The Beatles were one of the most successful and influential pop music groups of the 1960s. The English rock band, comprising John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, produced numerous hits before breaking up in 1970. Any hope of the group recording another song was dashed when a jealous fan killed John Lennon in December 1980. But now, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI), fans will be able to listen to one final song from the iconic band.
Sir Paul McCartney announced the exciting news on BBC Radio 4 in June 2023. He said that he got the idea from Peter Jackson. The talented filmmaker used AI technology to separate the voices from the background noise in videos recorded by The Beatles in 1970. The footage was used to produce the 2021 documentary series The Beatles: Get Back.
"He could separate them with AI," McCartney said. "They'd tell the machine, 'That's a voice. This is a guitar. Lose the guitar.' And he did that."
The process is known as music source separation. It allows song editors to isolate musical instruments or voices from a recording. Source separation is different from "deepfake," a deceiving form of AI music creation.
Source separation refines a song already written and recorded by the original artist. "Deepfake" uses AI to impersonate the voices, lyrics, or sounds of established artists, often without their consent.
McCartney did not reveal the song's name. But there is some speculation that it may be "Now and Then," a love song dedicated to Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono. The singer-songwriter recorded the composition shortly before he died in 1980. It was included in a cassette that he left for McCartney.
Two songs from that tape, "Free as a "Bird" and Real Love," using Lennon's original voice, were recorded and released in 1995. However, Now and Then was abandoned due to the poor sound quality.
The song's release date has also not been announced. But McCartney promised it would be sometime in 2023. So, stay tuned!
Resources: theguardian.om Smithsonianmag.com, CNN,.com