The Beatles’ iconic track Now And Then has skyrocketed to the top of the charts in the UK, marking their first number one single in 54 years. This momentous achievement has left Paul McCartney, one of the band’s surviving members, overwhelmed with emotions. What makes this milestone even more extraordinary is the role that artificial intelligence (AI) played in the creation of the song.
Using advanced AI technology, the band was able to isolate the vocals of late member John Lennon from a tape he recorded back in 1978, just two years before his tragic death. These isolated vocals were then combined with old session tracks featuring the late guitarist George Harrison, as well as newly recorded lines from McCartney and drummer Ringo Starr. The result was a unique opportunity to reunite the band for one final time.
The Official Charts Company announced on Friday that Now And Then had reached the number one spot shortly after its release last week. This makes it The Beatles’ first chart-topper since The Ballad of John and Yoko in 1969. As a result, the Liverpool-based group now holds the record for the longest gap between number one hits, as well as the longest time span between an artist’s first and last chart-topping single. It’s a testament to their enduring legacy and the timeless appeal of their music.
The success of Now And Then has been nothing short of remarkable. It is currently the fastest-selling single of the year and has achieved the highest number of one-week physical sales in almost a decade. The news of this achievement left McCartney, now 81 years old, in awe. In an interview with Official Charts, he expressed his astonishment, saying, It’s mind-boggling. It’s blown my socks off. It’s also a very emotional moment for me. I love it!
Despite the anticipation surrounding the release of Now And Then, the song received mixed reviews from music critics. While some praised the use of AI technology and described it as a glimpse of the classic Beatles sound, others felt that the song fell short of expectations. Nevertheless, Martin Talbot, the CEO of the Official Charts Company, pointed to the sales as evidence that Beatlemania has returned and affirmed the band’s status as the greatest of all time.
The story behind Now And Then is also fascinating. The demo tape featuring John Lennon’s vocals was given to McCartney by Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, in 1994. The producer Jeff Lynne subsequently worked on and released two other songs, Free As A Bird and Real Love, in 1995 and 1996, respectively. While an attempt was made to include Now And Then in this project, technical obstacles proved insurmountable at the time. However, the two remaining Beatles were able to finish the song last year by incorporating Harrison’s guitar parts recorded in 1995.
The success of Now And Then not only showcases the timeless appeal of The Beatles’ music but also demonstrates the power of AI in recreating and preserving artistic legacies. It is a testament to the band’s lasting impact and their ability to captivate audiences even after more than half a century. With this chart-topping achievement, The Beatles have once again solidified their place in music history.