The Beatles' Timeline, Then and Now: 1970-2023

Paul Williams details The Beatles' post-split years, from 1970 through to 2023
The Beatles timeline

The Beatles' entire recording era is comprehensively-documented, from their formation in 1960 through to the John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr's split in 1970. But they have arguably been as active since their break-up, as solo artists, as the original unit and via their label Apple Corps.

With the upcoming reissues of their compilations 1962-1966 ('The Red Album') and 1967-1970 ('The Blue Album') and the release of the 'last' Beatles single Now And Then, Paul Williams here provides an overview of their post-split activity from May 1970 through to the present day.

the beatles

MORE: See where every The Beatles song and album has charted in the UK

May 1970: Let It Be released

The Beatles’ final studio album Let It Be is released, several weeks after Paul McCartney reveals in a self-written Q&A to promote his first solo album, McCartney, that he is no longer working with The Fab Four.

April 1973: 'The Red Album' and 'The Blue Album' released

The double-disc albums 1962-1966 and 1967-1970 - more commonly known as the 'Red' and 'Blue' albums - are released, housing all the group’s singles across their eight vinyl LP sides, alongside album tracks and B-sides. The albums see The Beatles return to the top of the charts around the world, while setting a benchmark of how to repackage their music to new generations of fans.

The Beatles press shot

MORE: Every Number 1 single by The Beatles

June 1976

The compilation Rock ’n’ Roll Music brings together the group’s previously-released covers of 1950s classics by the likes of Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Carl Perkins alongside their rockier, self-penned tracks.

May 1977: The Beatles at the Holywood Bowl released

The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, a live album of performances from 1964 and 1965 at the famous LA venue, is released during the height of punk and returns the group to Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart for the first time since Let It Be.

October 1977: Love Songs released

Love Songs places them in the UK Top 10 for the second time in 1977, with this double album compilation peaking at Number 7.

December 1978: The Beatles Rarities released

The Rarities compilation offers hard-to-find and lesser-known Beatles recordings, including B-sides and even two songs recorded in German.

every the beatles uk number 1 single

MORE: Everything you need to know about The Beatles' 'The Red Album' and 'The Blue Albums' reissues

October 1980: The Beatles Ballads released

Released in the week of John Lennon’s 40th birthday, The Beatles Ballads brings together some of their best-loved slower numbers. 

March 1982: Reel Music released

The retrospective Reel Music record is released and houses tracks from the group’s films, while spawning the UK Top 10 single The Beatles Movie Medley.

October 1982: 20 Greatest Hits released

Marking the 20th anniversary of the group's first release Love Me Do, 20 Greatest Hits includes all their UK Number 1 singles, plus their debut hit, all on one album. The LP peaked at Number 10 in the UK.

April 1987: The Beatles embrace the Compact Disc

The Beatles' first four studio albums are issued on Compact Disc for the first time, starting a CD release programme of their original albums that stretches across the year. It reaches a peak on June 1 1987, when Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band makes its CD debut 20 years after its initial release.

March 1988: Past Masters released

The two compilations Past Masters, Volumes One and Two are released on CD, bringing together all of the groups A-sides, B-sides, EP tracks and other recordings that did not feature on any of their studio albums.

September 1993: 'Red' and 'Blue' make their CD debut

The first roll-out of The Beatles' recordings on CD is completed, as the 'Red' and 'Blue' compilations make their format debut. 

The Beatles 1962-1965 The Red Album cover

November 1994: Live at the BBC released

Capturing performances by the band on various BBC Light Programme shows, Live at the BBC becomes the first official Beatles album of previously-unissued recordings since the Hollywood Bowl compilation. It debuts at Number 1 in the UK.

November 1995: Anthology 1 released

Produced by Sir George Martin, Anthology 1 is released, marking the start of a long-awaited appearance of previously-unreleased Beatles studio recordings and serving as the soundtrack of an eight-part TV documentary in which the group tell their legendary story for the first time.

The album includes Free As a Bird, the first brand new Beatles track in 25 years, which is created by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, under the supervision of producer Jeff Lynne, using a demo recording from John Lennon.

