For years, fans believed that truly new material was yesterday’s stuff, even though it once existed here, there and everywhere.
But 43 years after John Lennon’s death – and more than two decades after George Harrison’s death – the Beatles have reunited with the help of AI.
Today at 2 p.m. the band’s “new” single “Now and Then” will be released to millions of enthusiastic fans.
Last night, surviving Beatles Sir Paul McCartney, 81, and Sir Ringo Starr, 83, released a short film detailing how they made the track.
John began recording the vocals in the late 1970s and 14 years after he was shot in 1980, his widow Yoko Ono gave the tapes to Paul.
The technical problems of converting the vocals into a full track were considered insurmountable by George, who died in 2001.
But the feat has now been achieved with the help of artificial intelligence technology, which was used to better isolate Lennon’s voice.
Paul and Ringo then added new parts including drums, bass, backing vocals and a George-inspired slide guitar solo.
Back in the studio! The Beatles have released a short film revealing how they composed their last song together 43 years after John Lennon’s death (Paul McCartney pictured from the 1990s)
Demo: The band releases the track “Now and Then”, which late singer John began recording in the late 1970s before being dug up by his wife in the ’90s (pictured)
Regarding the death of George Harrison, he said: “In 2001 we lost George, which took the wind out of our sails. It took us almost a quarter of a century to tackle this now and again.”
Speaking about the short film, which premiered on The One Show on Wednesday, Sir Paul said: “When we lost John we knew it was really over.”
Regarding the death of George Harrison, he said: “In 2001 we lost George, which took the wind out of our sails. It took almost a quarter of a century for us to tackle it every now and then.”
Using new technology they used to produce the documentary series Get Back, the band were able to separate voices and instruments, giving them hope to work on the track again.
When Ringo heard John’s voice again for the first time, he said: “It was the closest I’ve ever been to having him back in the room, so it was very emotional for all of us.” It was like John had been there, you know . It’s far out.’
A video of John recording the demo at his home in New York’s Dakota Building was shared with the rest of the band in 1994.
It contained demos for “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love”, both of which were completed as new Beatles songs and released as singles in 1995 and 1996 respectively as part of The Beatles Anthology project.
At the same time, Paul, George and Ringo also recorded new parts and completed a rough mix for Now And Then with producer Jeff Lynne.
At this point, technical limitations prevented John’s vocals and piano from being separated to achieve the clear, unclouded mix needed to complete the song.
“Now And Then” was shelved in the hopes that it would be revisited one day.
The 2021 edited documentary The Beatles: Get Back, directed by Peter Jackson, was released and viewers were amazed by the award-winning film and audio restoration.
Finally done! “Now And Then” was shelved in the hopes that it would be revisited one day
Heartfelt: During the short film, within a few minutes, Paul explained that John’s voice echoed crystal clear through the room, as if he were there in person
It’s not over yet! Paul McCartney said of the short film, which premiered on The One Show on Wednesday: “When we lost John we knew it was really over.”
Band: However, John’s wife gave Yoko Uno a set of demos that John had been working on before his death, and they released some of them at the time
Back to Work: However, John’s wife gave Yoko Uno a set of demos that John had been working on before his death, and they released some of them at the time
Questions: This success paved the way for Revolver’s new 2022 mix, taken directly from the four-track master tapes. This led to the question: what could be done with the Now And Then demo? (John pictured with Yoko)
Using WingNut Films’ MAL audio technology, Jackson’s team had unmixed the film’s mono soundtrack and managed to isolate instruments and vocals, as well as all of the individual voices in the Beatles’ conversations.
This success paved the way for the new 2022 Revolver mix, taken directly from the four-track master tapes. This led to the question: what could be done with the Now And Then demo?
Jackson and his sound team, led by Emile de la Rey, applied the same technique to John’s original home recording, preserving the clarity and integrity of his original vocal performance by separating it from the piano.
During the short film, Paul explained, within a few minutes, John’s voice could be heard crystal clear across the room, as if he were there in person.
In 2022, Paul and Ringo set about finishing the song.
In addition to John’s vocals, “Now And Then” features electric and acoustic guitar recorded by George in 1995, Ringo’s new drum part, and bass, guitar and piano from Paul, matching John’s original playing.
Paul added a George-inspired slide guitar solo and he and Ringo also contributed backing vocals to the chorus.
In Los Angeles, Paul led a recording session at Capitol Studios for the song’s wistful, quintessentially Beatles string arrangement, written by Giles Martin, Paul and Ben Foster.
Paul and Giles added one final, wonderfully subtle touch: backing vocals from the original recordings of “Here, There And Everywhere”, “Eleanor Rigby” and “Because”.
They were incorporated into the new song using techniques perfected during the making of the LOVE show and album.
The finished track was produced by Paul and Giles and mixed by Spike Stent.
Paul said: “There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear.” It’s quite emotional. And we all play on it, it’s a real Beatles recording.
“To still be working on The Beatles’ music in 2023 and to be about to release a new song that the public hasn’t heard yet, I think is an exciting thing.”
News of the final song was announced earlier this summer, but it has now been confirmed that it will be released on November 2nd and will premiere on Scott Mills’ radio show on BBC Radio 2 at 2pm.
It will also be available on a remastered version of the band’s Red And Blue album, due out November 10th.
Release: News of the final song was announced earlier this summer, but it has now been confirmed that it will be released on November 2nd and will premiere on Scott Mills’ radio show on BBC R2 at 2pm
The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York on February 9, 1964
Later this month, expanded versions of the Beatles 1962-1966 and 1967-1970 compilations will be released.
Although “Now And Then” was released much later than 1970, it is included in the latter collection.
The surviving Beatles have skillfully released new projects, such as remixes of their old albums containing studio outtakes and Jackson Get Back Movietimed to appeal to nostalgic fans around the holiday season.
But this will be the last time.
“This is the last track ever to feature the four Beatles on the track.” “John, Paul, George and Ringo,” the latter said in one Current interview with Associated Press.