Bury St Edmunds photographer, Tom Murray, says The Beatles ‘final’ song: Now and Then – has brought ‘bittersweet’ memories flooding back
The release of The Beatles ‘final’ song brought back bittersweet memories for a Bury St Edmunds photographer.
Tom Murray, was working for the Sunday Times magazine when he photographed the Fab Four during a freewheeling day in London in 1968.
He didn’t even know who he was going to meet at the time.
His rare photographs were published in a book The Beatles: Tom Murray’s Mad Day Out – and are often cited as the best colour photos of the world’s biggest band.
The Beatles new ‘final’ song: ‘Now and Then’ has been released as double A-side single with the band's 1962 debut Love Me Do.
It has been produced using AI technology.
Tom Murray, said: “It brought back some memories, which were bittersweet.
“I was in New York when John Lennon was shot.
“I was in a restaurant with the art director of GQ planning my birthday, four days later on the 12th of December, 1980.
“As we left the restaurant, all these people were running by, shouting Lennon’s dead. There were police arriving and people were crying.
“Every time I go to New York, I do go to where his memorial is as a kind of ‘thank you’ because they were so nice when I met them and The Beatles photoshoot is one of the pinaccle moments of my career; being in the right place, at right time and what they wanted to do.”
After Lennon's murder in 1980 aged 40, his wife Yoko Ono handed a tape to the rest of the band members, along with rough recordings of Free As A Bird and Real Love.
These were re-worked and released in the mid-1990s.
Surviving Beatles members, including George Harrison,who died in 2001, also worked on Now And Then – but they did not release it.
Limited technology meant they could not extract Lennon's vocals as they hoped.
New AI audio technology has been employed to clean up the sound, as well as the electric and acoustic guitar recordings for the song, by George Harrison, in 1995.
A music video, directed by Peter Jackson, is also being released to accompany the single.
Tom Murray has photographed everyone from the British royal family to the world’s biggest movie stars.
But his day with The Beatles still stands above the rest.
The Beatles were on good form that day, larking about and enjoying themselves.
Tom Murray has also raised thousands of pounds for charity with his photos.
Tom Murray said: “I was working for the Sunday Times magazine and photographer Don McCullin asked if I would I drive him around for a pop group.
“He never said who it was. I ended up spending the day with them and we took photographs around London. I still have the same camera, today.
“Considering the fact John Lennon played dead in two of my images, I would have loved to asked: why did you do that? But I didn’t know someone was going to shoot him.
“To this day, I always wondered what he would have gone on to do if he had lived.”
Tom says he needs to listen to the song ‘a few more times’ before giving an opinion.
“I am not sure,” he said: “I need to hear it a few more times. I am very traditionalist. I love all the other Beatles’ songs; I can sing most of them.
“I have mixed emotions about it.
“But it certainly brought back quite a few memories.”