Music | George Harrison’s widow Olivia shares “surprising magical” story about The Beatles’ ‘Now And Then’ artwork
In a video posted on her late husband’s official social media channels, she explained how he once bought a clock featuring the title of their final song.
“We were in this store, George saw this clock made out of bits and pieces and it had some Scrabble letters and it just said ‘Now And Then’,” she said. “He was attracted to it for some reason, he just took it off the wall and bought it. [He] built this little Russian dacha in the garden and hung the clock on it and there it sat for 25 years.”
She went on to say that at the end of last summer she cleaned it up and put it on her mantelpiece.
— George Harrison (@GeorgeHarrison) November 20, 2023
Harrison then added: “Phone rings. It’s Paul [McCartney] and and he begins to explain, reminding me of this third song that was on the cassette tape with ‘Real Love’ and ‘Free As A Bird’. I said, ‘I remember it, it’s called ‘Now and Then”. And I’m standing there looking at the clock.
“We were so moved and happy that this thing that George had held in his hand somehow magically appeared. And I said, ‘I think this is Georgie saying it’s OK’.”
The clock itself features on the back of the vinyl sleeve for the single’s release.
“When we lost John [Lennon], we knew it was really over,” McCartney recently said in a recent mini-documentary on the making of the song before “an interesting opportunity arose” in 1994. It was then that Yoko Ono handed over a cassette of Lennon’s demos, before McCartney, Ringo Starr and Harrison hit the studio to rescue what they could from them and finish them off.
Real Love’ and ‘Free As A Bird’ would be released as part of The Beatles Anthology series. On the third, they said, the quality of the recording of Lennon’s voice and piano was not good enough to be salvaged. “John was hidden,” as Starr said, which only “brought to the fore to the three of us that he was gone.”
It was shelved but following Peter Jackson’s acclaimed 2021 Get Back docu-series, he was able to help use WingNut Films’ MAL audio technology to de-mix the film’s mono soundtrack, isolate instruments and vocals, and hone in on individual voice’s conversations. This was then used on ‘Now And Then.’
“They said this is the sound of John’s voice (imitates computer noise). A few seconds later or however long it took, and there it was: JOHN’S voice, crystal clear. It was quite emotional,” McCartney said.
Starr added: “Since Peter took John off and gave him his own track, it was like John’s there you know? It was far out.”
Meanwhile, The Beatles have today launched an official Christmas jumper ahead of the festive season.
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