Have you ever heard of The Beatles? You might’ve already watched them on social media platforms like YouTube. Or maybe you’ve heard of them from your parents’ beloved music playlist.
The Beatles – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison – were an English rock band from Liverpool in the 1960s. The band is, still to this day, considered the most influential and greatest band of all time, as they played a powerful role in the popularization of music as an art form during that era.
They’ve inspired people of all ages, helped cultural movements, crossed artistic boundaries, and changed the music industry forever.
They’re undoubtedly the biggest band of their era!
If you’re a fan like me, you’ll love this post! But if you haven’t heard of them yet, don’t fret! I will share interesting details about how they came to be and their last song that truly captured the band’s spirit. So read on to learn more!
Before we talk about The Beatles’ ‘last’ song, here’s their background first.
A History of the Beatles
It all began in a fateful meeting between John Lennon and Paul McCartney on July 6, 1957. John Lennon, the band’s guitarist, was 16 then. He was playing with The Quarrymen, a skiffle band, at a church garden party. Skiffle is folk music blended with jazz or blues.
Paul McCartney, the bass guitarist, was 15 then. He joined Lennon’s band as a rhythm guitarist in October 1957. McCartney then invited his friend George Harrison to watch the Quarrymen perform.
At 15 years old, Harrison, whose parents worked as a bus conductor and shop assistant, auditioned to be in the band and became the lead guitarist for the Quarrymen.
Between August and November 1959, John, Paul, and George played under the name Johnny and the Moondogs. During 1960 and the first half of 1961, the band played at various locations, such as social clubs and dance halls throughout England and Scotland.
The Beatles also performed on and off in Hamburg and returning to Liverpool. It wasn’t until the summer of 1962 when Ringo Starr officially joined the Beatles. He played his first gig with the Beatles on August 18, 1962.
The band signed their first five-year contract music contract in January 1962. The Beatles’s debut U.K. single, “Please Please Me,” was recorded in November and released in January 1963.
Then, the band burst onto the scene in 1963, with the wave of Beatles’ popularity rising throughout the world. They became so popular that their unprecedented tidal wave of popularity was dubbed Beatlemania.
However, after their heydays, The Beatles broke up and went their separate ways in 1970. Many people had theories about why it happened, with legends saying it was the pressure of the Beatlemania craze or it was because of the death of their manager Brian Epstein, in 1967. Or that it was Lennon’s drug use and his romance with Yoko Ono.
However, Paul McCartney set the record straight. He stated in an interview that, ‘It was John who wanted a divorce.’ McCartney added. “It could have been. The point of it really was that John was making a new life with Yoko. John had always wanted to sort of break loose from society because, you know, he was brought up by his Aunt Mimi, who was quite repressive, so he was always looking to break loose.”
Still, all four continued making music, both on their own and with other artists. They also teamed up with each other occasionally, but never again as a four-member band.
Sadly, John Lennon was shot and killed by a fan outside his apartment building in New York City on December 8, 1980. On November 29, 2001, George Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001 at the age of 58.
How “Now and Then” Was Made
Now, let’s talk about The Beatles’ one final song, “Now and Then.”
The song “Now and Then” was believed to be the last song The Beatles ever recorded. It features John Lennon’s voice, who wrote the song in the 1970s, decades before his passing.
The song was released on Nov. 3, 2023. Here’s the official music video:
In 1994, Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, gave the demo to the remaining Beatles, Paul, George, and Ringo, in a cassette labeled “For Paul.”
The three, Paul, George, and Ringo, worked on the track until 1995. However, they encountered challenges as they couldn’t separate Lennon’s voice from the sound of a piano in the track.
Also, nobody else heard much potential with the track except McCartney. it was also said that Harrison called it “rubbish.” So, the track was left undone for years.
“After several days in the studio working on the track, George felt the technical issues with the demo were insurmountable and concluded that it was impossible to finish the track to a high enough standard,” Harrison’s widow, Olivia Harrison, revealed.
It wasn’t until 2022, more than two decades had passed, before McCartney and Starr started working on the song again.
Paul proceeded to redo the bass and did vocals, and Ringo added the drums. The band also included George’s guitar parts from 1995 and created a slide guitar solo in his style as a tribute. They also included the string arrangement played by the musicians at Capitol Studios.
Just a fun fact: The musicians at Capitol Studios were unaware that they were recording a new Beatles song.
Now, you might be wondering how AI was used to help finish the song.
They used software that extracted Lennon’s crystal-clear voice from the original cassette recording. It helped remove background hiss and electrical hum that hindered previous attempts to complete the song.
The advanced technology was developed by WingNut Film, director Peter Jackson’s studio, while working on The Beatles: Get Back docuseries. It was also the same AI technology that was used to pick apart recordings of songs for their final two albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be.
Jackson was best known for his epic fantasy trilogies, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
The song features musical contributions from all four members, so it’s truly a song from The Beatles. Nothing has been artificially or synthetically created.
There’s no denying that The Beatles’ music is still as popular as ever and has also left an unforgettable legacy in the music industry.
From “Here Comes the Sun” to “Let It Be,” their songs have become ingrained in our collective consciousness. It’s no wonder why the band is still loved by generations of music fans, with their melodies still resonating with people of all ages.
Before I end this post, did you know that The Beatles got their name from John Lennon’s art college friend and previous band member Stuart Sutcliffe?
Stuart proposed the name “Beatals” as a tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets. The band went by this name until May 1959, when they changed it to the Silver Beetles, then the Silver Beatles, and finally shortened it to simply The Beatles in August of that year.