Beatles’ ‘Now and Then’ Song Coming, Plus Mega ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ Sets

What has been described as the Beatles‘ “last song,” a recently completed version of “Now and Then” that includes contributions from all four members, is about to enter the realm of the now. The long-teased track will finally reach the public’s ears in one week, on Thursday, Nov. 2.

That’s not all the Beatlenews for Beatlemaniacs. Just over one week beyond that, on Nov. 10, Apple Corps Ltd. and Capitol/UMe will release refreshed and expanded editions of the two 1973 collections that long stood as the most cherished greatest-hits sets from the group, “1962-66” and “1967-70” — a.k.a. the “red” and “blue” albums. The track lists for both collections have been considerably expanded; updating sets that originally held 26-28 tracks each, these new editions that now contain 38 and 37 songs, respectively. (Scroll down to see the track listings for each of the streaming/CD and vinyl formats, which vary in their sequencing.)

Although the material, apart from “Now and Then,” is all familiar, these aren’t just fresh playlists. All of the songs on these two collections that had not been previously remixed by Giles Martin for previous deluxe editions have gotten the full treatment now — adding up to a total of 36 brand-new remixes across audio formats: 30 on “1962-66” and six on “1967-70.” (Additionally, a Dolby Atmos release has its own new, immersive mixes of those same 36 tracks, plus another seven remixed for songs Martin had previously updated only in stereo.)

Collectors who say “I wanna hold my physical single” will be happy to know that “Now and Then” is getting a stand-alone release on vinyl, and even cassette, apart from its place as an addition to the reconfigured “1967-70” album. The newly completed track will come out on vinyl in four different 7-inch or 12-inch variants. It’s being described as a “double A-side single,” with the new stereo remix of the Fabs’ first single, “Love Me Do,” on the flip side. (Note, however, that some variants of the single and two hits collections will only be available via the Beatles’ own webstore.)

A 12-minute documentary about the making of “Now and Then” will premiere on Nov. 1. Written and directed by Oliver Murray, the mini-doc includes footage of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, the late George Harrison, Sean Ono Lennon and Peter Jackson (whose technology was put to use in the track’s unique creation). A 34-second teaser for the mini-doc went up on YouTube today. Watch that trailer here:

Beatles fans have been curious about the credits for the “Now and Then” song, and those were released in full Thursday. As was previously known, the tune has its origins in a John Lennon solo demo from the ’70s that Yoko Ono made available when the surviving members decided to add fresh tracks to the “Anthology” collections in the mid-’90s. While Paul, George and Ringo finished “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love” with producer Jeff Lynne at the time, they set aside “Now and Then,” in part because Lennon’s rough home-cassette vocal lacked the fidelity to easily mesh with what the other members were attempting to graft on two decades later.

It was McCartney’s idea last year to re-approach “Now and Then” and pull a usable version of Lennon’s vocal using the same technology that’d been used to separate music or conversation from background noise for Peter Jackson’s “Get Back” documentary film. The new single has a telling credit for the New Zealand company WingNut Films Productions Ltd. for “source separation”; the press announcement notes that Jackson’s sound team was led by Emile de la Rey, who was charged with taking Lennon’s low-fi demo and setting his vocal apart from his piano and other noise.

Otherwise, most of the “Now and Then” credits read straightforwardly, leaving fans to figure out which parts were recorded in the ’70s, ’90s and 2022. McCartney and Giles Martin are credited as the producers, with an additional production credit for Lynne. Lennon and McCartney are credited with primary vocals; all four members are credited with background vocals, McCartney’s and Starr’s being new additions. Harrison, who died in 2001, has electric and acoustic guitar parts recorded in 1995 on the track — although a slide guitar solo that bears an unmistakable similarity to his trademark style was actually laid down by McCartney, “inspired by George,” during the 2022 sessions. McCartney also is credited with brand new bass, piano and electric harpsichord, and Starr’s drum playing is a fresh addition as well … and both get credit for playing shakers.

A new string arrangement was written for the song by McCartney, Martin and Ben Foster and overseen by McCartney at Capitol Studios in L.A. The press announcement says that “Paul and Giles also added one last, wonderfully subtle touch: backing vocals from the original recordings of ‘Here, There and Everywhere,’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and ‘Because,’ woven into the new song using the techniques perfected during the making of the ‘Love’ show and album.” Spike Stent mixed the McCartney/Martin production.

“There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear,” McCartney said in a statement. “It’s quite emotional. And we all play on it, it’s a genuine Beatles recording. In 2023 to still be working on Beatles music, and about to release a new song the public haven’t heard, I think it’s an exciting thing.” Added Starr, “It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room, so it was very emotional for all of us. It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.”

