You may have heard that a “new” Beatles single has been produced, featuring the dead Beatles along with the expired ones, McCartney and Starr. It’s a song called: “Now and Then”. You can watch it if you want. I won’t.
The idea of ransacking the identities of deceased artists is kind of repellent– they can’t consent, of course, and they can’t, in turn, ransack the identities of those who now exploit them because they’re dead. I don’t know if there is a way to make this illegal when their own families (of the dead artists) are still trying to cash in on long-expired relevance but I wish they could. I wish that an artist could, in his will, express his solemn wish that no one could use a technology that hasn’t been invented yet to, in the future, create an artificial replica of his body or voice and use it to make money.
I really wish they could.
Next: a duet with Janis Joplin and Elvis Presley? Buddy Holly and Cass Elliot? A guitar duel between Jimi Hendrix and Robert Johnson? It is coming. It is absolutely coming.
It does McCartney’s and Starr’s reputations no good. Reputations are earned by production: give us a new song that is really worth listening to. That’s something neither of them have done in 40 years. In desperation, they exploit the memories of Harrison and Lennon. Sure, the families consent: they want the money.
If Lennon were alive, I’m sure he’d have something acerbic to say about the very idea. I think is very likely he would find the very idea repugnant.