With the release of their first song in decades, The Beatles have proven their music remains as relevant as ever — but the band’s two surviving members say they never imagined they’d have such longevity from its humble beginnings in Liverpool.
“None of us thought it would last a week!” drummer Ringo Starr, 83, told The Sunday Times of London.
“Paul was going to write, I was going to open a hairdresser’s, George would get a garage,” he continued. “But it went on and then it ended. And at the right time, I think. But, you know, that didn’t stop us playing with each other.”
The Beatles’ final track, “Now and Then,” was released on Thursday and had Beatles fans young and old melting.
The beautiful, dramatic goodbye from the Fab Four features John Lennon on vocals and George Harrison on guitar — despite the pair having been dead for decades — thanks to the help of modern technology.
As they reflected on the past after releasing the song, Paul McCartney, 81, shared Starr’s incredulity at how The Beatles have endured as one of music’s most popular and beloved bands.
“When we started, we thought that, maybe, we’d have 10 years — that was the maximum span for a rock ‘n’ roll group,” McCartney told the Sunday Times.
While their estimation was more or less correct for the times The Beatles actually recorded together, their music has continued to captivate and inspire new audiences for generations since they called it quits.
“Now and Then” has existed in its crudest form since 1977, when Lennon tape-recorded a rough draft of the song while playing piano in his apartment at the Dakota on New York City’s Upper West Side — where he would be murdered two years later.
Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, told the remaining band members that she still had one of his old demo tapes in the 1990s.
McCartney, Harrison and Starr took their first stab at using Lennon’s tape recording as the basis for a new Beatles song.
Harrison’s guitar parts were recorded in 1995. He died of cancer in 2001.
But due to technological limitations at the time, the band was unable to rip Lennon’s muffled voice from the piano in the rough recording, so the project was shelved.
However, it was revisited recently by director Peter Jackson, who made HBO’s 2021 Beatles documentary “Get Back.” Using state-of-the-art equipment, he was able to split the parts and make the new recording possible. The Oscar-winner also released a video to accompany the historic track.
McCartney and Starr each recorded new parts on their respective instruments and a string section added a layer of depth to Lennon’s song.
“It’s strange when you think about it,” McCartney told the outlet. “There’s John, in his apartment, banging away at a piano doing a demo. And now we’ve restored it and it’s a crystal-clear, beautiful vocal.
“You still wonder, is it inferior, something we shouldn’t do? But every time I thought that, I thought, ‘Let’s say I had a chance to ask John.’ And John would have loved it. Of course, I’m never going to know, but I think mine’s the best guess we can have,” he continued.
“And now it is a Beatles record. When we played it to people, some cried, some said, ‘Jesus Christ, it’s a Beatles record!’ ”
This story originally appeared on NY Post