The Beatles top the charts with their new number – more than five decades after their last number one | Ents & Arts News

The Beatles have topped the UK charts with their new track Now And Then – 54 years since their last number one.

The song is originates from a private recording made by John Lennon in the 1970s, and was only completed earlier this year by the surviving Beatles – Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr.

Their last number one was The Ballad of John And Yoko in 1969, a gap of 52 years – the longest in UK chart history.

It was a record previously held by Kate Bushthere was a 44-year wait between her first number one in 1978 with Wuthering Heights and her second last year, with Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God), thanks to its use in the fourth season of Stranger Things.

File photo dated 01/06/67 of The Beatles (left to right) Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon in a recording studio in London.  Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr have spoken about theirs "emotional" emotions ahead of the release of what they call the last Beatles song.  Now And Then, written and sung by John Lennon and later developed by the other band members including George Harrison, has been completed by Sir Paul and Sir Ringo decades after the original recording
The Beatles in 1967. File photo.

Sir Paul said it was “breathtaking”, telling the Official Charts Company: “It’s blown my socks off. It’s a very emotional moment for me too. I love it!”

It is the 18th number one hit for the Fab Four, the most decorated artists in UK chart history, followed by Westlife with 14 number ones and Take That with 12.

They have also drawn level with Elvis Presley on the number of different tracks to reach the top of the UK chart.

Now And Then was started with a home recording by Lennon in the late 1970s before he was shot dead in 1980 at the age of 40.

His wife Yoko Ono then gave the tape to the rest of the band, along with rough recordings of Free As A Bird and Real Love, which were reworked and released in the mid-1990s.

During this time, the surviving Beatles members – including George Harrison, who died in 2001 – also developed Now And Then, but did not release it. They blamed the limited technology that caused problems in clearly extracting Lennon’s vocals.

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But new audio restoration technology has made it possible to clean up and use Lennon’s original demo alongside Harrison’s electric and acoustic guitar recordings for the song from 1995, while Sir Ringo and Sir Paul also contributed to the track.

The Beatles’ first number one was From Me To You in April 1963, with their string of chart hits including Hey Jude, Help! and all you need is love.

Other artists with long gaps between number ones include Wham! (35 years between The Edge Of Heaven in 1986 and Last Christmas in 2021), Tom Jones, (42 years from Green, Green Grass of Home in 1967 to Islands In The Stream – with Rob Brydon, Robin Gibb and Ruth Jones – in 2009 ), and Cher (26 years between I Got You Babe – with Sonny Bono – in 1965 and The Shoop Shoop Song in 1991).

Former Beatles Ringo Starr (L) and Paul McCartney attend the world premiere of 'The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years' in London, Britain September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Sir Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney contributed to the new track

Last Christmas is also back in the UK chart this week, entering at number 37, marking the earliest Christmas carol to ever appear there.

Taylor Swift remain at the top of the album charts with 1989 (Taylor’s Version), while Oasis are in second place with the reissue of 1998 album The Masterplan.

The Rolling Stones’ latest release Hackney Diamonds is number four.

The Official Charts Company compiles the UK singles and album charts.

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