Olivia Harrison co-signed on the effort to revive the track. She said, “Back in 1995, after several days in the studio working on the track, George felt the technical issues with the demo were insurmountable and concluded that it was not possible to finish the track to a high enough standard. If he were here today, Dhani and I know he would have whole-heartedly joined Paul and Ringo in completing the recording of ‘Now and Then.’” Sean Ono Lennon added his imprimatur to the project, too, saying: “It was incredibly touching to hear them working together after all the years that Dad had been gone. It’s the last song my dad, Paul, George and Ringo got to make together. It’s like a time capsule and all feels very meant to be.”

What choices do collectors have in picking up “Now and Then” (and B-side “Love Me Do”) in stand-alone, physical form? Apart from its online digital release in both stereo and Dolby Atmos, retail outlets will be selling it in both 7-inch and 12-inch form on black vinyl, along with light blue and clear 7-inch variants. A cassette version is exclusive to the Beatles’ store. A blue-and-white marbled 7-inch was also announced as a Beatles webstore exclusive, although it will apparently be available at independent record stores too, as those retailers were solicited on the release Thursday morning.

The sleeve art for the single was designed by the noted artist Ed Ruscha.

As for the 2023 editions of the “1962-66” and “1967-70” albums, choices abound there, too. Retailers everywhere will offer both collections as separate two-CD or three-LP 180g black-vinyl sets. But if you want them bundled together in a slipcase, and/or want colored vinyl, those are limited to the Beatles’ store and described as limited editions. The webstore offers a four-CD set that bundles the two collections together in a slipcase. More tantalizingly, the Beatles’ store offers the “red” album on red vinyl and the “blue” one on, yes, blue — either individually or bundled together in a slipcase as a six-LP set. A bundled six-LP set on standard black vinyl in the slipcase is also exclusive to the Beatles’ store.

The track listings for the vinyl editions are in a different order than what appears on the CD and digital/streaming versions. In the case of the three-LP “1962-66” and “1967-70” sets, the first two records in the set follow exactly the same order of the sequence that appeared on the 1973 double albums, with the third LP devoted to all the material that has been added for 2023. Those who want to remember the song orders as they existed for 50 years will surely be pleased by that decision, while still getting the additional material. However, the editions that do not break things up by sides — that is, the digital and CD versions — dispense with that and present all the material in chronological order, with the fresh additions sprinkled in along the way instead of segregated.

In answer to the question that inevitably comes from many audiophile fans: No, there is no BluRay audio option; the Atmos mixes are not being issued on discs but are available for download or streaming.

Although the printed material is not expected to be as elaborate as what accompanied the “Sgt. Pepper,” White Album, “Abbey Road,” “Let It Be” and “Revolver” deluxe editions, the new red and blue hits editions will include new essays written by author John Harris.

Many fans had expected “Rubber Soul” to be next in what has become a mostly annual series of deluxe sets, if the Beatles were to start working backward from last year’s “Revolver.” But they’ll get an awfully good head start on that anticipated project via “1962-66,” since it includes brand new Giles Martin remixes of no fewer than seven of the 14 tracks from the original U.K. version of “Rubber Soul”: “Drive My Car,” “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” “Nowhere Man,” “Michelle,” “In My Life,” “If I Needed Someone” and “Girl.”

But Beatles fans will be at least as curious, when “1962-66” comes out Nov. 10, to hear what Martin has done with the rest of the material dating back even further. It’s long been considered a challenging task to make full-sounding new stereo mixes of early ’60s track that essentially glued together multiple vocal or instrumental parts on one of two channels. But Martin had said recently that he believed the time and the technology for that were at hand, mentioning the kind of separation that Jackson’s “Get Back” team had been able to pull off. Now fans will get a huge sampling, all at once, of just how effective those newly realized techniques are at making stereo (or immersive!) mixes that sound far less bizarre to the modern ear.

“Love Me Do” in Dolby Atmos: It’s about to be a thing.

While the lion’s share of the previously unheard Giles Martin stereo mixes will arrive with the “red” album, it’s surprising to see how many songs on “1967-70” had not yet been given the updated treatment till know — either selections from the “Magical Mystery Tour” soundtrack EP, or assorted non-album singles or B-sides. Those new remixes for songs from the later period include “Revolution,” “I Am the Walrus,” “Magical Mystery Tour,” “The Fool on the Hill,” “Hey Bulldog” and “Old Brown Shoe.”

