The story of “Now and Then

L'histoire de "Now and Then

2023 marks a milestone for Beatles fans, as the iconic rock band releases its first “new” song since 1995. “Now and Then” is available now on streaming services, featuring a Dolby Atmos mix where it is supported.

What makes this song even more special is the fascinating story behind its production. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr used artificial intelligence to produce a finished track from an old John Lennon recording.

The Beatles first attempted to work on Lennon's track “Now and Then” in the mid-1990s, when McCartney, George Harrison and Starr got together to work on “new” songs that would appear on the Anthology albums. of the group. They successfully completed “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love”, adding full-band arrangements to Lennon's songs.

However, progress on “Now and Then” ultimately stalled, largely due to technical issues that made working on the soundtrack difficult, as McCartney explains.

On John's tape, the piano was a little hard to hear. At the time, we didn't have the technology to separate it. Every time we wanted a little more of John's voice, that piano would appear and blur the image.

Ultimately, the three-way session with McCartney, Harrison and Starr ended without “Now and Then” being completed.

I think we ran out of energy and time a bit. And we said, “I don’t know. Maybe we’ll let it go.” The song stayed in a cupboard.

Harrison's death in 2001 reinforced doubts that the song would ever see the light of day. For almost a quarter of a century, we've had to wait for the right moment to tackle ‘Now and Then' again,” McCartney said.

The turning point came earlier this decade, when director Peter Jackson was working on his feature-length documentary “Get Back” for Disney Plus. His team developed technology that allowed them to take virtually any piece of music (even old tracks) and “split all the components into separate tracks based on machine learning.”

McCartney and Starr saw this as an opportunity to go back and give “Now and Then” the ending it deserved. “Now we could mix it and make a real record,” McCartney said. He recorded a bass track, Starr added drums, and producer Giles Martin created a string arrangement “like Giles' father would have done back in the day.”