Thursday 22 June

The Mill Studio, Sussex England: time unknown. Recording: 'Now And Then/I Don't Want To Lose You' (takes unknown). P: George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne (?). E: Geoff Emerick. (?)

The August 1994 issue of Beatles Monthly Magazine revealed that the three Beatles recorded at Paul's Mill Studio in East Sussex on 22nd June. This was apparently their first get together in the studio since February, the delay being put down to George's business negoatiations for the sale of Handmade Films.

Destitute and penniless, the Beatles are forced to record in an old barn...
The Mill Studio

During this session, the group apparently continued work on the Now And Then demo (see the previous February 1994 session).

Speaking in December 1995, Jeff Lynne claimed the song (which has a chorus but is lacking in verses) was technically still without formal title, but should it ever be completed, it would probably end up as either Now And Then or Miss You. The composition had not been included in The Lost Lennon Tapes radio series, despite claims that it had access to the complete Lennon archive.

Yoko Ono has confirmed it was her who chose the recording, selecting unreleased Lennon songs "very carefully". She chose Now And Then (later copyrighted as I Don't Want To Lose You) for almost therapeutic reasons:

Yoko Ono: Because these songs were to come from the Beatles. The Beatles will be singing to the world again. The implication of that was tremendous. I thought, this was a song which would release people from their sorrow of losing John. By listening to the song, they will eventually be able to release their sorrow and arrive at an understanding that, actually, John is not lost to them. Paul, George and Ringo lost a great friend as well. If they sung this song from their hearts it would have helped many people around the world who felt the same.

Jeff Lynne had again been assisted in cleaning up the original Now And Then/I Don't Want To Lose You tape by musician Marc Mann. Mann recalls that the demo they worked with had been recorded on a four-track (John's voice was doubled) and he'd used a tambourine. Lynne didn't want the tambourine, so they frequency notched around it so the filter would not affect John's vocals substantially.

Soon after this work was done, a demo of Now And Then, complete with an annoying electrical buzz throughout, circulated on bootleg CDs. This bootleg demo had no tambourine, suggesting it was either a different recording to the one the Beatles had worked on, or perhaps this was a copy of the altered tape with the tambourine removed (unless Mann is confusing this song with Grow Old With Me, which has a tinny click track that sounds quite like a tambourine?).

Unfortunately, the Now And Then recordings the Beatles attempted on this day did not go well and the session was aborted early.

Jeff Lynne: We had a go at it but there were a lot of words that hadn't been completed on it. The playing on it was fine. It was just that the words weren't finished, and quite a lot of them weren't finished. It was a decision to do something that was already complete, so we could actually get it down on tape.

George apparently suggested the group continue the next day, this time at his Friar Park Studios in his Henley-on-Thames mansion.

Note: Rumours that an Abbey Road studio had been block booked on 11th/12th/13th July 1994 for further recordings (possibly with an orchestra) appear to have been unfounded (especially since neither Free As A Bird nor Real Love featured an orchestra when finally released). Another rumour spread that the three men were about to record there on 17th July.

Mark Lewisohn's liner notes on the Anthology albums make no mention of any new recordings being made at Abbey Road, stating both of the new tracks were recorded at Paul's studio.

It is possible that any Abbey Road sessions the group attended around this time were playback or mixing sessions for the forthcoming Live At The BBC release.

Sources include: Beatles Monthly No. 220 Aug 94 (Beat Publications Ltd); The Beatles After The Breakup (Keith Badman - Omnibus Press); One More Beatles Song or Should They Just Let It Be? By Rip Rense The Washington Post 21 August 2005.

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