Guitar Aficionado

Hear a John Lennon Demo That Almost Became a Beatles Song

And a fan’s finished version of it!
Image placeholder title

By Christopher Scapelliti

In 1994, some 14 years after the death of John Lennon, the remaining Beatles reconvened in the studio to see if they could finish up three rough and incomplete home demos that Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, had given them. The results of those sessions were two new Beatles songs: “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love,” both of which were released as part of the group’s late-Nineties Anthology project.

But what about the third song they were offered, a piano-led track called “Now and Then”?

As it turns out, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr had made an attempt at working on the song. But Harrison gave up shortly into the session, as he was unhappy with the raw quality of Lennon’s home demo.

McCartney recalls the session in the video below, which also includes the original Lennon home demo.

“George went off it: ‘Fuckin’ rubbish, this is,’ ” McCartney says of Harrison’s reaction.

“That one’s still lingering around, so I’m gonna nick in with Jeff and do it and finish it one of these days,” he adds, referring to Jeff Lynne, the Electric Light Orchestra leader who produced “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love.”

More than 20 years later, McCartney still has yet to finish up Lennon’s demo—but another enterprising musician has. You can hear their results in the video below, and they are pretty impressive. The video has been copied and reposted so many times that it’s impossible to know exactly who originally uploaded it, but if you know please tell us.

We have no idea what McCartney’s take on “Now and Then” might sound like, but if he never completes it, this will do just fine.