The stunning video for new Beatles track Now and Then has been released online to the delight of millions of fans.
In just 15 minutes of being on Youtube, the video has garnered more than 60,000 views.
It includes the earliest ever footage of the band, filmed in a Merseyside church hall 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 star, has handed the cine camera footage – which shows the Beatles dressed in leather – to his former band with the help of his brother Roag.
Roag said he purchased 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.
The song itself was released yesterday and has already been listened to by 5million on YouTube and millions more on streaming platforms.
It is the Beatles’ final song and features music from John, Paul, Ringo and George.
It has received rave reviews from fans all over the world, many of whom admitted crying when they heard it for the first time.
LISTEN TO THE NEW BEATLES SONG BELOW
The stunning video for new Beatles track Now and Then has been released online
The clip – directed by the acclaimed Peter Jackson – blends moving archive footage of the Fab Four with shots of Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr recording new segments for the song
It includes the earliest ever footage of the band, filmed in a Merseyside church hall in 1962, before they became the world’s most famous rock stars and manager Brian Epstein convinced them to all wear smart suits
Three-time Oscar-winner Peter Jackson, who directed Lord of the Rings, has improved the quality of the footage and Roag told BBC News ‘it looks absolutely fantastic’.
Mr Jackson and his team were instrumental in the production of Now And Then. They used new technology and AI software – the same that was used on Jackson’s innovative 2021 Beatles documentary Get Back – to isolate John Lennon’s vocals from his piano so it could be used without distortion.
Meanwhile Beatles superfans queued into the night to get their hands on the vinyl single at a special midnight launch event in Liverpool.
First in line was John Lennon, who changed his name from Alan Williams in April 2022.
The video also includes what Jackson describes as ‘a few precious seconds of the Beatles performing in their leather suits, the earliest known film of the Beatles and never seen before.’
It is understood to be the only known footage of the band performing in the leather suits they wore before they skyrocketed to fame.
‘The lads are rocking backwards and forwards with guitars, mouths to the microphones, singing,’ Roag Best said.
It is also the only video from before Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr in August 1962, but his brother says he is not visible in the footage.
‘From a family perspective, I went, “Ah, come on!” One of the guys is actually standing in front of Pete so all you can see is Pete’s drum kit and Pete’s hands occasionally with the sticks,’ he said.
In just 15 minutes of being on Youtube, the video has garnered more than 60,000 views
The Now And Then music video will feature some of the earliest ever footage of the Beatles as they perform in leather suits (pictured) at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church Hall in Birkenhead in February 1962
The footage has been provided by the band’s original drummer Pete Best and his brother Roag. Pictured, the Beatles including Pete Best on drums
Beatles superfan John Lennon, who changed his name by deed poll from Alan Williams in April 2022, holds the first copy of the newly released last Beatles song, Now And Then
Beatles fans at HMV Liverpool for a special midnight launch event for the release of the last Beatles song
Fans queueing up to get their hands on a copy of the single
Sir Paul McCartney playing bass on the new and final song Now And Then. He said it was just like playing with John Lennon again. It features all four Beatles
Ringo Starr recording the drums for the final track (pictured) in the last 12 months. It also includes electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995 by George and John Lennon’s original vocals from the late 1970s
The video, which will be released at 2pm GMT today, will include what Jackson (pictured) describes as ‘a few precious seconds of the Beatles performing in their leather suits, the earliest known film of the Beatles and never seen before.’
Roag Best, pictured with the first known drumskin to display the name of The Beatles in September, said the footage ‘looks absolutely fantastic’
Jackson – who directed the 2021 docuseries The Beatles: Get Back – has used about six seconds of the film in the Now And Then video.
The original is almost a minute long and will be unveiled at the Liverpool Beatles Museum, which Roag owns.
Ahead of the launch of the video, Jackson told the BBC he discovered other ‘unseen outtakes in the vault, where The Beatles are relaxed, funny and rather candid’.
He added: ‘We wove the humour into some footage shot in 2023. The result is pretty nutty and provided the video with much needed balance between the sad and the funny.’
Jackson admitted that the responsibility of creating a music video for the last ever Beatles song produced a collection of anxieties almost too overwhelming to deal with.
He added: ‘My lifelong love of The Beatles collided into a wall of sheer terror at the thought of letting everyone down.’
Finally made it! Now And Then was shelved, with a hope that one day it would be revisited
Band: However, John’s wife Yoko Ono handed over a series of demos that John had been working on prior to his death, some of which they released at the time. Paul, George and Ringo worked on them in 1995 and 1996 (pictured)
George and Paul in the initial sessions 20-plus years ago
Questions: John pictured with Yoko recording a demo in New York at the time Now And Then was written
Now And Then, which is sourced from Lennon’s vocals and piano demo 43 years ago, features acoustic and electric guitar played by Harrison in 1995. Sir Paul completed the bass and Sir Ringo Starr recorded the drums in the last year.
