The Beatles’ Now And Then might have been billed as the band’s “last song”, but director Peter Jackson, whose machine learning tech was used to help create it, says that it’s “conceivable” that more music could be made if those involved wanted to.
It was Jackson’s team’s MAL audio software that prised apart the piano and vocal parts in John Lennon’s original cassette demo recording of Now And Then, paving the way for Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the surviving Beatles, to complete the song and release it.
This is the same technology that Jackson used during the making of Get Back, his landmark Beatles documentary, which is based on footage that was captured during the making of the band’s Let It Be album.
When The Sunday Times suggested to Jackson that audio could now be extracted from unreleased music that was worked on during these sessions and used to create more songs, the director admitted that “It did cross my mind!”
Which isn’t to say that it’s going to happen but, as Jackson explains, there’s now no technical reason why it shouldn’t.
“We can take a performance from Get Back, separate John and George, and then have Paul and Ringo add a chorus or harmonies,” he says. “You might end up with a decent song but I haven’t had conversations with Paul about that. It’s fanboy stuff, but certainly conceivable.”
Whether all fans would be keen for this to happen is debatable - there are those who believe that The Beatles’ legacy should be left alone - but the merest suggestion that there could be more to come will leave some Fab Four fanatics quivering with excitement.
Why stop there, though - how about using AI to write and record ‘new’ Beatles-esque songs that sound like they were recorded by the band? We might joke about it, but at the rate artificial intelligence is developing, it might not be too long before it’s only ethical and legal reasons that are stopping this from happening…