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The Beatles' “Now and Then”, made

The Beatles' “Now and Then”, made

But Lennon's third demo, “Now and Then”, remained unfinished. After recording the first rough backing track on March 20 and 21, 1994, George Harrison threw in the towel. It is now released under the name The Beatles.

In the final surprise occurred the BeatlesOne man played a crucial role: Mal Evans. While working on Get Back, director Peter Jackson, with the help of a New Zealand production team, developed a technique to teach a computer to reproduce the sound of a guitar, drums, or a specific human voice. From the recording, this allowed him to isolate and highlight each element.

The system has been named MAL (Machine Assisted Learning), a reference to HAL 9000, the on-board neural computer from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, written by Stanley Kubrick, and to the Beatles' legendary assistant. MAL was indeed indispensable to Jackson and Giles Martin, who in the young Beatles family was responsible for adapting the group's work to the listening habits of new generations, and Mal Evans was also responsible for producing the original recordings. Through MAL, Martin was able to strip every voice and instrument from the mono recordings of the Revolver session and create a stereo remix of the album. MAL also helped Paul McCartney finish the Beatles' last songs.

He has been working on it since 1994. In January, when he gave the eulogy to celebrate John Lennon's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, McCartney met Yoko Ono, who gave him some cassette tapes with unreleased demo songs by her dating husband. from 1977. These were intended to serve as the basis for the “new” Beatles songs, with the intention of adding an unreleased song to each of the three albums accompanying the anthology retrospective. The idea of ​​calling up Jeff Lynne, head of the Electric Light Orchestra and Harrison's partner, was certainly a peace offering to his old friend George, with whom he had become estranged.

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In contrast, Harrison was very happy to no longer be a member of the Beatles, and only said yes to Anthology because he needed money after losing a lot of it with his film production company, HandMade Films. And Lin was really the man for the job, at least for a DIY job. He managed to combine mono recordings of two of Lennon's songs, “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love”, where it was not possible to separate vocals and keyboards, with the backing tracks recorded separately by Starr, Harrison and McCartney (which the press at the time had Ironically called “The Three”), it includes a newly composed bridge. However, in terms of sound aesthetics, the result was more like the Electric Light Orchestra or the Wilburys' Traveling Band than the Beatles.

But Lennon's third demo, “Now and Then”, remained unfinished. After recording the first rough backing track on 20 and 21 March 1994 at McCartney's Hogg Hill Mill Studios, south-east London, George Harrison abandoned his decision. It became clear that Lynne had technically reached the end of what he could do and that it would take more than a few harmonies, guitars and percussions to make this demo a good song. Latest albumExcerpts So he was denied the new Beatles song.

In the documentary Mr. Blue Sky, McCartney later stated that one day he would sneak into the studio with Lane and finish the song. He had a mischievous laugh when he said this, as if it were a gag. But behind that, there was something deeper: When John Lennon and Paul McCartney saw each other in person for the last time, in 1976 or 1977 (they continued to call each other afterward to give each other news of their children and baking recipes), it was in the lobby of a residence. Lennon, in the Dakota Building, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, at the end of a harmonious evening. As they were leaving, the master of the house tapped Paul on the shoulder and said to him: “Think of me every now and then, old friend.”

Mike Bruegheimer

Find this article about Now and Then from the Beatles In full in Issue 158, available on newsstands and via Our online store.

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