Ringo Stars Says Last Beatles Song Felt Like Having John Lennon Back
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr live in 2019 - Variety / Youtube
More than half a century after The Beatles disbanded, the iconic band, considered one of the greatest in modern music history, is set to unveil their “final” song titled “Now And Then”.
The song was originally composed and recorded by John Lennon himself in the late 1970s, before his tragic assassination in 1980. In the mid-1990s, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and the late George Harrison, who passed away in 2001, came together to collaborate on this composition.
However, it took an astonishing four decades for McCartney and Starr to complete the piece. But for Ringo, it was all worth it.
“It was like, John was there, you know. It’s far out,” the drummer emotionally revealed.
With a little help from A.I.
The 83-year-old drummer found himself deeply moved while collaborating with McCartney, the other surviving member of the iconic band, on their innovative Artificial Intelligence-assisted song.
In a press release, McCartney shared his emotional connection to the project, describing the experience of hearing John’s voice so clearly as profound.
For him, working on Beatles music and presenting a new, unheard song to the public in 2023 is an exhilarating and poignant endeavor. “There it was, John’s voice, crystal clear… It’s quite emotional…” McCartney expressed.
Starr also expressed the emotional resonance of the project, saying “It was the closest we’ll ever come to having him back in the room so it was very emotional for all of us…”
John Lennon’s unreleased demo
The original demo recorded by Lennon in the aftermath of The Beatles’ breakup includes his voice and piano performance from his Dakota building apartment in New York.
Ringo and the 81-year-old Paul utilized the same technology employed to isolate and enhance Lennon’s vocals as seen in Peter Jackson’s documentary, The Beatles: Get Back.
The demo had initially been sent to Paul in 1994 by John’s widow, Yoko Ono, now 90 years old, when The Beatles members decided to create new songs for the Anthology project, which included a three-part television documentary series and a three-volume set of double albums. Those 1990s sessions resulted in the creation of new songs, “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love.”
The Beatles’ official YouTube account describes the song: “The long mythologized John Lennon demo was first worked on in February 1995 by Paul, George, and Ringo as part of The Beatles Anthology project but it remained unfinished, partly because of the impossible technological challenges involved in working with the vocal John had recorded on tape in the 1970s.”
Now and Then – The Last Beatles Song
Reflecting on the recording process in an interview with Radio Times magazine, Ringo explained: “He called me up and said he’d like to work on ‘Now and Then’, ‘What do you think?’ ‘I think it’s great. So he put the bass on, he sent the files to me. I put the drums on.”
Before the highly anticipated track’s release, a 12-minute documentary film titled Now and Then — The Last Beatles Song was unveiled on November 1. This documentary talks about the song’s history, featuring exclusive footage and commentary from McCartney, Starr, Lennon, and Yoko Ono’s son, Sean Ono Lennon, and Peter Jackson.
“Now and Then” also features guitar parts recorded by the late George Harrison, who passed away in November 2001 at 58 due to lung cancer, during the Anthology sessions.
Global streaming of “Now And Then” will commence on November 2.