Nearly two weeks after the final Beatles single was released, WQPT (Quad Cities PBS) will air a short documentary about the making of “Now and Then,” on Wednesday night, Nov. 15, immediately following “Antiques Roadshow” (scheduled to air at 7 p.m.).

The short film (written and directed by Oliver Murray) documents the 60-year journey of a track recorded by John Lennon in his apartment in the late 1970s through its release Nov. 2, 2023 as the final song from all four band members. PBS will offer free viewing access from Sunday, Nov. 12, through Saturday, Nov. 18, on, the PBS App and on PBS stations (check local listings).

Paul McCartney playing for the last Beatles single, “Now and Then.”

The 12-minute film, which features the Beatles, Sean Lennon and Peter Jackson, will then be available for PBS station members to stream on PBS Passport from Sunday, Nov. 19, until Monday, Dec. 11, 2023. 

This historic track is the product of decades of conversations and collaborations among members of the legendary band. In 1994, Yoko Ono, Lennon’s wife, mentioned to George Harrison that she had a tape of her husband recording some original songs.

In February 1995, Paul, George and Ringo worked on the Lennon demo as part of The Beatles Anthology and were successful in putting together the songs “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love,” released in the mid-1990s. But “Now and Then” proved to be an insurmountable technical challenge, as John’s vocal was partially obscured by his piano accompaniment, and the song lay dormant for decades, according to a PBS release.

George Harrison and Paul McCartney in 1995.

But in 2022, there was a stroke of technical serendipity. A software system developed by Peter Jackson and his team for the documentary series Get Back finally opened the way for the uncoupling of John’s vocal from his piano part.

As a result, the original recording could be brought to life, and the newly cleared vocal enabled McCartney and Starr to complete the track last year. The final recording includes John’s original vocal, McCartney’s bass and a slide guitar solo he added as a tribute to George Harrison, drums by Starr, and a guitar part Harrison had recorded nearly three decades ago.

The three then-surviving Beatles (Paul, George and Ringo) pictured in 1995.

PBS said that this “remarkable story of musical archaeology reflects The Beatles’ endless creative curiosity and shared fascination with technology. It marks the completion of the last recording that John, Paul, George and Ringo will get to make together and celebrates the legacy of the foremost and most influential band in popular music history.”

You can see Peter Jackson’s music video for “Now and Then” HERE.