“Now and Then”, the last song in which the four Beatles participate, thanks to the rescue allowed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) of John Lennon’s voice from a home tape, was released yesterday as a single, accompanied by “ Love Me Do”, the first song with which the group became known 61 years ago.
The composition, to which the also late George Harrison had added his guitar during the mid-’90s meeting that gave rise to “Anthology,” was completed in recent months by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and will be included in the new version of two compilation discs.
These are known as “The Red Album” and “The Blue Album”, which covers the periods 1962-1966 and 1966-1970, respectively, which were remixed in stereo system and Dolby Atmos, and will be published on November 10 , in different box sets.
“Now and Then” has a special cover created by Ed Ruscha and its publication was accompanied by a 12-minute documentary, written and directed by Oliver Murray, that tells the story behind this song.
The origin of the song dates back to the late ’70s, when in his apartment in the Dakota Building in New York, John Lennon recorded on a home tape, accompanied only by his piano, this cut and two other new pieces: “Real Love ” and “Free As a Bird.”
When the then three surviving Beatles were working on the “Anthology” series in 1994, Yoko Ono provided them with this recording for inclusion.
Under the production of Electric Light Orchestra leader Jeff Lynne, the musicians were able to add instrumentation and even new vocals to the three songs, but they only managed to release “Real Love” and “Free As a Bird.” The source tape for “Now and Then” had many sound flaws that the technical devices of the time could not overcome, so it was discarded.
Olivia Harrison, George’s widow, recalled when her husband included guitars on this song in 1995 but “felt that the technical issues with the demo were insurmountable and concluded that it was not possible to finish it to a high enough level by his standards.”
But when director Peter Jackson began working on the discarded tapes of the documentary “Let It Be” in 2019 for what ended up being his new reading, “Get Back,” the idea of returning to “Now and Then” was revived. based on new technological instruments. On that occasion, new AI techniques were applied that allowed each of the voices to be isolated from the rest of the noises.
When the news of the preparation of this new song thanks to the use of AI was announced, confusion arose because some tracks were thought to have been artificially created, but Paul and Ringo themselves clarified things.
The producer and sound engineer, Martín Kano, told the press that “the use of AI applied to music has come in different forms. One of those is that there are pages on the internet where you upload a song and you can ask it to separate multitracks: a drum track, a bass track, a chorus track, etc. That is the technology they have used to separate the voice from the piano in this case. It is something accessible, within the reach of all people,” he explained.
Kano also gave details of other types of applications in which material from an artist is uploaded so that the AI can “modify” the voice, and then you can record your own voice singing any song, so that the application finally generates a cut with that melody performed by the artist whose record was mapped.
That other use that is applied recreationally – Carlos Gardel performing the World Cup hit “Muchachos”, for example – is what created the confusion around the origin of “Now and Then”.
I am an author and journalist who has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. I currently work as a news editor at a major news website, and my focus is on covering the latest trends in entertainment. I also write occasional pieces for other outlets, and have authored two books about the entertainment industry.