Earlier this year, Paul McCartney announced he was working on what he said was the final song by The Beatles, made with the assistance of AI. After being announced last week, “Now and Then” is out now via Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. Hear it below.
“Now and Then” will be released as a digital single as well as a double A-side single—on 7-inch, 12-inch and cassette—with the group’s 1962 debut single “Love Me Do” on the flipside.
The song originated from demos that John Lennon made at home in 1978, which contained only his voice and piano. In 1994, Yoko Ono gave the demo to McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and the group recorded an early version of it at the time, but didn’t release it because of technological limitations, which prevented them from being able to separate the voice from the piano. After nearly three decades, McCartney revisited the song and was able to separate out Lennon’s voice with the aid of artificial intelligence. McCartney and Starr finished the song in 2022, which also includes Harrison’s guitar from 1995.
McCartney said in a statement: “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.”
Starr added: “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.”
Several songs by The Beatles are featured on our list of the 150 Best Albums of the 1960s.