The Beatles

March 1996: Real Love unveiled

Real Love, another new Beatles recording created around a John Lennon demo, appears on Anthology 2. The album gives the group their UK 14th UK Number 1 album. 

October 1996: Anthology 3 released

Anthology 3, the third and final album in the series is released, bringing together rarities and alternative tracks from the final years of the band’s career. 

September 1999: Yellow Submarine Songtrack released

Yellow Submarine Songtrack is released to accompany a re-issue of the 1968 animated film, and places for the first time on one album all The Beatles recordings which featured in the movie.

November 2000: The Beatles' greatest hits, 1, released

The greatest hits package, 1, is released; marking the first time all the group’s UK and US Number 1 singles are made available on one disc. The album tops charts around the world, including the UK, where it spends nine weeks at Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart and is ultimately BRIT Certified 13x Platinum (so far).

November 2003: Let It Be... Naked released

The Beatles’ last studio set is reworked as Let It Be… Naked, which has a different track listing and alternative mix to the original album.

November 2006: Love released

Love, the soundtrack album to The Beatles' Cirque du Soleil show of the same name, is released. It is to become the last Beatles album to involve George Martin, who co-produces with his son Giles.

The Beatles Love album cover

MORE: The Beatles' Official Top 40 most-streamed songs ever revealed

September 2009: The Beatles' studio albums receive a remaster

Remastered versions of the group’s original studio albums are released on CD, in both stereo and mono versions, while The Beatles: Rock Band video game is released at the same time. A similar reissues programme follows on vinyl.

November 2010: The Beatles' catalogue added to Apple's iTunes

After several years of holdouts, The Beatles’ catalogue is finally available to download on Apple’s iTunes Music Store, allowing fans to individually buy album tracks for the first time. 

November 2013:

Nearly two decades after the first BBC album, another compilation of their recordings for the Corporation titled On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2 appears.

December 2015: The Beatles land on streaming

On Christmas Eve 2015, The Beatles’ catalogue is added to all the leading music streaming services, with George Harrison’s Here Comes the Sun emerging as a fan favourite.

September 2016: The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl reissued

To accompany Ron Howard’s new documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years, The Beatles' Live at The Hollywood Bowl album is reissued and rebranded to share the name of the film. 

June 2017: Sgt Pepper celebrates 50 years

The 50th anniversary of the Sgt Pepper album is marked with an expanded reissue, taking the album back to Number 1 in the UK for the first time since 1968. Its release is followed by similar 50th anniversary expanded versions of The Beatles ('The White Album') in 2018 and Abbey Road in 2019; with the latter topping the Official Albums Chart.

October 2021: Peter Jackson's Get Back documentary released

An expanded reissue of the album Let It Be is released and serves as the soundtrack of Get Back, a nearly eight-hour documentary produced and directed by Peter Jackson; utilising mostly-unused footage from the original Let It Be movie.

October 2022: Revolver gets the reissue treatment

Revolver becomes the fifth Beatles studio album to be given an expanded reissue with remix producer Giles Martin using de-mixing technology mastered by Peter Jackson during the making of the Get Back documentary. 

WATCH The Beatles' Now And Then music video below:

November 2023: The Beatles' 'last' song, Now And Then, released

Now And Then, billed as the very 'last' new Beatles recording, is released. It is created from a John Lennon demo and features all four members of The Beatles. It appears alongside remastered and expanded versions of the 'Red' and 'Blue' albums, more than 50 years after their original release. It is issued as a single as well as serving as the final track on the new version of the 'Blue' compilation LP.

Read more about The Beatles' 'Red' and 'Blue' album reissues here.

Will Now And Then become The Beatles' 18th Official Number 1 single this Friday (November 10)? Keep your eyes peeled to for all the latest on one of the year's biggest chart races, and be sure to listen to The Official Chart with Jack Saunders this Friday from 4pm on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Sounds.

Images: Apple Corps/The Beatles.

The Beatles' Now And Then is out now via Apple Corps.

The Beatles' 1962-1966 and 1967-1970 reissues will be released Friday November 10 via Apple Corps.

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