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The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater

The student news site of Wayne State College

The Wayne Stater


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“Now and Then” – The Final Chapter of the Beatles

Growing up, my family played a trivia game on long car trips to pass the time.   

This was a music game where my dad would ask my older sister and I if we knew the classic rock band playing on the radio. This was my first introduction to some of the greatest rock bands of all time including one British rock band that you might have heard of: the Beatles. On Nov. 2, the band has who have released their final song, “Now and Then”  

“Now and Then” started out as a modest demo recorded on a handset cassette tape by John Lennon in the late 70s according to the short film, “Now and Then-The Last Beatles Song.” After Lennon’s tragic death, his partner Yoko Ono found a couple of his cassette tapes, which she gave to the other Beatles to clean up.  

In the 90s, The Beatles minus Lennon, began to clean up “Now and Then” while completing four other songs such as “Free as A Bird” in 1995 and “Real Love” in 1996. When the three members tried to record “Now and Then,” they had a major problem. Even though they had Lennon’s voice on a cassette tape, they did not have a way to separate his vocals from his piano playing, so the project was shelved until further notice. 

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 “’Is this something that we shouldn’t do?’ Every time I thought like that I thought, ‘wait a minute,’ let’s say I had a chance to ask John, ‘would you like us to finish this last song of yours?’” I’m telling you; I know the answer would have been, ‘Yeah.’ He would have loved that,” Paul McCartney said in the “Now and Then” short film.  

As the only surviving members in 2023, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney decided that it was time to dust off that old cassette tape and release one final single with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Truth be told, the release of the single would not be possible without AI. With their experience with AI working on Peter Johnson’s 2021 “Beatles: Get Back” documentary,” the sound engineers were able to give Lennon his own track that was clear and separate from his piano playing.  

“My Dad would have loved that, because he was never really shy to experiment with recording technology.” John Lennon’s son, Sean Ono Lennon, said in the “Now and Then” short film.  

Rather than the AI recreating Lennon’s voice sounding obviously like a machine, the AI alterations are barely noticeable, and help breathe new life into an old demo. 

“Now and Then” serves as a mournful yet hopeful tribute to the Beatles’ fifty-year career. The band originated in Liverpool, England, a working-class industrial city that was better known for comedians than musicians, according to Scott Freiman on The four Beatles came from poor backgrounds and lacked musical training but were able to learn through curiosity and determination. According to the same article, it was comedic to think that a band could come out of Liverpool during that time and make a mark on the world’s stage.  

Over the course of their career, the Beatles have influenced decades of music and culture, all the while acting more like brothers than business partners. The lyrics of “Now and Then” read like a message of admiration, friendship and brotherhood, which can be traced back to every song from their set list.  

Even though two members of the band are not around to see their final song’s success in the modern age of AI, it is safe to say that the Beatles’ music that is still relevant, because “Now and Then” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Digital Song Sales Chart during its first day of sales, according  

Even though it is sad to hear that this song will be the final one released by the Beatles, it is safe to say that the Beatles have come a long way since their beginnings in Liverpool England.  

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Kathryn Vlaanderen, Arts and Entertainment

Kathryn Vlaanderen is the Arts and Entertainment editor and a photographer for the Wayne Stater team. She is from Sioux City, IA where she has spent a majority of her life. At WSC, she is pursuing a career in Mass Communications with a minor in Spanish. At Wayne State College, she is the president of the WSC Spanish Club, and a member of two honor societies present on campus, as well as a alumnae member of Theta Phi Alpha. Besides academics and involvement in campus life, Kathryn is a avid reader, history and movie buff, loves all kinds of music especially anything Broadway-related.

 Even though Kathryn is an introvert, she hopes that her stories for the Wayne Stater shows that she has a lot to say in the Wayne Stater newspaper.

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    Todd VlaanderenNov 12, 2023 at 11:55 am

    Very nice article. i enjoyed the great information.