Ringo Starr has chimed in on the forthcoming release of a new Beatles song that Paul McCartney first made us aware about last month.
Using Artificial Intelligence with help from director Peter Jackson and his team following their work on the 2021 Beatles documentary, Get Back, Ringo tells Rolling Stone, “This was beautiful, and it’s the final track you’ll ever hear with the four lads. And that’s a fact.”
Like McCartney, Ringo didn't say what the title is or the date this year that it will be released. But it's believed to be John Lennon's 1978 song "Now and Then," which McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo attempted to complete as the third "new" track for the Anthology series in 1995 and '96.
Yoko Ono had given McCartney the demo in 1994. It was one of several songs on a cassette labelled "For Paul" that Lennon recorded on a boombox in his New York apartment.
Jeff Lynne, who produced the two "new" songs they did release for that project — "Free As a Bird" and "Real Love" — was able to somewhat clean up that demo, but it was never finished.
At that time, Lynne said, "The song had a chorus but is almost totally lacking in verses. We did the backing track, a rough go that we really didn't finish."
And McCartney later explained that it was a group decision to abandon it.
"It didn't have a very good title, it needed a bit of reworking, but it had a beautiful verse and it had John singing it. [But] George didn't like it. The Beatles being a democracy, we didn't do it."
But he added that it was always on the back of his mind to try and finish.
The track, an apologetic love song, surfaced in 2009 on a bootleg. It didn't contain the background noise, leading to speculation that it was not the same recording Yoko gave to Paul and that it may have been stolen from her apartment, along with other items, after John's death in 1980.
Paul McCartney on Peter Jackson using AI to clean up a John Lennon demo that Yoko Ono gave Paul, George and Ringo to work on during The Beatles' Anthology project.
"He was able to extricate John's voice from a ropey little bit of cassette where it had John's voice and a piano. He could separate them with AI. They tell the machine, 'That's a voice, this is a guitar, lose the guitar.' So, when we came to make what will be the last Beatles record, it was a demo that John had that we worked on. We were able to take John's voice and get it pure through this AI so that then we could mix the record as you would normally do."
Later, Paul said this on Twitter about the new song:
"Been great to see such an exciting response to our forthcoming Beatles project. No one is more excited than us to be sharing something with you later in the year. We’ve seen some confusion and speculation about it. Seems to be a lot of guess work out there. Can’t say too much at this stage but to be clear, nothing has been artificially or synthetically created. It’s all real and we all play on it. We cleaned up some existing recordings - a process which has gone on for years. We hope you love it as much as we do. More news in due course" - Paul
By the way, Ringo's birthday is Friday! Peace and Love! He will be 83!