With the help of AI, the Beatles have finished their final new song, “Now and Then.” The single drops next week, 61 years after the band's first single, “Love Me Do,” came out in England and ignited Beatlemania. The arrival of “Now and Then” is especially noteworthy since of the four Beatles — Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr — only McCartney and Starr are still alive.
The Associated Press reports, “‘Now And Then' comes from the same batch of unreleased demos written by the late John Lennon, which were taken by his former bandmates to construct the songs ‘Free As a Bird' and ‘Real Love,' released in the mid-1990s. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison worked on ‘Now And Then' in the same sessions, but technological limitations stood in the way.”
Director Peter Jackson used artificial intelligence to separate Lennon's original vocals from a piano used during the late-1970s recording. The resulting clear Lennon vocals allowed McCartney and Starr to complete “Now and Then” last year. The new single features guitar work that Harrison recorded three decades ago, new drums by Starr, and McCartney's bass, piano, and slide guitar. McCartney and Starr sing backup on “Now and Then.”
At a Time When AI Is Hotly Debated, the Beatles Used It to Release One Final Song for Fans
The Beatles are arguably the most influential band in music history. The Fab Four spearheaded the British Invasion in America during the 1960s and produced iconic songs such as “Love Me Do,” “All You Need Is Love,” “Can't Buy Me Love,” “Get Back,” “Hey Jude,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and “Let It Be” that defined a generation. The song “Now and Then” arrives almost 53 years since McCartney filed paperwork to dissolve the Beatles on December 31, 1970.
In an announcement, McCartney says, “There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear. It’s quite emotional. And we all play on it, it’s a genuine Beatles recording. In 2023 to still be working on Beatles music, and about to release a new song the public haven’t heard, I think it’s quite an exciting thing.”
Harrison's widow, Olivia, says “he would have wholeheartedly” joined McCartney and Starr in finishing “Now and Then” if the technology existed while Harrison were still alive.
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Starr says, “This is the last track, ever, that you’ll get the four Beatles on the track. John, Paul, George, and Ringo.”
The final Beatles track, “Now and Then,” drops on November 2.
Robert DeSalvo is a professional writer and editor with over 25 years of experience at print and online publications such as Movieline, Playboy, PCH, Fandango, and The A.V. Club. He currently lives in Los Angeles, the setting of his favorite movie, Blade Runner. Robert has interviewed dozens of actors, directors, authors, musicians, and other celebrities during his journalism career, including Brian De Palma, Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman, John Waters, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Bryan Cranston, Anne Rice, and many more. Horror movies, sci-fi, cult films as well as gothic, postpunk, and synthwave music are what Robert geeks over.