The Beatles have made music history again with their new single Now and Then.
The song has topped the charts in the UK, making the band the act with the longest ever gap between their first and last number ones.
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Sixty years after their song From Me to You sat at number one, Now and Then has made it to the same position. Sir Paul McCartney told the BBC: “It’s blown my socks off!”
And the BBC reports that the tune is also this century’s fastest-selling single on vinyl. And, with McCartney, 82, and drummer Ringo Starr, 83, they are also the oldest band to hit the top spot.
The song emerged from a demo written by John Lennon back in 1978, two years before his murder in New York. His widow Yoko Ono later gave the tape to McCartney, but audio technology wasn’t adequate then to separate Lennon’s voice from the background noise, so the song was discarded from the surviving Beatles’ 1990s collaboration.
Following the success of Peter Jackson’s documentary about the Fab Four Get Back, McCartney picked the project up again, and producers were able to use Jackson’s MAL audio software to separate Lennon’s voice. McCartney recorded additional vocals, Starr added drums and the guitar sounds of George Harrison, who died in 2001, were also added, making it an authentic Beatles song with all four contributing.
Fans have had a huge emotional response to the suitably elegiac love song, but while it has been billed as the very last Beatles song, last week Jackson gave a titillating hint that there could be more music in the vault.
He said he had footage from Get Back, in which one or other of the Beatles riffs on a musical idea in the studio. He said:
“We can take a performance from Get Back, separate John and George, and then have Paul and Ringo add a chorus or harmonies. You might end up with a decent song but I haven’t had conversations with Paul about that.
“It’s fanboy stuff, but certainly conceivable.”
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