Beatles: String Musician Died Without Knowing She Played on ‘Final’ Song
The Beatles released their “final” song, “Now And Then,” last week. One of the most unique things about the track was that the musicians who provided the string arrangement on the track didn’t know they were working on a Beatles song. Now, we’re learning more about when these musicians found out they played on a Beatles track.
CBC News shared the remarkable story of Caroline Buckman, a violist who played on “Now And Then.” Sadly, Caroline died on March 5, 2023, at age 48, following a five-year battle with breast cancer. Caroline’s mother, Erika, shared with the CBC that she found out that her daughter’s recording session with Paul McCartney was really for a Beatles song on Nov. 3, the day after “Now And Then” was released.
When asked what her daughter would have thought of the Beatles revelation, Erika said, “She would have been delirious [with joy] about it.”
Following this recording session, McCartney hung out with all of the musicians, signed autographs and took pictures. Notably, Sir Paul signed Caroline’s sheet music she worked off of during the session. CBC notes in their piece that Caroline had played with the likes of Brian Wilson, Neil Young and R.E.M. However, her boyfriend, Mitch Brown, said after the session, “She said, ‘I played with Paul McCartney today.’… In her entire career, she’d never asked a colleague [for an autograph].” Brown said that Caroline later framed that sheet music.
The Call for Strings
CBC News also shed some light on how the string arrangement recording session came to be. Over a dozen musicians were contacted by a Los Angeles-based music contractor in late April 2022. The contractor asked these musicians — some of whom weren’t in L.A. at the time — if they could make it to Capitol Studios in three days’ time.
The message mentioned the session involved McCartney, but little else was divulged. Some of the musicians on the track told CBC News they had rescheduled various appointments to make the session. One musician played a concert in Miami the night before the session and caught a red-eye flight to L.A. after the concert.
The song the musicians thought they were working on was called “Give & Take,” and there was no mention of the Beatles at all.
As for pay, CBC News says each musician was paid a union rate for their three-hour session. That paycheck was for about a few hundred dollars per musician. Sure, that seems like not enough, but being able to say you played on the “final” Beatles song is priceless.