To begin with, “Now and Then” is an unreleased Beatles song. John Lennon recorded the track but it remains an unfinished project.
** UNFINISHED SONG AND NOT RELEASED **
Studio: Mill Studios (East Sussex), Friar Park (Oxfordshire)
Songwriter: John Lennon
Producer: Jeff Lynne
Now And Then
After Paul McCartney got hold of some of John Lennon’s home recordings from Yoko Ono, work began on finishing the song after the remaining Beatles had a reunion for the Anthology project. However, George Harrison backed out for this particular song. This is because he wasn’t too happy about it. So, the song, which also had the working titles of, “I Don’t Want To Lose You” and “Miss You”, remains unfinished.
The idea was to release “Now and Then” as a single as they did with “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” for the Anthology Project. However, that didn’t come off because of a few reasons, including Harrison’s decision. McCartney once said that Harrison called the the demo, “fucking rubbish.”
There is a little hope that we may see the recording surface again because of a hint by Paul McCartney. On a Jeff Lynne documentary on BBC Four in 2012 he says:
“And there was another one that we started working on, but George went off it…that one’s still lingering around, so I’m going to nick in with Jeff and do it. Finish it, one of these days.”
Around 1979, John Lennon recorded the song at his home in the Dakota Building, New York City. The resulting demo tapes also had a few other songs on them, including “Free As A Bird”, “Real Love” and “Grow Old With Me”. After Lennon’s death in 1980, Yoko Ono passed two cassette tapes onto Paul McCartley. On one of those tapes there was a simple message from Lennon, “for Paul”.
George Harrison obviously didn’t like the song but there were other reasons why they shelved the idea. Indeed, there was a 60-cycle mains hum far louder than that which was on “Real Love”. However, they did take a good look at the song:
“It was one day – one afternoon, really – messing with it. 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.”
Although there is no official release, there is a bootleg available without the mains hum. However, there is nothing available with any further work by the surviving Beatles. Obviously the song is a valuable historical recording that Beatlemaniacs want bringing back to life.