(FILE).- Members of 'The Beatles' (L-R) Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr are seen boarding a plane to fly to Barcelona, after their concert held at the Las Ventas bullring in Madrid. July 3, 1965. EFE/fs

The Beatles ‘Last Song’ arrives thanks to controversial AI

By Enrique Rubio

London, Nov 2 (EFE) – The Beatles are still determined to prove their immortality. Artificial intelligence has made it possible that on Thursday, 43 years after the death of John Lennon and 22 after that of George Harrison, “Now and Then”, the “last song” of the Liverpool band sees the light of day.

Preceded by a meticulous promotional campaign – which includes the release of a documentary on Wednesday – the song can be heard on digital media around the world from 2:00 pm GMT on Thursday.

“Beatlemaniacs” will have to wait until Friday to get a physical copy (CD, vinyl or cassette) in stores.

The song will be released as a single along with “Love me do,” their 1963 debut, to “close the circle” for the iconic quartet.

(FILE) New Delhi (India), 1998.- George Harrison (l) and John Lennon (d), of the group The Beatles, photographed with an unidentified person, on a street in Shankaracharyyanagar in northern India. EFE/UPI

However, relying on Paul McCartney’s inexhaustible energy, it would be risky to bet that this is the last trick in the hat.

“Now and Then” was born as a demo that John Lennon recorded in his New York apartment. It is a melancholy and decidedly romantic song that has been compared to “Jealous Guy” by critics in the UK.

It is believed that Lennon recorded the song around 1978, seven years after the band broke up and during a period when he was writing numerous love songs.

“I know it’s true, it’s all because of you. And if I get through it, it’s because of you. And every once in a while, if we have to start again, we’ll know for sure that I love you,” Lennon sings in the opening verses.

The miracle of the song, with Lennon’s clean and clear voice, comes thanks to artificial intelligence, as the UK hosts a global summit hoping to protect the world from its threats.

(FILE) Climbers with large letters carrying the names of The Beatles and Love attached on their backs hang down from a bunker in Hamburg, Germany, Thursday, 16 November 2006. EPA/Sebastian Widmann

However, the producer of the song, Giles Martin, defends its use for certain purposes.

The software was able to separate Lennon’s voice from the piano in the original demo, something that had been tried before but never achieved.

It was Yoko Ono who gave the tapes of unfinished songs to the Beatles in the ’90s, so they could finish the work that John was unable to do after his dramatic assassination outside the Dakota Building in New York in 1980.

As McCartney tells in the documentary “Now and then” (available on the Beatles’ social media accounts), they recorded “Free as a bird” and “Real love” in 1994, and started to do the same with “Now and then”, but it was “put away in the cupboard in 1995.”

However, the appearance of the documentary “Get Back,” in which New Zealand director Peter Jackson used AI to recover some old footage shot during the recording of the Beatles’ last album, saved the project.

“Paul called me and said he wanted to work on ‘Now and Then.’ He played bass and I played drums,” explains Ringo Starr.

With Lennon’s voice resurrected thanks to technology, all that remained was to recover parts of the guitar Harrison had recorded in the mid-’90s from the first attempt to bring the song back to life.

A person poses for a photograph with a sculpture of The Beatles in Liverpool, Britain, 02 November 2023. EFE/EPA/ADAM VAUGHAN

They also added string arrangements played by a group of musicians who were hidden and who participated in the final legacy of the Beatles.

McCartney and Martin put the finishing touches on the song by adding choruses from their old songs “Here, There And Everywhere”, “Eleanor Rigby” and “Because.”

Along with the single, the music video for the song, directed by Peter Jackson himself, will be released on Friday at 2:00 pm GMT.

According to the BBC, it will contain the oldest surviving images of the group, when the drummer was Pete Best, before he was replaced by Ringo Starr.

Best’s brother Roag claims to have bought the silent film from a man who recorded the quartet at Saint Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Birkenhead in February 1962, eight months before the band’s first single was released. EFE er/mcd/ics