Among the songs making their Atmos debut next month, meanwhile, are “All You Need Is Love,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Hello Goodbye,” “Hey Jude,” “Lady Madonna,” “The Ballad of John and Yoko” and this version of “Get Back.”

Following are the full track listings and configurations for the “Now and Then” single and two hits collections.

For both “1962-1966” and “1967-1970″ (2023 Editions):

  • stereo mixes:
    • both collections: digital; streaming; 2CD; 180g 3LP black vinyl
    • both collections: limited edition Beatles Store-exclusives: 3LP colored vinyl (red for ‘Red’/blue for ‘Blue’); 4CD slipcased set; 180g 6LP black vinyl slipcased set; 6LP red + blue vinyl slipcased set
  • Dolby Atmos mixes: digital; streaming

1962-1966 (2023 EDITION)

(2CD: stereo / Digital + Streaming: stereo & Dolby Atmos)

* = newly added track not on the 1973 version


1: Love Me Do (2023 Mix)

2: Please Please Me (2023 Mix)

3: I Saw Her Standing There (2023 Mix) *

4: Twist and Shout (2023 Mix) *

5: From Me to You (2023 Mix)

6: She Loves You (2023 Mix)

7: I Want to Hold Your Hand (2023 Mix)

8: This Boy (2023 Mix) *

9: All My Loving (2023 Mix)

10: Roll Over Beethoven (2023 Mix) *

11: You Really Got a Hold on Me (2023 Mix) *

12: Can’t Buy Me Love (2023 Mix)

13: You Can’t Do That (2023 Mix) *

14: A Hard Day’s Night (2023 Mix)

15: And I Love Her (2023 Mix)

16: Eight Days a Week (2023 Mix)

17: I Feel Fine (2023 Mix)

18: Ticket to Ride (2023 Mix)

19: Yesterday (2023 Mix)


1: Help! (2023 Mix)

2: You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away (2023 Mix)

3: We Can Work It Out (2023 Mix)

4: Day Tripper (2023 Mix)

5: Drive My Car (2023 Mix)

6 Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (2023 Mix)

7: Nowhere Man (2023 Mix)

8: Michelle (2023 Mix)

9: In My Life (2023 Mix)

10: If I Needed Someone (2023 Mix) *

11: Girl (2023 Mix)

12: Paperback Writer (2022 Mix)

13: Eleanor Rigby (2022 Mix) 

14: Yellow Submarine (2022 Mix)

15: Taxman (2022 Mix) *

16: Got to Get You Into My Life (2022 Mix) *

17: I’m Only Sleeping (2022 Mix) *

18: Here, There and Everywhere (2022 Mix) *

19: Tomorrow Never Knows (2022 Mix) *

1967-1970 (2023 EDITION)

(2CD: stereo / Digital + Streaming: stereo & Dolby Atmos)

* = newly added track not on the 1973 version


1: Strawberry Fields Forever (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)

2: Penny Lane (2017 Mix)

3: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017 Mix)

4: With a Little Help From My Friends (2017 Mix)

5: Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds (2017 Mix)

6: Within You Without You (2017 Mix) *

7: A Day In The Life (2017 Mix)

8: All You Need Is Love (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)

9: I Am The Walrus (2023 Mix)

10: Hello, Goodbye (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)

11: The Fool On The Hill (2023 Mix)

12: Magical Mystery Tour (2023 Mix)

13: Lady Madonna (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)

14: Hey Jude (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)

15: Revolution (2023 Mix)


1: Back In The U.S.S.R. (2018 Mix)

2: Dear Prudence (2018 Mix) *

3: While My Guitar Gently Weeps (2018 Mix)

4: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (2018 Mix)

5: Glass Onion (2018 Mix) *

6: Blackbird (2018 Mix) *

7: Hey Bulldog (2023 Mix) *

8: Get Back (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)

9: Don’t Let Me Down (2021 Mix)

10: The Ballad Of John And Yoko (2015 Stereo Mix / 2023 Dolby Atmos Mix)

11: Old Brown Shoe (2023 Mix)

12: Here Comes The Sun (2019 Mix)

13: Come Together (2019 Mix)

14: Something (2019 Mix)

15: Octopus’s Garden (2019 Mix)

16: Oh! Darling (2019 Mix) *

17: I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (2019 Mix) *

18: Let It Be (2021 Mix)

19: Across The Universe (2021 Mix)

20: I Me Mine (2021 Mix) *

21: The Long And Winding Road (2021 Mix)

