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Pop Culture

Paul McCartney hints the ‘final’ Beatles song is coming soon. Here’s what it may sound like.

Technology is bringing John, Paul, George and Ringo together again for one last time.

A trade ad for The Beatles taken in 1965

In 1994, the surviving members of The Beatles, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, reunited to record new music for the “Anthology” multimedia project. The “Threatles” came out of the sessions with two new tracks based on late-'70s John Lennon demos, “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love.”

The songs were seen as a bit of curiosity at the time because the group used digital technology to allow all four Beatles to play together 14 years after Lennon’s death.

During the sessions, the group also tinkered with another Lennon demo given to them by his widow, Yoko Ono, called “Now and Then.” Unfortunately for Beatles fans, their work on the song has never been heard. But after a recent McCartney interview with the BBC, people are speculating that “Now and Then” may finally see the light of day.


“So when we came to make what will be the last Beatles record—it was a demo that John [Lennon] had that we worked on, and we just finished it up and will be released this year—we were able to take John's voice and get it pure through this AI so that then we could mix the record as you would normally do,” McCartney told the BBC.

McCartney’s mention of the term “AI” had many afraid that he and Starr were digitally recreating Lennon’s voice, a controversial practice in today’s music industry. However, McCartney probably refers to the same learning technology used for The Beatles' “Get Back” documentary that can separate different sounds recorded on the same track.

“They tell the machine: ‘That’s a voice, this is a guitar, lose the guitar.’ And he did that. So it has great uses,” McCartney told the BBC. The same technology was also used on the latest Beatles re-release of the “Revolver” album, where engineers used AI to create a greater separation of individual instruments.

The belief that the song is “Now and Then” was given additional credence when what appears to be a renewed song copyright was posted on Reddit’s Beatles forum.

Here’s a demo Lennon performed of “Now and Then” in 1978.

If the song is “Now and Then,” it’s unclear whether Harrison, who died in 2001, made significant contributions to the recording. However, a 2005 story in The Washington Post claims that he is on the track. According to The Beatles Bible, the three only worked on the song for two days, producing a “rough backing track.”

The mystery surrounding McCartney’s cryptic claim that there’s another Beatles song on the way, aided by AI, has got Beatles fans speculating over what they're going to hear. But that’s always been one of the fun parts about loving The Beatles. Their legacy is filled with enough mystery, trivia, speculation and debate that it’s kept fans interested for over 60 years. Regardless of what the track will be, how it happened or how great it will sound, half the fun is just trying to suss out what Paul and Ringo are doing and how Harrison and Lennon are involved.

Adele gave a group of fans the surprise of a lifetime.

Adele is one of the most beloved singers in the world, both for her rich, resonant singing voice and for her genuine, down-to-earth personality. Her first album, "19," launched her into stardom, but her second album, "21" rocketed her into the superstar realm in 2011.

Since then, fans haven't been able to get enough of her. And in 2015, Adele gave a small group of fans the hugest surprise—by becoming one of them.

The surprise was orchestrated by BBC show host Graham Norton, who had gathered a group of Adele impersonators and tribute performers to film a (fake) contest show called "My Adele." What they didn't know was that Adele herself would be among the contestants, wearing a prosthetic nose and chin and a wig. She gave herself a fake name—Jenny—and lowered her voice so as not to give away her identity. She even gave herself a fake backstory as a woman who worked as a nanny and who had been doing Adele gigs for four years (though gigs had been few and far between lately).

Her commitment to the gag was impressive, as was her ability to keep a straight face as the contestants talked to her. She pretended to be incredibly nervous, and her fellow contestants were just so sweet and supportive—which just made the moments of realization and stunned expressions on each of their faces when she actually began to sing all the more delightful. You can dress up her face and hair, but you can't disguise that iconic voice.

The whole thing is just sheer joy all around. Watch:

Photo by Heike Mintel on Unsplash
Männerfaust und Babyfaust

Brian Teasdale, loving father and gifted musician, wrote his baby girl a special lullaby to coax her into sleep. That sweet, soothing tune was simply titled “Little Girl.”

According to Radio Today, Teasdale had been a prolific creative all his life, making beautiful works just like his daughter's lullaby. Then, 10 years ago, he suffered from a brain injury in a brutal assault, and could no longer compose music.

