We already know what the latest and last song by The Beatles sounds like. The history of “Now and Then” dates back to the 1970s, when John Lennon recorded it on a cassette tape at his home. The song was given to the surviving band members by Yoko Ono in the 1990s, but the sound quality was very poor and the technology at the time did not allow John Lennon’s voice to be heard. It took decades for artificial intelligence to finally come to the rescue.
On Thursday, the latest and last song by The Beatles – “Now and Then” has its world premiere. – From the perspective of those who stayed with the Beatles, but also, above all, of the audience, it is beautiful that one day we can once again enter this world that no longer exists – comments Andrzej Smolik, composer, musician and music producer.
The history of the song dates back to the second half of the 1970s, when John Lennon recorded a demo of the song in his New York apartment. 20 years later, Yoko Ono gave the tape to the remaining Beatles musicians.
In the documentary “Now and Then – The Last Beatles Song”, the musicians told the story of the creation of the last song. “When we lost John, we knew it was really over,” recalls Paul McCartney. “I was talking to Yoko and she said, ‘I think I have a tape of John,'” says George Harrison. – Paul called me and said he wanted to work on Now and Then. He turned on the bass, I turned on the drums – adds Ringo Starr.
It took almost another 30 years for John Lennon’s voice to be heard again. – Yoko Ono blessed it all, she gave these cassettes with John Lennon recordings. The problem here was that it was impossible to separate the voice from the piano and it sounded terrible – explains Roman Rogowiecki, music director of Radio dla Młodych.
Artificial intelligence helped
Peter Jackson came to the musicians’ aid. A huge fan of The Beatles, when creating a series about the foursome from Liverpool, he used a special technology thanks to which it was possible to isolate the vocals from the instruments and thus managed to extract Lennon’s voice from an old cassette. – McCourtney doubled his piano parts by ear, and together with Ringo Star they recorded bass guitar and drums now in the present day in 2023. McCourtney even came up with the idea that if George were alive, he would probably want to play the slide guitar and in his style he did a solo there – explains Piotr Metz, a music journalist.
The Beatles like in the old days, but with the support of 21st century inventions. – It’s worth making it sound, it’s an artificial intelligence tool that allowed us to clear the demo, divide it into tracks, and allow John Lennon’s vocals to be amplified without the piano – adds Dr. Stanisław Trzciński, a cultural expert.
A music video was also created for the song to enhance this unprecedented musical event. It will be published on Friday and was created by Peter Jackson. – This is a tribute to his favorite band, because Peter Jackson is really a Beatles fan, I don’t know if he’s a bigger fan than me, and that’s difficult – says Piotr Metz, a music journalist.
The Beatles may gain new crowds of loyal fans, because both now and then, The Beatles are making a revolution in the world of music.
Main photo source: Apple Corps Limited/”Now and Then. The Last Beatles Song”