – cleverly reunites Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr with the dearly departed John Lennon and George Harrison.
One fan called it ‘so compelling, emotional and moving. Fantastic work from everyone involved.’ Another wrote: ‘Honestly so emotional! Their last work together…’
Praised: Fans have praised the song and its accompanying music video as an emotional swan song for the band
Another wrote: ‘Honestly so emotional! Their last work together…’
The video features the earliest ever footage of the band, filmed in a church hall in Merseyside in 1962, before they became the world’s most famous rock stars and manager Brian Epstein convinced them to all wear smart suits.
Pete Best, The Beatles’ drummer before Ringo stardom, handed over the movie camera footage – which shows the leather-clad group – to his former band with the help of his brother Roag.
Roag said he bought the silent footage from a man who filmed the performance at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church Hall in Birkenhead in February 1962, eight months before they released their debut single.