The Fab Four began work on 'Now and Then' 30 years ago.
By ALISA UNGAR-SARGON
The unreleased Beatles song "Now and Then," an original composition by John Lennon from 1978 that was reworked by the remaining three Beatles in 1995, is rumored to be ready now that Paul McCartney has completed two years of further work on the track.
John Lennon recorded the vocals of the track - then titled "I Don't Want to Lose You" - in 1978. McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr worked on the song when they reunited for their 1995 project, Anthology, but it was not released on the album.
"All four Beatles are on the track," a source told the fan Web site Beatles News. "The original Beatles reunion version from 1995 was embellished with numerous additional sessions over the last two years by Paul McCartney. Paul wants it out badly, according to high-placed sources."
The original recording was undeveloped and needed work, which is part of the reason the release has taken so long. "I heard that George Harrison sings backup as well as playing at least one guitar," the source said. "It is thought McCartney sings at least some backup, if not more, and plays several instruments. It is also possible he wrote additional sections to the song."
McCartney realized the song's potential when Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, presented him with cassette tapes of some of Lennon's unreleased home recordings. Two of the songs, "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love," were put on the Anthology compilation.
A number of remixed versions of the song, created by fans using bootleg copies, are posted on the video-sharing site YouTube. Lyrics are also available online, but are subject to change due to McCartney's editing.
Release of the track is still speculative, though fans are hopeful that it will coincide with the cosmic 9/9/09 date coming up this fall. The significance of the date is a take on a Beatles song "Revolution 9," from The White Album. It is also the release date of the video game The Beatles: Rock Band.
"Now and Then" would be the first Beatles song to be released since "Real Love" in 1996, which was similarly recorded by Lennon and reworked in the '90s by the other Beatles.
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