Describing how special it was to work with Lennon again, Sir Paul told BBC Radio 1: ‘When we were in the studio we had John’s voice in our ears, so you could imagine he was just in the next room in a vocal booth or something, and we were just working with him again so it was joyful.
‘It was really lovely, you know, because we hadn’t experienced that for a long time obviously and then suddenly here we were, working with ol’ Johnny.’
Yesterday at 2pm, Now And Then was debuted on the BBC and YouTube to the exultation and excitement of tens of millions of fans. Listening parties have been held all over the world, including in their home city of Liverpool at The Cavern Club and the Liverpool Beatles Museum. Tears were shed as the song played.
Release: News of the final song was announced earlier this summer but it has been confirmed it will be released on November 2, premiering on Scott Mills’ radio show on BBC R2
The Beatles, from left, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney arrive in Liverpool, England on July 10, 1964, for the premiere of their movie “A Hard Day’s Night.”
The Beatles, clockwise from top left, John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, pose in a carriage window of train before they left Paddington Station in London, March 2, 1964
Describing how the opportunity came about, Sir Paul explained: ‘Before John died he was working on some songs and Yoko (Ono, Lennon’s wife) spoke to George Harrison and said ‘I’ve got a cassette with some John songs on that he never got to finish. Would you be interested in finishing them off?’
‘So we thought about it and we thought ‘Yeah, it would be great’, ’cause in a way we would be working with John again, which we thought we would never be able to do.
‘We worked and finished two of the songs but we didn’t get round to finishing the third one, and the third one is called Now And Then. So it was knocking around for a long time and I kept thinking ‘There’s something here, you know, we should finish this’.
‘I ended up talking to Ringo and we asked him if he fancied putting the drums on again and then I thought ‘Well, I could up the bass a bit’, so I put the bass on again. We already had George playing guitar and we had John on vocal – it was kind of magical doing it.
‘So we ended up making it into a real record, and that’s what’s being released.’
Sir Paul said he hopes the track gives fans ‘a loving feeling’, adding: ‘That’s often what we were trying to do with our records – we were trying to spread love. And in this one it is very poignant.
Back in the studio! The Beatles also released a short film revealing how they made their last song together 43 years after John Lennon ‘s death. Sir Paul McCartney pictured in the 1990s with George Harrison, who played the guitar track in 1995 before he died in 2001
Demo: The band are releasing the track, Now And Then, which late singer John began recording in the late 1970s before it was unearthed by his wife in the Nineties (pictured) and handed to Paul on a tape marked ‘For Paul’
Referencing George Harrison ‘s death, Sir Paul said of the song: ‘In 2001 we lost George, which took the wind out of our sails, it took almost a quarter of a century before we tackled Now And Then again’
The Fab Four: (Clockwise from far left) George Harrison, Ringo Starr (at drums), Sir Paul McCartney, John Lennon in New York in 1964
‘It’s John talking about ‘I miss you’ and stuff like that so… I think ’emotion’ – that would be the key word for people to take away from it, ’emotion’.’
Now And Then is based on vocals recorded by John Lennon on to a cassette before his death.
He recorded the unfinished piece of music in 1977 as a demo at his home in New York City.
The tape, labelled simply: ‘For Paul’, was then handed to the band by Yoko Ono in 1994, and also contained Real Love and Free As A Bird.
George Harrison, who died in 2001, played the guitar on the songs in the 1995 and 1996.
But Now And Then was shelved, with a hope that one day it would be revisited, because John vocals could not be separated from his piano track, making his singing hard to hear.
But 2022 and 2023, Sir Paul McCartney completed the bass and Ringo the drums after director Peter Jackson used audio restoration technology that allowed for Lennon’s vocals to be used without distortion.
Emotional fans listen with tears in their eyes at a party at the Liverpool Beatles Museum
A string arrangement was written with the help of Giles Martin, son of the late Beatles producer George Martin.
Asked about the technical innovation used to make the song possible, Sir Paul said it feels in keeping with band’s own approach to experimentation.
He said: ‘When there was something a little bit offbeat, technological things… I mean like the first time we heard a tape go backwards by mistake we went ‘Oh what’s that?’, and we wanted to put that on our record, whereas other people would just go ‘Oh, come on, get the tape on the right way and let’s get on with it’.
‘But we always grabbed little things like that so Peter Jackson, he’s organised it so it’s magic. It’s very special for me to be singing with John again.’
The song was released at 2pm on November 2 as a double A-side with the band’s 1962 debut single Love Me Do, and cover art by US artist Ed Ruscha.