Photo Credit: The Beatles
Paul McCartney is releasing one last Beatles song with the help of AI and a 1978 demo from John Lennon — “Now and Then” releases on November 2.
Paul McCartney revealed in June that he had recorded a song to which he referred as “The Beatles’ last song,” created with the help of AI software. Made using a 1978 demo from John Lennon and the help of AI to isolate his vocals, “Now and Then” will debut on November 2 at 10 AM Eastern, with a music video releasing the following day.
The song will be released digitally, as well as a double A-side single on 7” vinyl, 12” vinyl, and cassette, with a B-side of the band’s first single, 1962’s “Love Me Do.” On November 1, a 12-minute documentary about “Now and Then” will release to precede the song’s debut.
Written and sung by John Lennon as a demo recorded in his New York home in 1978, “Now and Then” initially featured only Lennon’s voice and piano. In 1994, Yoko Ono gave that demo and two others (“Free as a Bird” and “Real Love”) to Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.
With the help of producer Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) fame, the remaining three Beatles recorded parts for a new version of “Now and Then,” but technology of the era prevented isolating Lennon’s vocals from his original recording.
Paul and Ringo revisited the project while working with director Peter Jackson on his “Get Back” documentary. Jackson’s sound team devised a technique to isolate Lennon’s vocals on the original demo with the help of AI.
“There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear,” said McCartney. “It’s quite emotional. And we all play on it; it’s . 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 an exciting thing.”
“It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room, so it was very emotional for all of us,” added Starr. “It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.”
McCartney and Starr completed the song in 2022, featuring electric and acoustic guitar played by Harrison in 1995, a new drum part and backing vocals from Starr, and bass, guitar, and piano by McCartney, who also plays a Harrison-inspired slide guitar solo.
“Now and Then” will be included on the expanded reissues of 1962-1966 (The Red Album) and 1967-1970 (The Blue Album), releasing on November 10 with updated mixes.