New Delhi: This week, a remarkable AI breakthrough has unleashed the “ Now and Then ” Beatles song featuring all four legendary members, all thanks to the same AI wizardry that improved the audio in Peter Jackson’s documentary, “Get Back.”
Paul McCartney was amazed as he shared, “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 an exciting thing.”
Now and Then, originally penned and sung by John Lennon in the late 1970s at his New York City home, saw the light of day when Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, passed on the demo to McCartney in 1994. The cassette was labelled “For Paul” and contained Lennon’s demos for “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love.”
Over a quarter of a century later, Peter Jackson harnessed AI-powered software to mix the original audio from the Beatles’ 1970 recording sessions for their final album, “Let It Be.” This AI magic isolated individual instruments, vocals, and conversations, which ultimately breathed life into the “Get Back” documentary series. The same technology was then used to create a fresh mix of “Revolver” in 2022, inspiring the surviving Beatles to revisit Lennon’s “Now and Then” demo. Jackson, along with a sound team led by Emile de la Rey, used the same wizardry to extract Lennon’s original vocal performance from his piano.
In an emotional statement, Ringo Starr expressed, “It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room, so it was very emotional for all of us. It was like John was there, you know. It’s far out.”
Paul McCartney had previously hinted at using AI to “extricate” Lennon’s voice from a cassette recording, raising questions about the authenticity of the process. However, he later clarified, “Can’t say too much at this stage, but to be clear, nothing has been artificially or synthetically created. It’s all real, and we all play on it. We cleaned up some existing recordings – a process which has gone on for years. We hope you love it as much as we do.”
Excitingly, the physical release of “Now and Then” is accompanied by new editions of the Red Album and the Blue Album, expanded to encompass the Beatles’ entire singles catalogue, with 12 additional songs on the Red Album and nine on the Blue Album.