Martin was approached by surviving Beatles member, Sir Paul McCartney, with a demo for what would be deemed as the “final” Beatles song ‘Now And Then’. The track stems from a demo tape recorded by late bandmate John Lennon and was completed with the help of AI – which lifted the songwriter’s vocals off the initial recording and allowed the surviving members to work with them.
Speaking about the process of working on ‘Now And Then’ in an interview with The Sun, Martin said: “Paul played me what he’d started working on from the ’94 demo plus the extras he’d already done — new bass, piano, the guitar solo. Then we discussed whether to do more things with it.”
They went on to create a Beatles-style string arrangement, the kind that Martin’s late father – who was known as the fifth Beatle due to his work producing their music – was famous for.
“We started off with a 22-piece string section,” said Martin, “But eventually I cut it down to eight for most of the song — a double string quartet of four violins, two violas and two cellos.
He continued: “I was thinking, ‘What would dad have done?’ And I know he would have said, ‘You have to serve the song.’ So yeah, if I wanted to rip off my dad, do it for ‘Now And Then’ by The Beatles.”
The track also featured “oohs” and “aahs” sampled from Beatles hits ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘Because’, and ‘Here, There And Everywhere’, with Martin revealing that he had to persuade Macca to have them added to the song.
“Paul was reticent about that, understandably so, because he didn’t want some gimmicky thing. But I just thought, ‘The Beatles would do oohs here and I can’t get The Beatles to do them because two of the oohs are no longer with us’,” He said.
He continued: “So I said to Paul, ‘Let me just try it because I think it will sound right.’ He liked the idea in the end — it works for the song.”
Martin went on to add: “’Now And Then’ does sound like a Beatles song but not one from back in the day. It’s more how a Beatles song would sound now because they’re older. We didn’t try to hide that.”
In other news, The Beatles have topped the charts with ‘Now And Then’ – six decades after they secured their first Number One.
This feat means that McCartney and co. now boast the longest period between an artist’s first and last Number One single – with their first being ‘From Me to You’ in May 1963 (60 years and six months ago). Previously, Elvis Presley held the record with 47 years and six months between his 1957 hit ‘All Shook Up’ and a reissue of ‘It’s Now or Never’ that was released in 2005.
‘Now And Then’ reaching peak position on the charts also marks the longest gap ever between Number One singles. This comes as the rock veterans last reached Number One 54 years ago with ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ (1969.) Prior to the “final” track Kate Bush held the record for 44 years between ‘Wuthering Heights’ (1978) and’ Running Up That Hill’ (2022).
Earlier this week it was reported that Ringo Starr initially had doubts that the band’s success would last.
“None of us thought it would last a week,” he said. “Paul was going to write, I was going to open a hairdresser’s, George would get a garage. But it went on and then it ended. And at the right time, I think. But, you know, that didn’t stop us playing with each other.”
Elsewhere, the surviving members have continued the run of new material this month – releasing new expanded editions of ‘1962-1966 (The Red Album)’ and ‘1967-1970 (The Blue Album)’, mixed in stereo and Dolby, today (November 10).
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