Kathi Yeager

Kathi Yeager

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It's the Music Video Peter Jackson created for The Beatles' "Now and Then"

With Thursday's release of the new and final Beatles song, "Now and Then," it's time for the video.

It was directed by Peter Jackson, who directed their 2022 documentary Get Back, and who, along with his team, are responsible for cleaning up the John Lennon demo of the song that allowed Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to finish it, while using George Harrison's guitar tracks from when they first attempted to complete it in 1995 for their Anthology project.

Despite his love for The Beatles, Jackson says he wanted nothing to do with the video.

"I knew The Beatles don’t take no for an answer if their minds are set on something... I found myself swept along as they quickly addressed my concerns [for lack of lot of rare and unseen film]. Paul and Ringo shot footage of themselves performing and sent that to me. Apple unearthed over 14 hours of long forgotten film shot during the 1995 recording sessions, including several hours of Paul, George and Ringo working on 'Now and Then,' and gave all that to me. Sean Lennon and Olivia Harrison found some great unseen home movie footage and sent that. To cap things off, a few precious seconds of The Beatles performing in their leather suits, the earliest known film of The Beatles and never seen before, was kindly supplied by [their original drummer] Pete Best.

"Watching this footage completely changed the situation - I could see how a music video could be made. Actually, I found it far easier if I thought of it as making a short movie, so that’s what I did… My lack of confidence with music videos didn’t matter anymore if I wasn’t making one.

"Even so, I still had no solid vision for what this short film should be - so I turned to the song for guidance... I was hoping that ideas or inspiration for the short film would somehow float up from the music. And that began to happen. As I kept listening, it felt like the song was creating ideas and images that started forming in my head - without any conscious effort from me...

"We wanted the short film to bring a few tears to the eye, but generating emotion using only archive footage is a tricky thing. Fortunately, the simple power of this beautiful song did a lot of the work for us, and we finished the first 30 or 40 secs of the film fairly quickly.

"Having done that, we jumped straight to the ending and tried to craft something that could adequately sum up the enormity of The Beatles’ legacy - in the last few seconds of their final recording. This proved to be impossible...

"Fortunately, [George's son] Dhani Harrison happened to be visiting New Zealand at this time. I discussed the ending with him, and described one vague idea I’d been toying with. His eyes immediately filled with tears - so that is the way we went...

"At their core they were irreverent and funny, and the middle section should capture that spirit...

"Luckily we found a collection of unseen outtakes in the vault, where The Beatles are relaxed, funny and rather candid. These become the spine of our middle section, and we wove the humor into some footage shot in 2023. The result is pretty nutty and provided the video with much needed balance between the sad and the funny...

"To be honest, while we hope we’ve given The Beatles a suitable final farewell, that’s something you’ll need to decide for yourselves when it’s finally released - only a few days from now..."

The release of "Now and Then" will be followed on November 10th by the re-release -- with additional tracks -- of The Beatles’ 1962-1966 (‘The Red Album’) and 1967-1970 (‘The Blue Album’).

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