LOS ANGELES — The Beatles’ last recording is here.
Titled “Now and Then,” the almost-impossible track contains four minutes and eight seconds of the 21st century’s first and only original Beatles recording. There’s a countdown, then acoustic guitar strumming and piano bleed into John Lennon’s unmistakable vocal tone in the song’s intro: “I know it’s true / It’s all because of you / And if I make it through / It’s all because of you.”
More than four decades after Lennon’s murder and more than two years after George Harrison’s death, the last Beatles song was released as a double-A-side single alongside the band’s 1962 debut single, “Love Me Do.”
“Now and Then” comes from the same batch of unreleased demos Lennon wrote in the 1970s and given to his former bandmates by Yoko Ono. They used the tape to create the songs “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love”, which were released in the mid-1990s. But there were technical limitations to finishing “Now and Then.”
A short film titled “The Beatles – Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song” was released Wednesday, detailing the creation of the track. Lennon’s voice was obscured on the original tape; The piano was, as Paul McCartney described it, “hard to hear”. “And in those days, of course, we didn’t have the technology to do the separation.”
This situation changed in 2022; The band, now a duo, was able to use the same technical restoration methods that separated the Beatles’ voices from background sounds during the production of director Peter Jackson’s 2021 documentary series “The Beatles: Get Back.” So they were able to complete “Now and Then” by isolating Lennon’s voice from the original tape and using machine learning.
When the song was first announced in June, McCartney described the AI technology as “a little scary but exciting”, adding: “We’ll have to see where this goes.”
“To still be working on the Beatles’ music in 2023 – wow,” he said in “The Beatles – Now And Then – The Last Beatles Song.” “We’re actually dealing with cutting-edge technology, which is something the Beatles would have been very interested in.”
“The rumors were that we made it up,” Ringo Starr told the Associated Press about Lennon’s contributions to the track, which will be released in September. “As if we were going to do that, too.”
“This is the last track that will feature four Beatles on the track. “John, Paul, George and Ringo,” he continued.
McCartney and Starr created the track from Lennon’s demo, adding guitar parts that George Harrison had written during the 1995 sessions and a signature slide guitar solo. McCartney and Starr followed with their bass and drum contributions. A string arrangement was written with the help of Giles Martin, son of the late Beatles producer George Martin; this cleverly recalls the classic ambition of “Strawberry Fields,” “Yesterday” or “I Am the Walrus.” These musicians could not be credited with contributing to the Beatles’ final track, so McCartney played it as a solo effort.
On Friday, the official music video for “Now and Then,” directed by Jackson, will be released on the Beatles’ YouTube channel. Jackson said in a statement that the film was created using footage shot by McCartney and Starr during their own performances. He said it was a forgotten 14-hour movie. .
It also includes previously unseen home movie footage provided by Lennon’s son Sean and George’s wife Olivia Harrison, as well as a few precious seconds of The Beatles performing in their leather suits, the earliest known footage of The Beatles performing in their leather suits, which has never been seen before. also uses. Pete Best is the band’s original drummer.
“The result is pretty crazy and gave the video a much-needed balance between sad and funny,” Jackson said.