No doubt, they are the Beatles. The release of the title was expected, and “Now and then” is now available online since 3 p.m., on the YouTube site. On the group’s online store, where the title is available as desired, certain media offered for pre-order, vinyl or cette, are already out of stock.
“It’s probably the last Beatles song, and we all play on it, it’s a real Beatles recording,” says Paul McCartney, 81, in a short video documentary posted online Wednesday evening, which traces the genesis of the song and allows you to hear a preview of “Now and Then”.
“ Now And Then “is the last Beatles song, written and sung by John Lennon, developed and worked on by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and finally completed by Paul and Ringo more than four decades later,” summarizes the presentation of the track.
The title came from a demo recorded in the 1970s by John Lennon in his New York apartment. After his ination in 1980, his widow Yoko Ono handed over the tape, with vocals and piano, to the other members of the group in 1994. The techniques then available did not make it possible to extract John Lennon’s voice with sufficient quality, the piece remained in the boxes.
Everything changed with the documentary series “Get Back”, produced in 2021 by Peter Jackson. The director of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy then extracted Lennon’s voice from a cette by separating it from the piano, helped by new technologies using artificial intelligence. “We ended up with John’s voice, crystal clear,” explained Paul McCartney, quoted in a press release announcing the release of this title.
Added to the original demo were electric and acoustic guitar recordings by George Harrison from 1995, before his death in 2001. The song was completed last year in Los Angeles studios, blending drums from Ringo Starr, the piano and b of Paul McCartney, and the vocals of the two living Beatles.
“It was very emotional for all of us. It’s like John was among us,” said Ringo Starr, 83. In April 1970, six months after the release of the album “Abbey Road” and a month before that of “Let It Be”, the Beatles announced their separation. The ten years of collaboration between Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr produced 14 best-selling albums, nearly a billion records sold and resulted in the filming of several films.
“It’s all true”
Despite the death of Lennon in 1980 and that of Harrison in 2001, “Beatlemania” remains alive throughout the world and the possibilities offered by artificial intelligence (AI) have already inspired attempts by fans to bring them together, or to revisit the latest works of Paul McCartney with his youthful voice. During an interview with the BBC last June, McCartney revealed the preparation of this new song.
“We came to make what would be the last Beatles recording, it was a model of John’s that we worked from,” he explained. “Nothing was created artificially or synthetically, everything is true. (…). We cleaned up some recordings,” he later insisted.
The existence of the model was known and Paul McCartney had made no secret of wanting to give the piece a new life. But he had always explained that the project did not succeed due to the opposition of George Harrison who did not like it. After “Now and Then”, the two compilations red 1962-1966 and blue 1967-1970 will be reissued in an expanded version on November 10.