The Final Beatles Song Is Coming Next Week

The AI-assisted "Now and Then" arrives November 2

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Oct 26, 2023

The Beatles' social media profiles have been overtaken by a mysterious cassette, teasing what might be the release of their AI-assisted "final" song.

UPDATE (10/26, 9:09 a.m. ET): The band have confirmed everyone's suspicions, announcing the official worldwide release of "Now and Then" for November 2 as a double A-side with the first Beatles song, "Love Me Do."

A 12-minute documentary film about the making of "Now and Then," written and directed by Oliver Murray, will premiere on November 1 and you can check out the trailer below. On November 10, the 1962-1966 (a.k.a. the Red Album) and 1967-1970 (a.k.a the Blue Album) collections will also be reissued.

"Now and Then" began as a vocals-and-piano demo recorded by John Lennon in the late 1970s. It was given to the band's surviving members in 1994 by Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono — but at that point, technological limitations prevented separating Lennon's vocals from the original piano recording to create a clear, unclouded mix for The Beatles Anthology Project.

The Beatles picked it back up in 2022, inspired by the film and audio restoration in their 2021 Peter Jackson docuseries Get Back. In addition to Lennon's vocal, "Now and Then" includes electric and acoustic guitar recorded in 1995 by George Harrison, Ringo Starr's new drum part, and bass, guitar and piano from Paul McCartney, as well as a slide guitar solo.

"There it was, John's voice, crystal clear. It's quite emotional," McCartney said in a press release. "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."

After Starr said earlier this month that the track "should've been out already," the band's website now prompts visitors to sign up using their emails — and the message that follows, thanking people for subscribing, includes a countdown clock that has about 20 hours remaining at the time of this writing.

The cassette image features some intentionally blurred-out text, with the only decipherable part being "TYPE I (NORMAL) POSITION."

We first got word of this "final Beatles song" back in the summer, when McCartney told the Radio 4 Today program that the divisive technology had been used to "extricate" the late John Lennon's vocals from an old demo, which allowed the band's surviving members to complete the song after all these years. McCartney later clarified that "nothing has been artificially or synthetically created" on the recording.


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