Hear a John Lennon Demo That Nearly Became the Beatles’ Final Song
George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunited in 1994 to add their finishing touches to a pair of demos left behind by John Lennon, and the results ended up on 1995's three-volume Anthology series as the "new" Beatles songs "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love." Another Lennon demo, titled "Now & Then," was briefly considered for a third track, but plans to polish it fell apart.
"It was one day — one afternoon, really — messing with it," producer Jeff Lynne later explained. "The song had a chorus but is almost totally lacking in verses. We did the backing track, a rough go that we really didn't finish."
The "Now & Then" demo can be heard in the above clip, along with McCartney's explanation for why the trio abandoned their plans for the song — chiefly, in his view, because Harrison didn't really care for it. In this footage, McCartney says he'd like to get Lynne back behind the boards to finish the song off at some point.
Given that "Now & Then" was reportedly given to McCartney by Lennon's widow Yoko Ono on a cassette upon which Lennon had scribbled "For Paul," his eagerness to release a completed version is understandable — yet although a "Now & Then" release has been rumored every few years since the song's existence was made public, nothing's come of it yet.
In the meantime, a number of enterprising fans have had their own go at finishing "Now & Then" — including the track embedded below, which does an impressive job of working around the demo's dodgy audio fidelity. Perhaps someday we'll get to hear McCartney's version.
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