Paul McCartney has confirmed that The Beatles would release a previously unheard song transformed by artificial intelligence (AI). The song uniquely features the vocals of the late John Lennon, extracted from an old recording.
The finishing touches have been applied, and the song will be shared with the world this year, McCartney said during an interview with BBC Radio 4’s “Today,” as The Daily Caller relays.
While McCartney stayed mum on the song’s title, the rumor suggests it’s the 1978 demo called “Now and Then.” Lennon, tragically slain 1980, initially recorded this track as a possible third single for The Beatles Anthology project. However, it remained unfinished and was left unreleased.
A Treasured Cassette from Lennon to McCartney. Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, gifted the demo to McCartney last year on a cassette tape filled with songs. This particular tape was labeled “For Paul” and a compilation Lennon created shortly before his untimely death.
The songs on the “For Paul” tape belong to the lo-fi genre, recorded on a boombox in Lennon’s New York City residence, with the sound of Lennon’s piano adding to the intimacy of these recordings.
The Magic of Artificial Intelligence. The revolutionary AI technology that was crucial in bringing this song to life was previously used by director Peter Jackson in his 2021 documentary series, “The Beatles: Get Back,” to separate the Beatles’ voices from the surrounding noise.
[Jackson] extracted John’s voice from a scrappy snippet of a cassette and a piano recording. By instructing the AI, he could distinguish between a voice and a guitar, thus eliminating the guitar, McCartney shared, as AP and The Washington Times reported.
In crafting this final Beatles record, the team used the demo that Lennon had left behind. Using AI, they managed to isolate Lennon’s voice, thereby making it possible to mix the record in a typical manner. This innovative approach provided some flexibility, McCartney explained.
A Blend of Excitement and Apprehension. The octogenarian musician expressed both enthusiasms and worry about the evolving AI technology.
I’m not a big internet user. Still, people often tell me, ‘There’s a track where John is singing one of your songs,’ and it’s all AI, McCartney reflected.
McCartney described the experience as thrilling and unnerving, saying, It’s the future, undoubtedly. We’ll have to wait and see where this journey takes us.