The Beatles have a new song thanks to an old tape and AI

A new original song from The Beatles, 'Now and Then', was released overnight with the help of AI and an old tape.
The Beatles

A new original song from The Beatles, ‘Now and Then’, was released overnight with the help of AI and an old tape.

It features all four band members: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison.

The song came to life thanks to an old demo tape and AI. McCartney has described it as “probably… the last Beatles song.”

The last Beatles song

The Beatles remains one of the most successful bands of all time.

At the height of ‘Beatlemania’ in the 60s, Lennon described the band as “more popular than Jesus”.

John Lennon wrote and recorded ‘Now and Then’ in 1978, two years before he was shot and killed outside his apartment building in Manhattan.

The tape

Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow, told the surviving bandmates she had a cassette tape recording of ‘Now and Then’ in 1994.

McCartney, Starr, and Harrison listened to the tape and recorded themselves riffing to Lennon’s song.

“We could use John [Lennon] and try to make a record,” Starr said in a documentary tracking the evolution of the song.

It was difficult to hear Lennon singing over the piano. The band struggled to separate his vocals from the instrumentals because of the nature of the tape recording.

The trio eventually gave up on trying to produce the song as a band.

In 2001, George Harrison died of cancer, leaving McCartney and Starr as the surviving band members.

Artificial intelligence

An AI breakthrough in 2022 developed by film director Peter Jackson made it possible to separate instrumental and vocal tracks on older recordings.

This allowed McCartney and Starr to bring Lennon’s vocals on ‘Now and Then’ to life.

The pair recorded bass guitar and drums, and used a guitar solo written by Harrison in the 90s for the 2023 mix of the song.

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