‘New’ Beatles song made with a little help from AI is debuting next week


A new Beatles song called “Now And Then” which was originally written and recorded in the late 1970s by the late John Lennon after the Beatles broke up, is coming out worldwide on November 2 with the help of artificial intelligence which was used to separate Lennon’s vocals from an old demo.
From left to right, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison

The Beatles’ new song called “Now And Then” is coming out November 2 alongside “Love Me Do,” their first single. (Photo by John Pratt/Keystone/Getty Images)

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Key Takeaways
  • “Now And Then,” which is available for pre-order and pre-save, also features electric and acoustic guitar recordings from 1995 by the late George Harrison, backup vocals from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, drums by Starr, and bass, piano, and a slide guitar solo from McCartney.
  • The song was included on a cassette of other demos that Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, gave McCartney after Lennon was killed, but while recording other demos on the cassette, the remaining Beatles were unable to record the song because Harrison thought the sound quality was “rubbish.”
  • Peter Jackson, who directed The Beatles: Get Back docuseries, used AI to separate Lennon’s voice from a piano, and McCartney and Starr were able to work on the track with the enhanced vocals.
  • Jackson used his production company WingNut Film’s machine audio learning (MAL) audio technology in the film to separate instruments from vocals, and to separate each Beatles’ voice from their conversations.
  • The producer and his sound team used the technology on the “Now And Then” demo, and the song was produced by McCartney and Giles Martin.
  • A 12-minute film about the new recording will be released next Wednesday, and a music video for “Now And Then” will be released Friday after the song.
Key Background

“Now And Then” comes from a collection of Lennon’s demos that his former bandmates used to create “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love,” which were released in the 1990s as part of The Beatles Anthology. After Jackson used the audio technology to extract the Beatles’ vocals from other background sounds in his docuseries, the technology was used on a 2022 mix of the Beatles’ 1966 album, Revolver.

The technology was then used on the demo recording after it “learned” how to separate Lennon’s voice from his guitar. Backing vocals from original recordings of “Here, There and Everywhere,” “Eleanor Rigby,” and “Because” were also added into “Now And Then.” In a press release, McCartney called the recording “quite emotional” and said it is “a genuine Beatles recording” because all of the members are featured in the song. Starr added that the recording “was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room so it was very emotional for all of us.”

What To Watch For

Extended versions of the band’s 1962-1966 The Red Album and 1967-1970 The Blue Album compilations will come out later in November, with new tracks, and mixed in stereo and Dolby Atmos surround sound technology.


Google and Universal Music Group have reportedly discussed licensing artists’ music and vocals in AI-generated music amid a mix of backlash and support from music labels and artists. The companies are reportedly working to create tools for people to create AI-generated music using the voice, lyrics, and sounds from musical artists. Grimes told fans in June they could legally use an AI version of her voice to create and professionally distribute songs. Some experts have said AI-produced music could constitute copyright infringement.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.