Reviving the Beatles' Lost Gem: The Story of 'Now and Then'



by SEDEDIN DEDOVIC

Reviving the Beatles' Lost Gem: The Story of 'Now and Then'
© Central Press / Getty Images

The eagerly anticipated and ultimate Beatles track, "Now and Then," featuring all four original members, is set to grace our ears next week, all thanks to the remarkable utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which previously enhanced the audio quality in Peter Jackson's documentary, "Get Back." Excitement is mounting as Paul McCartney himself gushed about the crystal-clear return of John's voice.

In a testament to the enduring magic of the Beatles' music, McCartney remarked on the thrill of continuing to work on their timeless melodies, as reported by "The Guardian." "Now and Then" is a precious gem, written and sung by John Lennon during the late 1970s, within the confines of his New York home.

In 1994, Yoko Ono, Lennon's widow, presented a demo tape to Paul McCartney, elegantly labeled "For Paul." This tape was a treasure trove, containing Lennon's original demos for "Free As a Bird" and "Real Love."

Attempting to complete "Now and Then" at the time proved to be an insurmountable challenge

The last two songs were lovingly completed by McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison, subsequently released as singles, and became part of the Beatles Anthology project.

In contrast, "Now and Then" had been consigned to limbo due to technological constraints. Fast forward over a quarter of a century, and Peter Jackson harnessed AI-assisted software to meticulously demix the original audio from a 1970 recording session of The Beatles, during which they were crafting their final album, "Let It Be." This process ingeniously isolated the individual instruments and vocal tracks, as featured in the documentary series, "Get Back." McCartney confirmed that the cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology was instrumental in "extracting" John Lennon's ethereal voice from an aging demo, thus resurrecting the song.

In 1995, the Beatles famously reunited to record Lennon's "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love," marking the group's first new recordings in 25 years. Attempting to complete "Now and Then" at the time proved to be an insurmountable challenge.

However, the dawn of new technology has now made it not only possible but a reality, much to the delight of Beatles enthusiasts worldwide. As the narrative goes, the spark for this revelation was ignited by the documentary about the Beatles, "Get Back," crafted by the visionary filmmaker Peter Jackson, who astutely turned to artificial intelligence to resurrect this hidden gem from music history.