The Beatles last song: Paul McCartneyand Ringo Starr reveal new trackOctober 26, 2023
The Beatles’ last song trailer: Paul McCartney says ‘he knew the band was really over’ when John Lennon died before he and Ringo Starr reveal how new track Now and Then was born
The Beatles are set to release their ‘final’ song next week thanks to the help of AI technology, 50 years since the band broke up.
Paul McCartney admitted ‘he knew the band was really over’ when John Lennon died in 2001, but in a trailer for Now And Then, revealed how their new track came about.
Joined by John and Yoko Ono’s son Sean, 48, the last surviving members, Paul and Ringo Starr discuss the process.
In a clip from 1995, George Harrison, who died in 2001, reveals Yoko had shared a recording of John’s vocals with him, from songs he had worked on before his death, which eventually led to the song being completed this year.
Speaking in the trailer, Paul began: ‘When we lost John we knew that it was really over.’
Coming soon: The Beatles are set to release their ‘final’ song next week, 50 years since the band broke up (Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr pictured in 2014, L-R)
Voice: Paul McCartney admitted ‘he knew the band was really over’ when John Lennon (pictured left) died in 2001, but later revealed how their new track came about
Before George added: ‘I was talking to Yoko and she said “Ah, I think I’ve got a recording of John.’
‘Paul called me up and said I’d like to work on Now And Then. He put the bass on, I put the drums on,’ Ringo continued.
Sean is heard saying: ‘It’s the last song that my dad and Paul and George and Ringo will get to make together.’
‘How lucky was I to have those men in my life,’ Paul concludes.
Titled Now And Then, the track is based on a 1970s demo record that Sir Paul and Ringo Star have been working on for the past four decades.
With the help of artificial intelligence they have managed to ‘extricate’ John’s vocals from an old demo to finish the song.
News of the final song was announced earlier this summer, however it has now been confirmed that the track will premiere at 2pm on November 2.
It will also be available on a newly-mastered version of the band’s Red And Blue album, which is due for release on November 10.
Family: Joined by John and Yoko Ono’s son Sean, 48, the last surviving members, Paul and Ringo Starr discuss their process
Band: In a clip from 1995, George Harrison (second left), who died in 2001, reveals Yoko had shared a recording of John’s vocals with him, from songs he had worked on before his death
Upset: Speaking in the trailer, Paul began: ‘When we lost John we knew that it was really over’
Hope: ‘Paul called me up and said I’d like to work on Now And Then. He put the bass on, I put the drums on,’ Ringo continued
Now And Then was one of several songs recorded by Lennon shortly before his death in 1980.
Two of the other tracks – Free As A Bird and Real Love – were cleaned up by producer Jeff Lynne before being released in 1995 and 1996.
But Lynne struggled to clean up Now And Then, and his attempt was deemed ‘rubbish’ by George Harrison, who refused to work on it.
However, AI technology has given McCartney a new way to revive the song once more.
With the help of AI, director Peter Jackson cleared those problems up by ‘separating’ Lennon’s original vocals from a piano used in the late 1970s.
‘There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear,’ Paul said in the announcement. ‘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.’
Meanwhile, George’s widow, Olivia, said George felt in the 1990s that the technical problems made it impossible to release a song that met the band’s standards.
With the improvements, ‘he would have wholeheartedly’ joined Paul and Ringo in completing the song now if he were still alive, she said.
The much clearer vocals allowed Paul and Ringo to complete the track last year, much to the excitement of Beatles fans.
The survivors packed plenty into it. The new single contains guitar that Harrison had recorded nearly three decades ago, a new drum part by Starr, with McCartney’s bass, piano and a slide guitar solo he added as a tribute to Harrison, who died in 2001.
The two surviving band members also sing back-up on the track.
Paul also added a string arrangement written with the help of Giles Martin, son of the late Beatles producer George Martin.
As if that wasn’t enough, they weaved in backing vocals from the original Beatles recordings of Here, There And Everywhere, Eleanor Rigby and Because.
Music: Now And Then was one of several songs recorded by Lennon shortly before his death in 1980. Clockwise from top left: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison
Update: With the help of artificial intelligence they have managed to ‘extricate’ the vocals of John (pictured in 1964) from an old demo to finish the song
Exciting: Sir Paul and Sir Ringo have spoken of their ’emotional’ response ahead of the release of what they are calling the last song by The Beatles (the band in 1967)
BBC archivist Elliot Gibson, who found the Radio Newsreel report featuring the Beatles – unheard for almost 60 years – pictured at the BBC Archive Centre in Perivale, west London
Support: George’s widow Olivia said that with the improvements brought about by AI ‘he would have wholeheartedly’ joined Paul and Ringo in completing the song. George and Olivia in 1992
Next Wednesday, the day before the song’s release, a 12-minute film that tells the story of the new recording will be made public.
Later in the month, expanded versions of the Beatles’ compilations ‘1962-1966’ and ‘1967-1970’ will be released. ‘Now And Then,’ despite coming much later than 1970, will be added to the latter collection.
The surviving Beatles have skillfully released new projects, such as remixes of their old albums that include studio outtakes and Jackson’s Get Back film, timed to appeal to nostalgic fans around the holiday season. But this will mark the last one.
‘This is the last track, ever, that you´ll get the four Beatles on the track. John, Paul, George, and Ringo,’ the latter said in a recent interview with Associated Press.
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