22: Now And Then

1962-1966 + 1967-1970 (2023 EDITIONS) 4CD SLIPCASED SET

(1962-1966: CDs 1 & 2 / 1967-1970: CDs 3 & 4)

(stereo / all 75 tracks as listed above)

1962-1966 + 1967-1970 (2023 EDITIONS) 6LP VINYL SLIPCASED SET

(1962-1966: LPs 1-3 / 1967-1970: LPs 4-6)

(stereo / 1962-1966 3LP Vinyl & 1967-1970 3LP Vinyl = same track sequencing for each as listed below)

LP1 (‘Red’)

Side A:

1: Love Me Do (2023 Mix)

2: Please Please Me (2023 Mix)

3: From Me To You (2023 Mix)

4: She Loves You (2023 Mix)

5: I Want To Hold Your Hand (2023 Mix)

6: All My Loving (2023 Mix)

7: Can’t Buy Me Love (2023 Mix)

Side B:

1: A Hard Day’s Night (2023 Mix)

2: And I Love Her (2023 Mix)

3: Eight Days A Week (2023 Mix)

4: I Feel Fine (2023 Mix)

5: Ticket To Ride (2023 Mix)

6: Yesterday (2023 Mix)

LP2 (‘Red’)

Side A:

1: Help! (2023 Mix)

2: You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (2023 Mix)

3: We Can Work It Out (2023 Mix)

4: Day Tripper (2023 Mix)

5: Drive My Car (2023 Mix)

6: Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (2023 Mix)

Side B:

1: Nowhere Man (2023 Mix)

2: Michelle (2023 Mix)

3: In My Life (2023 Mix)

4: Girl (2023 Mix)

5: Paperback Writer (2022 Mix)

6: Eleanor Rigby (2022 Mix) 

7: Yellow Submarine (2022 Mix)

LP3 (Bonus ‘Red’ LP)

Side A:

1: I Saw Her Standing There (2023 Mix)

2: Twist And Shout (2023 Mix)

3: This Boy (2023 Mix)

4: Roll Over Beethoven (2023 Mix)

5: You Really Got A Hold On Me (2023 Mix)

6: You Can’t Do That (2023 Mix)

Side B:

1: If I Needed Someone (2023 Mix)

2: Got To Get You Into My Life (2022 Mix)

3: I’m Only Sleeping (2022 Mix)

4: Taxman (2022 Mix)

5: Here, There and Everywhere (2022 Mix)

6: Tomorrow Never Knows (2022 Mix)

LP4 (‘Blue’)

Side A:

1: Strawberry Fields Forever (2015 mix)

2: Penny Lane (2017 mix)

3: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (2017 Mix)

4: With a Little Help From My Friends (2017 Mix)

5: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (2017 Mix)

6: A Day in the Life (2017 Mix)

7: All You Need Is Love (2015 Mix)

Side B:

1: I Am the Walrus (2023 Mix)

2: Hello, Goodbye (2015 Mix)

3: The Fool on the Hill (2023 Mix)

4: Magical Mystery Tour (2023 Mix)

5: Lady Madonna (2015 Mix)

6: Hey Jude (2015 Mix)

7: Revolution (2023 Mix)

LP5 (‘Blue’)

Side A:

1: Back In The U.S.S.R. (2018 Mix)

2: While My Guitar Gently Weeps (2018 Mix)

3: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (2018 Mix)

4: Get Back (2015 Mix)

5: Don’t Let Me Down (2021 Mix)

6: The Ballad Of John And Yoko (2015 Mix)

7: Old Brown Shoe (2023 Mix)

Side B:

1: Here Comes The Sun (2019 Mix)

2: Come Together (2019 Mix)

3: Something (2019 Mix)

4: Octopus’s Garden (2019 Mix)

5: Let It Be (2021 Mix) 

6: Across The Universe (2021 Mix)

7: The Long And Winding Road (2021 Mix)

LP6 (Bonus ‘Blue’LP)

Side A:

1: Now And Then

2: Blackbird (2018 Mix)

3: Dear Prudence (2018 Mix)

4: Glass Onion (2018 Mix)

5: Within You Without You (2017 Mix)

Side B:

1: Hey Bulldog (2023 Mix)

2: Oh! Darling (2019 Mix)

3: I Me Mine (2021 Mix)

4: I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (2019 Mix)


(double A-side single)

  • stereo mixes:
    • digital; streaming; 7-inch + 12-inch black vinyl; 7-inch colored vinyl (light blue, clear)
    • limited edition Beatles Store-exclusives: cassette; 7-inch blue & white marbled vinyl

Dolby Atmos mixes: digital; streaming