Earlier this year, his daughter Karen Robson received the news that her father had contracted COVID-19, and she was told his days might be numbered. Robson found the absolute best way to honor her father, by bringing his music back to life.

Determined to make it happen, she reached out to her local radio station (BBC Radio Newscastle) and asked for their help in recreating Teasdale’s “Little Girl” song.

Music students from Sunderland College teamed up under the band name “Brian and the Buttercups,” and made their own version based on Teasdale’s original.

The freshly made tune has all those endearing nostalgia-worthy sounds: a vintage-y record crackle, soft ukulele (at least I think it’s a ukulele … whatever instrument it is, it’s lovely), a kind of lilting, wistful male singer. And of course, Teasdale's love for his daughter still shines through in the touching lyrics.

You can listen to it here. It’s easy to see why his Robson remembers this childhood gem so fondly.

On Friday, December 3, a father’s little lullaby—made 56 years ago—found its way to the public when it played on the radio. And it received a huge reaction from listeners. Sunderland College reported that the station received numerous calls asking where they could purchase the song.

Tony Wilson, Sunderland College Music Lecturer, even secured a record deal with Sapien Records Ltd. The single was released, complete with cover art based on a photo of Robson as a child. Talk about a pleasant surprise.

Karen Robson was understandably moved. She said on the air:

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed and I can’t thank everyone enough; Sunderland College, BBC Radio Newcastle; everybody who has helped do this for my dad. This song means everything to me and now everyone can hear it. It’s an absolute dream.”

But she wasn’t the only one touched. BBC Radio Newcastle’s on-air host Gilly Hope shared how she immediately knew the original recording was “special,” as it brought the entire studio to tears. But even she didn’t anticipate how masterful the re-recording would be.

“The brilliant music degree students and staff at Sunderland College did a fantastic job on the track – their version made us all cry all over again. Like so many of the best bits of radio, it started with a listener calling in to tell us her story and we were thrilled to be a part of making such a difference to Karen and her dad,” she said.

Robson's tribute to her father is a heartwarming metaphor for how parents pass down their legacy. These stories, traditions and memories continue to live on long after they’ve passed.

They might take on new life, however one thing remains the same: love, just like that lullaby created all those years ago, is always timeless.

Since the pandemic began, millions of parents have found themselves juggling work life with home life at the exact same time—to varying degrees of success. Working from home always presents certain challenges, but when kids are home with you and you can't hire a babysitter or kid-swap with a friend due to social distancing, you do what you can and hope for the best.

A recent interview on BBC showcased the work/home life blend as Dr. Clare Wenham, Assistant Professor of Global Health Policy at the London School of Economics, spoke with host Christian Fraser about the lockdowns in the U.K. The clip begins with Wenham putting her daughter, Scarlett, down. As Wenham talked to Fraser, Scarlett worked in the background, clearly trying to decide which shelf she wanted her unicorn picture to be displayed on.


Fraser got a kick out of watching Scarlett's deliberations, so he asked her name and offered her his opinion on where the picture should go. After that, Scarlett was in the conversation. "What's his name? What's his name, Mummy?" she asked, until Fraser introduced himself. Then Scarlett explained her dilemma and asked her mom's opinion on which shelf she should use.

The whole interchange was just so wholesome and sweet, with the innocent little girl clearly having no concept of the importance of a BBC interview or any of the global pandemic details her mom and Fraser were talking about. She was laser focused on getting the right shelf for her unicorn picture, which is a perfectly appropriate thing for a child her age to be concerned with.

And aside from a few cranky grinches, people on Twitter loved it.

The scene was a bit reminiscent of the famous Dr. Kelly interview several years back, when his two young kids came into the room during his interview, followed by their mom flying in to drag them out. It became an instant classic, spawning a deluge of jokes and parodies. Even the little girl's yellow sweater and confident swagger became iconic GIFs and memes.

Children interrupt BBC News interview - BBC Newswww.youtube.com

Anyone who has worked from home with kids knows that you can make it work most of the time, but there are going to be moments, hours or days when the wheels just fall off the cart. Sometimes it's maddening, but more often it's just a humanizing reminder that life happens and kids are delightfully unpredictable.

Scarlett did finally decide on a perfect place for her unicorn, by the way. And Dr. Wenham offered people her thanks "for kind words normalising the work-parent balance that so many are juggling amid #covid19 chaos."