Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi / CC by 2.0
Did John Lennon really sing on the Beatles’ new song? Ringo Starr addresses ‘terrible rumors’ and ‘bulls—t’ about John Lennon’s involvement in the new Beatles song, ‘Now And Then.’
Apropos of the band that released it, the Beatles’ new (final?) song, “Now And Then,” is still making headlines nearly a month after its debut. Unsurprisingly, the biggest questions surrounding it seem to pertain to the “how.” How did John Lennon sing on a Beatles track over 40 years since his murder?
In an in-depth new interview with AARP, Ringo Starr addressed the rumors surrounding the song’s creation. The use of AI to isolate Lennon’s vocals in the original demo recording has led people to suspect AI reconstructed Lennon’s voice altogether — but Ringo insists that’s not the case.
Originally a demo tape recorded by John Lennon in 1978, the song was passed along to the other Beatles by his widow, Yoko Ono, along with a selection of other demos, following his death. The remaining three Beatles constructed their parts of a song around the demo, but the technology of the time prevented isolating Lennon’s vocals recorded in his New York apartment and turning them into something usable. The group sat on the recording for 30 years.
“Last year, Paul called and said, ‘You remember that unfinished song of John’s, ‘Now and Then?’ Why don’t we work on that?’ He sent it to me, and I played the drums and sang. We had a great track of John singing and playing piano and George playing rhythm guitar,” says Ringo. “There were terrible rumors that it’s not John, it’s AI, whatever bulls—t people said. Paul and I would not have done that. It’s a beautiful song and a nice way to finally close that door.”
“I was 22 when I joined the Beatles in 1962, and I was 30 when it was all over. We did eight years, and look at how much we packed in,” he continued. “We loved to work — well, Paul loved to work more than all of us. John and I would be hanging out in the garden and the phone would ring. We were psychic — we knew it was him. ‘Hey lads, should we go into the studio?’ Otherwise, we’d have put out three albums and then vanished.”
The Beatles’ “Now And Then” is available on all streaming services, as well as CD, vinyl, and cassette. The song is also included on the remastered and expanded versions of the Beatles’ Red and Blue Greatest Hits albums, released on November 10.