After months of teasing, the long-awaited “final song” from the Beatles, ‘Now and Then,’ dropped on Thursday. Bringing the legendary rock group back for one last track was made possible through artificial intelligence, which helped bring together the musical stylings of John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr to complete the new song. ‘Now and Then’ is based on a 1978 demo by Beatles lead singer John Lennon, who was assassinated in New York City in 1980.
Sean Ono Lennon, John Lennon’s son, said in the ‘Now and Then’ behind-the-scenes documentary that he remembered his father recording into cassette recorders and that his mother, artist and peace activist Yoko Ono, gave the tapes to the other band members. Paul McCartney said that the band had previously tried to record ‘Now and Then,’ but the task was challenging because in Lennon’s demo tape, the piano often overpowered Lennon’s voice, and they did not have the technology to separate them at the time.
Fast forward to 2021, and working with the creative and technical team behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a clean extraction of Lennon’s signature voice could be produced. ‘Now and Then’ could finally be completed. In June, McCartney teased that a final song by the Beatles was in the works thanks to AI, which had been trained to recognize the band members’ voices.
Director and Producer Peter Jackson said in the documentary that they had been paying a lot of attention to the technical restoration which ultimately led them to develop a technology which allows them to take any soundtrack and split all the different components into separate tracks based on machine learning. McCartney said that when they heard the sound of John’s voice, they knew they could make a proper record.
Others leveraging generative AI include Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, who said the band had used the technology for the 30th-anniversary edition of the band’s final album ‘In Utero.’ Up until recently, generative AI audio models were making headlines primarily due to unofficial “collaborations” and remixes, including the infamous ‘Heart on My Sleeve’ AI-generated song emulating artists Drake and The Weeknd, and a remix of The Weeknd’s ‘Starboy’ featuring an AI-generated Selena Gomez.
Ringo Starr added that Peter took John off and gave him his own track, and it’s like John’s there—it’s far out. Starr said that he and McCartney recorded new drum and bass tracks to pair with the updated recordings of Lennon and mixes of Harrison, who passed away in 2001. But while working on the new song, McCartney said, they had to keep the true nature of the project “hush hugh” from other musicians brought in to add instrumentals.
“Wow, this is it,” McCartney said. “Now it’s a Beatles record.”
The Beatles have released their “final song” “Now and Then” which was made possible through artificial intelligence. The song is based on a 1978 demo by John Lennon, who was assassinated in New York City in 1980. The Beatles used machine learning to separate the different components of the soundtrack, allowing them to make a proper record of the song. Other artists, such as Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, have also used generative AI for their works. This is good news for Beatles fans, as it gives them one last piece of music from the iconic band. #TheBeatles #NowAndThen #JohnLennon #PaulMcCartney #RingoStarr #AI #GenerativeAI
You can read more about this topic here: Decrypt: Beatles’ Final Song ‘Now and Then’ Brought to Life by AI