Tim Cook highlights The Beatles' last song on Apple Music

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2023

As The Beatles release their final track, Apple's Tim Cook celebrates adding song "forty years in the making" to Apple Music.

The Beatles' last-ever track,
The Beatles' last-ever track, "Now and Then"



Apple and The Beatles' label Apple Corps were involved in a protracted trademark battle that only ended in 2007. Even after that, it took another three years before The Beatles catalog was added to iTunes.

But today, on the day of its release, Apple Music has The Beatles' new track, Now and Then. And Tim Cook took to Twitter/X to celebrate its arrival.

A song 40 years in the making -- @thebeatles' 'Now and Then' is available on Apple Music today!https://t.co/U9zdJC9eKd

-- Tim Cook (@tim_cook)



"Now and Then" is based on a demo recording by John Lennon, made in the last few years of his life. It was in the same set of demos that gave us "Free as a Bird" in 1995 and "Real Love" in 1996.

It was originally planned that "Now and Then" would be worked on and release around the same time, but the recording was reportedly so poor that it couldn't be done. Now The Beatles have used AI to better isolate John Lennon's vocal and remove the rest of the demo, allowing his track to be used in a new recording.

On both the Apple Music and vinyl releases of "Now and Then," the band's final track is paired with their first, "Love Me Do."

Speaking when the group's music first came to Apple and iTunes, Paul McCartney said that it was "fantastic to see the songs we originally released on vinyl receive as much love in the digital world as they did the first time around."

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    Minor errors in your story: "Free as a Bird" was released in 1995, not 1985, and "Real Love" was released in 1996, not 1988. I have good memories of the release of those songs because I worked in radio at the time … and as a young adult then, I never thought I'd have the privilege of talking about brand new Beatles songs to listeners.

    You are correct in noting that "Now and Then" was originally planned for release in the same time frame. All three songs originated as demo recordings by John Lennon in 1977.
    edited November 2023 AppleZuluwatto_cobraFileMakerFellerjony0
  • Reply 2 of 10
    ciacia Posts: 262member
    So the song was originally recorded as a demo by John Lennon in 1977, after the Beatles broke up.  They used AI to strip the vocals and put fresh music behind it.  Did Ringo play drums and Paul play guitar or bass on the re-recorded music backing Lennon's vocals?

    If not is it really a Beatles song or more of a John Lennon song?


    /edit. Actually the wikipedia page for the song has a lot of information on what went into making this release happen.  Interesting read.  In short: Yes, all the Beatles worked on this track at some point over the decades.
    edited November 2023 watto_cobraroundaboutnowchasmjony0
  • Reply 3 of 10
    cia said:
    Did Ringo play drums and Paul play guitar or bass on the re-recorded music backing Lennon's vocals? If not is it really a Beatles song or more of a John Lennon song?

    Yes, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney recently recorded their parts for "Now and Then." George Harrison recorded a guitar part for the song back in 1995. To me, this is a true Beatles song.

    It would be reasonable to argue that John Lennon is not truly "original" in this recording given that software was used to create a clean audio track of his vocals, removing Lennon's simultaneously-recorded piano performance. In other words, is this essentially an "authorized deepfake?" But given that the vocal track used here was apparently made from his 1977 cassette recording (or if not from it, at least to very closely duplicate it), and also that Paul, Ringo, and the families of John and George were all involved in the making of "Now and Then," my feeling is that this song is very much an authentic, original Beatles song.

    As for the AI-based deepfakes that will likely be made in "the style of the Beatles" 20 or 25 years from now when they've all passed … not so much.
    edited November 2023 watto_cobrachasmFileMakerFellerjony0
  • Reply 4 of 10
    ciacia Posts: 262member
    The "making of" video on YouTube was actually really neat to watch.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APJAQoSCwuA
    watto_cobraroundaboutnowjohn-uselessFileMakerFellergatorguyjony0
  • Reply 5 of 10
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,073member
    cia said:
    Did Ringo play drums and Paul play guitar or bass on the re-recorded music backing Lennon's vocals? If not is it really a Beatles song or more of a John Lennon song?

    Yes, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney recently recorded their parts for "Now and Then." George Harrison recorded a guitar part for the song back in 1995. To me, this is a true Beatles song.

    It would be reasonable to argue that John Lennon is not truly "original" in this recording given that software was used to create a clean audio track of his vocals, removing Lennon's simultaneously-recorded piano performance. In other words, is this essentially an "authorized deepfake?" But given that the vocal track used here was apparently made from his 1977 cassette recording (or if not from it, at least to very closely duplicate it), and also that Paul, Ringo, and the families of John and George were all involved in the making of "Now and Then," my feeling is that this song is very much an authentic, original Beatles song.

    As for the AI-based deepfakes that will likely be made in "the style of the Beatles" 20 or 25 years from now when they've all passed … not so much.
    The vocal is not a deepfake. It’s using tech to do what you mentally do yourself any time you listen carefully and try to focus on one part of what you’re hearing. It’s like listening to someone talk to you in a crowded room with other sounds and conversations going on, for instance. Musicians are always mentally focusing on and tracking one vocal or instrument in a song. That’s what this tech did with Lennon’s vocal. It simply lifted the information representing Lennon’s voice out of the mono tape recording and left all the other sounds behind. 

    Back in 1995, that tech wasn’t available, so there was no way to set his vocal at an appropriate up-front level without having his piano playing also up-front and too loud. So they put it in the shelf, unfinished. Now they have the means to separate the vocal and make it usable. that’s not the same thing as deepfake, which is creating something fake that never actually happened.
    watto_cobraroundaboutnowjohn-uselessFileMakerFellerjony0
  • Reply 6 of 10
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,073member
    P.S. There are deepfake Beatle things out there already, like a Beatle-era Paul McCartney’s voice rendered in place of 70-something-year-old Paul in recent solo-Paul songs. The same guy did another one, Paul I think, singing lead on a Beach Boys song, to very weird effect, as it sounds like McCartney’s voice, but with Carl Wilson’s mouth, tone and diction. 
  • Reply 7 of 10
    cia said:
    So the song was originally recorded as a demo by John Lennon in 1977, after the Beatles broke up.  They used AI to strip the vocals and put fresh music behind it.  Did Ringo play drums and Paul play guitar or bass on the re-recorded music backing Lennon's vocals?

    If not is it really a Beatles song or more of a John Lennon song?


    /edit. Actually the wikipedia page for the song has a lot of information on what went into making this release happen.  Interesting read.  In short: Yes, all the Beatles worked on this track at some point over the decades.
    It is product.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    I remain in awe of the Beatles. It's great to hear another song from them.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,357member
    cia said:
    The "making of" video on YouTube was actually really neat to watch.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APJAQoSCwuA
    I watched that the night before last, enjoying the backstory even more than the song. 
    jony0
  • Reply 10 of 10
    Just watched the official video. It was fantastic. I'm close to saying I like this song more than the two 90s "new" singles.
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