Now and Then (John Lennon song)

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"Now and Then"
Song by John Lennon
Recorded 1979
Genre Rock
Length 4:56
Writer(s) John Lennon
Producer(s) John Lennon
"Now and Then"
Song by The Beatles
Recorded 20–21 March 1995
Genre Rock
Writer(s) John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr
Producer(s) Jeff Lynne

"Now and Then" (also known as "I Don't Want to Lose You" or "Miss You") is the name given to an unreleased composition by John Lennon. It was first recorded in demo form in 1978 and was considered in 1995 as a third possible reunion single by Lennon's former band, The Beatles, for their 1995 autobiographical project The Beatles Anthology.

Lennon wrote "Now and Then" in the late 1970s, around the same time as "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love". He recorded the unfinished piece of music in a demo form at his home at the Dakota Building, New York City, around 1979. The lyrics are typical of the apologetic love songs that Lennon wrote in the later half of his career. Despite reports, for the most part the verses are nearly complete, though there are still a few lines that Lennon did not flesh out on the demo tape performance.[citation needed]

The Beatles' version[edit]

In January 1994, Paul McCartney was given two tape cassettes by Lennon's widow Yoko Ono that included home recordings of songs Lennon never completed or released commercially. The songs on the tape included the eventually completed and released "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love", in addition to two other songs was a tape with the words "for Paul" scrawled hastily in John's handwriting, which included "Grow Old With Me" and "Now and Then".[1] In March 1995, the three surviving Beatles began work on "Now and Then" by recording a rough backing track that was to be used as an overdub. However, after only two days of recording, all work on the song ceased and plans for a third reunion single were scrapped permanently.[citation needed]

According to McCartney, George Harrison "didn't want to do it," while an unnamed participant told the Daily Express: "George just didn’t want to rework it because it’s not a matter of putting some vocals, or a bit of bass and drums to finish it. With this, you have to really build the song."[2] Producer Jeff Lynne reported that "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."[2] An additional factor behind scrapping the song was a technical defect in the original recording. As with "Real Love", a 60-cycle mains hum can be heard throughout Lennon's demo recording. However, it was noticeably louder on '"Now and Then", making it much harder to remove.[citation needed]

Bootlegs and reports[edit]

Throughout 2005 and 2006, press reports speculated that McCartney and Starr would release a complete version of the song in the future. On 29 April 2007, the Daily Express reported that the song might be released to coincide with the Beatles catalogue being released for the first time via digital download.[2] Additional reports circulated that same year[3] that McCartney was hoping to complete the song as a "Lennon–McCartney composition" by writing new verses, laying down a new drum track recorded by Ringo Starr,[4] and utilising archival recordings of Harrison's guitar work.

In April 2008, The Sun reported that "there have been discussions about finishing 'Now and Then.'"[5] From there, the story was picked up and repeated by a number of music and entertainment media sources.[citation needed]

The only (unofficial) available recording of the song is Lennon's original demo. In February 2009, the same version of Lennon's recording was released on a bootleg CD, taken from a different source, with none of the "buzz" which hampered the Beatles recording of the song in 1995. The overdubs added in 1995 by the other surviving members have yet to surface.[citation needed]

A popular fan remix from 2007 called the "1995 edit" consists of Lennon's original demo along with instrumental overdubs (by an artist who goes by the name "iamaphoney") and samples from various 1960s Beatles songs. Contrary to repeated misconception, this remix does not contain any of the work that the three surviving members of the Beatles recorded in the 1990s.[6][better source needed]

During a Jeff Lynne documentary shown on BBC Four in 2012, Paul McCartney stated about the song: "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."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Badman, Keith (2001). "The Beatles Diary Volume 2:After The Break-Up 1970–2001". Ominibus Press. p. 517. 
  2. ^ a b c Goodman, Chris (29 April 2007). "Beatles Back to Where They Once Belonged". Daily Express. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  3. ^ Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Now And Then". The Beatles Bible. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Smart, Gordon (2 April 2008). "Just Imagine ... Lennon Again". The Sun. London. 
  6. ^ "Now and Then ready to be released". Beatles News. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Mr Blue Sky: The Story of Jeff Lynne and ELO". Music Stories. Transcript Preview. 5 October 2012. BBC. BBC Four. 

External links[edit]