The last official Beatles song made by all four members will be released next week
I get by with a little help from AI…
Credit: Stanley Bielecki/ASP/Getty Images
The last song made by all four members of The Beatles, titled Now And Then, is set to be released next week on Thursday 2 November at 2pm, GMT. A music video will premiere the following day.
Originally written and sung by John Lennon, the track has been developed and worked on by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and now finally finished by both McCartney and Starr over four decades later, with a little help from AI tech.
- READ MORE: “To understand the second half of the 20th century, you have to understand The Beatles”: Paul McCartney podcast editor on the legacy of the Fab Four
Lennon recorded a demo for Now And Then with vocals and piano at his New York home in the late 1970s. Yoko Ono Lennon later gave the recording to the other Beatles in 1994, along with his demos for Free As A Bird and Real Love.
McCartney, Harrison and Starr recorded new parts and completed a rough mix for the track at the time with producer Jeff Lynne. But during this era, limitations in technology prevented Lennon’s vocals and piano from being separated to achieve an unclouded mix, and so it was shelved.
Here’s where AI comes in – Using WingNut Films’ MAL audio technology (used for The Beatles: Get Back docuseries), Peter Jackson and his sound team used a demixing technique on Lennon’s home recording to preserve the clarity of his vocals by separating it from the piano.
So in 2022, McCartney and Starr set about completing the song he started. Now And Then also includes electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995 by Harrison, Starr’s new drum part, as well as bass, guitar and piano from McCartney, which matches Lennon’s original playing.
McCartney also oversaw a Capitol Studios recording session for the song’s string arrangement, and backing vocals from the original recordings of Here, There And Everywhere, Eleanor Rigby and Because were also woven into the new song. The finished track was produced by McCartney and Giles, and mixed by Spike Stent.
“There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear,” says McCartney of the track. “It’s quite emotional. And we all play on it, it’s a genuine Beatles recording. In 2023 to still be working on Beatles music, and about to release a new song the public haven’t heard, I think it’s an exciting thing.”
Starr adds, “It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room so it was very emotional for all of us. It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.”
A 12-minute Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song documentary film will premiere prior to its release on 1 November on The Beatles’ YouTube channel at 7:30pm GMT, which tells the story behind the track. The official trailer is out now:
To wrap things up, The Beatles’ 1962-1966 The Red Album and 1967-1970 The Blue Album collections will be released on 10 November in 2023 Edition packages. Both tracklists have been expanded, with all the songs mixed in true stereo and Dolby Atmos.
Find out more via the official Beatles website.
Get the latest news, reviews and tutorials to your inbox.Subscribe