By Charlene Badasie | Published
The Beatles have released a new song titled “Now and Then.” The track marks the conclusion of a collection of demos written by John Lennon, which were sent to Paul McCartney in 1994 by Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono. The cassette had the words “For Paul” written on the front with the songs originally planned for inclusion in The Beatles Anthology series, a three-volume collection of outtakes released in 1995 and 1996.
Thanks to advancements in AI technology, which have improved the isolation of John Lennon’s vocals from the demo, The Beatles were able to finish the song successfully.
Initially, McCartney, along with the remaining members of The Beatles, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, turned two of these recordings into new songs. “Free As a Bird” reached the second spot on the UK singles chart in December 1995, and “Real Love” claimed the fourth spot in March 1996. However, the band encountered difficulties completing the song based on the “Now and Then” demo.
“It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room.”
Ringo Starr on John Lennon’s voice in the new song
Thanks to advancements in AI technology, which have improved the isolation of John Lennon’s vocals from the demo, The Beatles were able to finish the song successfully. McCartney and Ringo Starr contributed new parts to it, and the late George Harrison’s guitar parts from the shelved 1995 session were integrated.
A behind-the-scenes documentary about the new Beatles song was released on November 1, although it does not feature the song itself. “It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room,” Ringo Starr said, referring to Lennon. Elsewhere, McCartney recalled the challenges the band faced with “Now and Then” in 1995.
“On John’s demo tape, the piano was a little hard to hear,” McCartney explained. “And in those days, of course, we didn’t have the technology to do the separation. We kind of ran out of steam a bit, and time. ‘Now and Then’ just languished in a cupboard.” McCartney also shared his initial doubts about completing full songs from Lennon’s demos out of respect for the late songwriter’s unfinished work.
“‘Is it something we shouldn’t do? Every time I thought like that, I thought, wait a minute, let’s say I had a chance to ask John, ‘Hey John, would you like us to finish this last song of yours?’ I’m telling you, I know the answer would have been, ‘Yeah!’” McCartney added about the decision to release one more song by The Beatles.
Peter Jackson directed the music video for “Now and Then,” which was set to launch at 2 pm GMT on November 3. He previously directed the eight-hour Get Back documentary, which also used the same AI technology to illustrate how the band assembled songs for The Beatles’ final two albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be.
Known as one of the most influential rock bands in the history of music, The Beatles formed in Liverpool, England, in 1960. The core members of the band were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Their innovative songwriting, vocal harmonies, and experimentation with studio techniques set them apart from other bands of their era.
McCartney and Ringo Starr contributed new parts to it, and the late George Harrison’s guitar parts from the shelved 1995 session were integrated.
The Beatles released several successful albums, including Please Please Me, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The White Album, Abbey Road, and many more. These albums are considered classics and have had a profound impact on the music industry. Their chart-topping singles, “Hey Jude,” “Let It Be,” “Yesterday,” and “All You Need Is Love,” are still popular today.
However, The Beatles were not just a musical phenomenon but also a cultural one. They played a significant role in the “British Invasion” of the United States, and their influence on fashion, art, and pop culture was immense. While their music was enormously successful, internal tensions eventually led to their breakup in 1970. Each member pursued a solo career with varying degrees of success.