The Beatles just released a music video for their “final song” titled “Now and Then,” which features John Lennon’s voice and George Harrison’s guitar playing. The interesting thing about the music video, however, is that it includes unseen footage of the band’s early days and that Peter Jackson, who directed the video, was very reluctant to do so.
It’s important to note that the music video for “Now and Then” features all four Beatles, even Lennon and Harrison, who are no longer among us, and provides a glimpse into the unseen footage of The Beatles’ early band days.
The song itself was written by Lennon in the late ‘70s, but the limited technology and audio processing of the time prevented the band from completing the song. Apparently, they weren’t happy with the sound quality and decided not to release the song. This isn’t all that surprising, considering that digital audio mastering wasn’t a thing before 1979.
With that said, the work on The Beatles “Now and Then” hasn’t stopped. The song was later developed by other band members, including George Harrison, in 1995, six years before he died of lung cancer.
Fortunately, the new audio restoration technology pioneered by Peter Jackson allowed Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to finish the song more than four decades after it was first recorded. The song was released just recently as a double A-side with a remastered version of the band’s 1962 debut single “Love Me Do.”
Peter Jackson, who created the accompanying music video for “Now and Then” by The Beatles, revealed that he was very reluctant to make the video. According to him, the sheer responsibility of having to make a music video worthy of The Beatles’ final song gave him a collection of anxieties almost too overwhelming to deal with, and his lifelong love of The Beatles rammed into the wall of sheer terror at the very thought of letting everyone down.
Jackson’s reaction was reasonable, considering that he never made music before. Especially when we consider that the music video he did make—exceptional as it is—was made for a band that broke up 50 years ago, had never actually performed the song, and has half of its members no longer with us.
So, his reaction was actually quite reasonable, and he even considered passing up on the offer. However, as he couldn’t find a good reason for turning The Beatles down, he ended up making the video.
Jackson received tons of never-seen-before footage of the band and more than 14 hours of footage from the 1995 recording sessions of “Now and Then” The release of the song and the accompanying music video got The Beatles fans excited, prompting long queues at a special launch event in Liverpool, where fans were able to get a vinyl copy of “Now and Then.” We’re now expecting remastered and expanded versions of some of the band’s early work to be released.