The Beatles

I had wanted to write about this back when it happened in the fall of 2023, but I kept getting distracted, and never got around to it. But I still talk to people who consider themselves to be Beatles fans, but who have no idea that this happened. So, maybe it's not too late to write about this: for those of you who don't know (or those of you who do know), there is a new Beatles single that was released in 2023!

I know what you're thinking, and no, this isn't a computer-generated, A.I. deep fake. It is actual music, performed and recorded by all 4 Beatles.

The song is called "Now And Then". Basically, it is a demo tape that John Lennon recorded in 1977, before his murder in 1980. In 1994, after Lennon was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (as a solo artist), his widow, Yoko Ono, sent the tape to Paul McCartney. The 3 surviving Beatles, Paul, George, and Ringo, attempted to finish the song, but at the time, it proved too difficult. The quality of the recording wasn't very good, and it was too difficult to isolate John's performance from background sounds. At the time, the Beatles abandoned "Now And Then", but went ahead with production of 2 other songs on the tape, "Real Love" and "Free As A Bird", which were both released in 1996.

"Now And Then" sat dormant for decades, until the production of The Beatles: Get Back, a 2021 documentary film for Disney that was directed by Peter Jackson. Jackson employed new A.I. technologies to clean up background noise from the Beatles' practice and recording sessions for the Get Back album. During production, Jackson, Paul, and Ringo realized that this same technology could be employed to clean up the audio for "Now And Then" and isolate John's vocal and piano performances. This finally allowed Paul and Ringo to finish the song. They recorded new vocal and instrumental portions, along with an orchestra, and mixed them together with John's vocals, John's piano, and recordings of George's guitar parts from the failed 1995 recording sessions.

This finally allowed "Now And Then" to be finished and released as a new Beatles single in 2023.

"Now And Then" was released as the Beatles final single in November of 2023.
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Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band

Last weekend, I added an item to my bucket list:

Sing back-up vocals with an actual Beatle, in the flesh.

I then promptly crossed that item off of the list.

Sing back-up vocals with an actual Beatle, in the flesh.

My girlfriend and I had the pleasure of seeing a live concert performance of Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band at the Pearl Concert Theater in the Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. I've seen several Beatles tribute bands perform, but this was my first time seeing an actual Beatle in the flesh.

Ringo's band is made up of former members of other bands such as Toto, Santana, and others, and so in addition to hearing a handful of songs from "that other band that Ringo was in", they also performed songs from the other members' former bands, ranging from Black Magic Woman to Africa and Bang on the Drums All Day. They also performed a few original solo songs from Ringo, such as Anthem. The Beatles songs that were performed were Boys, Don't Pass Me By, I Wanna Be Your Man, Yellow Submarine, and With a Little Help From My Friends - all songs originally written-by or sung-by Ringo. Not exactly A-List Beatles stuff, but - hey - a Beatle is still a Beatle!

With a Little Help From My Friends is actually one of my favorite Beatles songs, so that was nice to hear. In fact, one of my auxiliary Rock Band avatars has always been a custom Billy Shears character, based on Ringo's appearance on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. I'd show you a screenshot, but all my old Rock Band saves were lost when my PS3 died on me.

I've sung along to the Beatles a lot: in the shower, in the car, while practicing my guitar, while playing Beatles: Rock Band... But now I got to sing backup vocals with a Beatle: Ringo, himself! I did it from my seat in the audience, along with everybody else in the theater, but he was there, and I was singing with him. So that was special. And from now on, I can say that I sang a song with Ringo Starr!

Now I just have to keep an eye out for Paul McCartney visiting Vegas so that I can sing back-up vocals for Hey Jude...

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