The Beatles’ “Now and Then” resurfaces through AI magic
- Web Desk
- Oct 30, 2023
In a remarkable fusion of artistry and technology, a “final” Beatles song, “Now and Then,” featuring all four legendary band members, is set to grace the airwaves once more, reigniting the magic of the Fab Four. The long-lost track, with vocals from John Lennon, has been resurrected, thanks to cutting-edge AI technology, akin to that used in Peter Jackson’s acclaimed documentary “Get Back.”
The revival of this cherished relic has generated excitement across the globe. A crystal-clear John Lennon serenades listeners in the track, delivering a poignant and captivating performance. Paul McCartney shared his emotional response, stating, “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.”
“Now and Then” was crafted and sung by John Lennon during the late 1970s at his residence in the Dakota building, New York City. In 1994, Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, presented a cassette labeled “For Paul” to Paul McCartney, containing Lennon’s demos for “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love,” alongside the “Now and Then” demo.
While “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love” were successfully completed by McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison and released as singles under the Beatles Anthology project, the audio limitations at the time hindered the separation of Lennon’s vocals and piano on “Now and Then.” Consequently, this gem remained concealed.
More than a quarter of a century later, AI-assisted software was employed by Peter Jackson to “de-mix” the original audio from Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1970 footage, revealing the Beatles recording their final album, “Let It Be.” This technology enabled the isolation of instruments, vocals, and conversations, eventually leading to the creation of the “Get Back” documentary series.
This breakthrough inspired the surviving Beatles, McCartney and Starr, to revisit the “Now and Then” demo. Jackson, along with a team led by Emile de la Rey, employed the same technique to extract Lennon’s original vocal performance from his piano, bridging the gaps left by historical technological constraints.
In an exhilarating culmination of musical history, McCartney and Starr contributed new elements to the song, with Harrison’s guitar parts from 1995 and a string arrangement jointly crafted by McCartney, Giles Martin, and Ben Foster. The song is further enriched by backing vocals derived from original recordings of “Here, There and Everywhere,” “Eleanor Rigby,” and “Because.” Jeff Lynne made additional production contributions.
The release of “Now and Then” in a physical format precedes the launch of new editions of the renowned Beatles compilations, the “Red Album” and the “Blue Album.” These updated editions encompass the entirety of the Beatles’ singles discography, introducing 12 new tracks to the “Red Album” and nine to the “Blue Album.”
The anticipation surrounding this musical resurrection echoes across generations, demonstrating the enduring power and allure of the Beatles’ iconic sound. As fans and music enthusiasts prepare to immerse themselves in the magic of “Now and Then,” the world eagerly awaits this sensational revival.