In an extraordinary melding of classic artistry and cutting-edge technology, fans of The Beatles will soon hear a never-before-released track from the legendary band, thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence. The announcement of the new song, titled “Now and Then,” comes from the renowned record company Universal Music Group. This new release is causing waves of excitement and anticipation among fans and music aficionados worldwide.
Hailed as the final Beatles song, “Now and Then” isn’t entirely new. Its origins trace back to the late 1970s when John Lennon, then residing in New York City, created a home demo of the track. Tragically, Lennon was murdered in 1980, bringing a heartbreaking end to any prospects of him reuniting with his former bandmates. The Beatles had already parted ways in 1970, and while they pursued individual careers, their collective legacy endured, shaping music for generations.
After Lennon’s death, Yoko Ono, his widow, entrusted a collection of recordings, which included “Now and Then,” to the surviving Beatles. The intent was to breathe new life into these recordings. And indeed, remaining members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with contributions from the late George Harrison, added their unique touches to the song. However, the existing technology of the time presented a challenge: it couldn’t clearly separate Lennon’s vocals and piano to create the precise mix the song deserved.
But, as the world of technology progressed, so did the potential to revisit and reimagine lost classics. Inspired by the breakthroughs achieved in Peter Jackson’s 2021 documentary series “The Beatles: Get Back,” which utilized AI to segregate instruments and vocals, the decision was made to apply similar technological methods to “Now and Then.”
The results were astonishing. The AI-managed to crystalize John’s voice, a moment that McCartney described as deeply emotional. “There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear. It’s quite emotional. And we all play on it; it’s a genuine Beatles recording,” he said. “In 2023, to still be working on Beatles music and about to release a song the public hasn’t heard, it’s an exciting thing.”
Ringo Starr echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the profound emotional impact the song had on them. “It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him [Lennon] back in the room. It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.”
Fans worldwide can await this nostalgic and technological marvel when it’s released globally at 1400 GMT on November 2nd.