Learn how the Beatles used new audio separation technology to revive an old John Lennon recording, turning it into "Now and Then," the last Beatles song.


The Beatles are more than just a band; they're a musical phenomenon that has left a mark on the world. Decades after The Beatles ended their collaboration, we now have the chance to listen to a brand-new song from them. That's the magic behind "Now and Then," a track that has been waiting on the sidelines for over 25 years. It was supposed to be part of a project called The Beatles Anthology, providing a deep dive into their music and unseen footage. However, they hit a snag. John Lennon's vocals were stuck like glue to a piano track he recorded in the '70s, and nobody knew how to separate them. It seemed like this song might remain unfinished forever until a recent advancement in audio technology.


The Beatles and Technology


The Beatles didn't just sing songs; they played around with the very fabric of music, experimenting with sounds and recording methods that nobody had dared to try before. They were like musical scientists, constantly testing out new ideas in the studio. The world of music production was their playground, and they were always pushing the boundaries of the latest tech. This innovative spirit helped them create sounds that were completely new and fresh; it’s a big part of why we still talk about them today.

The Anthology Project and "Now and Then"


Back in the '90s, the surviving Beatles got together to create The Beatles Anthology. This wasn't just any old reunion; it was a chance to revisit their glory days with never-before-heard music and memories. Among these was a demo by John Lennon titled "Now and Then." The three Beatles, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, tried to add their own parts to Lennon's original demo. They wanted to finish what they had started together, but there were technological barriers holding back production.

Technological Barriers


The problem was that Lennon's voice and piano were mixed on the same track. Trying to isolate voice was like trying to take the eggs out of a cake after it had been baked. Back then, even the best sound engineers couldn't untangle the two without losing the magic of Lennon's performance. It was a puzzle that seemed impossible to solve, and for a long time, that's exactly what it was. Everyone wanted to hear this last song from the Beatles, but audio technology hadn’t evolved far enough yet.

Peter Jackson's Software Breakthrough


Then, like a plot twist in a movie, came Peter Jackson, famous for directing The Lord of the Rings. He and his team had cooked up some incredible software for the documentary series Get Back, which showed the Beatles as we'd never seen them before. This software was so advanced it could do what was once thought impossible: separate Lennon's voice from the piano. It was like finding the key to a locked treasure chest.

The Completion of "Now and Then"


With this new tool, the door was finally open to bring "Now and Then" to life. Paul, George, and Ringo could now record fresh music to accompany Lennon's voice from the past. It's a blend of the old and the new, a conversation between the Beatles then and now. This was more than just making music; The Beatles brought history back to life, adding a new chapter to their story.

Plugin Alliance's Role


In the video that tells this amazing story, sharp eyes might spot some software from Plugin Alliance at 6:21. You’ll notice the Lindell Audio 80 Series, SPL Transient Designer Plus, Brainworx bx_townhouse Bus Compressor, and Brainworx bx_console SSL 4000 E.


An image of the production of the last Beatles song with Plugin Alliance products on screen

A screenshot from the video showing the production of the last Beatles song with PA products on screen.


This journey from an old tape to a new Beatles song isn't just about finishing what was left undone. It's about how the curiosity that the Beatles had in regard to making music is still alive today. "Now and Then" is a testament to their legacy, a final bow from the band that changed music forever. It shows that with a bit of creativity and the right tools, the music of the past can step into the future.

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