The Beatles Mania is Back? With ‘Now and Then’

More people across the world have bonded over music, and when it came to the last but forgotten song of The Beatles there has been a nostalgic outpouring, not surprisingly though!

This final song, as it were, is called ‘Now And Then’; it could be said it has been in the making for just 45 years – we gather, the first notes were written by John Lennon in 1978 and the song finally completed last year. All the four Beatles persona are featured on the track; it must be the last, while we all thought we were done with the last already, marking the ‘last and very last’ and finally close the chapter in perhaps what must be the most glorious music group in the global music industry.

The original demo has circulated as a bootleg for years. An apologetic love song, it’s fairly typical of John Lennon’s solo output of the 1970s – Lennon recorded a demo with vocals and piano at his home in New York. After his death, his widow Yoko Ono gave the recording to the remaining Beatles on a cassette. It was finished in the studio last year by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. George Harrison has made his appearance via rhythm guitar parts he had recorded in 1995.

The band apparently had also then attempted to record ‘Now And Then’, but the session was abandoned, as it did not turn out well.

The song had a chorus but is almost totally lacking in verses. In the end the quality of the recording was considered too poor to salvage. Harrison reportedly called it “rubbish”, but McCartney never let go of the idea.

During the making of The Beatles’ Get Back documentary, director Peter Jackson’s film company developed a piece of software that allowed them to “de-mix” muddled recordings of overlapping sounds. Artificial intelligence was used like in learning the sound of John Lennon’s guitar. The software was able to “lift” Lennon’s voice from an original cassette recording, get the tones right as only AI could do at this point in time. So much so, Paul McCartney, who should know, has called Lennon’s voice as coming “crystal clear”!

The entire process is incredible, to say the least. Reinventing parts to make a whole again, like it was yesteryears brought back to life, again, crossing boundaries of time, altogether.

Does it match the original? Yes, and no. Largely because we know the time lag, and we remain critical to some extent. But yes, it is history in the making again, reviving a lost legacy. Will this be used, in the future, to reinventing new songs? Only time will tell. For the present, it is adequate to revive the hysteria around the ‘Beatles’ brand, rekindle memories of a time gone by, and bring some more money into their business, back again. Perhaps, rekindle to ignite sales among the younger generations, the next few weeks will tell. But then this is not the era of LPs, cassettes, and such like. It is the era of Youtube and other social media. Times have changed, even for The Beatles!

by Navin Berry with media inputs

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