Paul McCartney Reveals “Final” Beatles Song Made With Artificial Intelligence

The tune, using a demo with John Lennon’s voice, will be released later this year

The Beatles in session 1963 (Image: The Beatles)

In a recent interview with the BBC, Paul McCartney revealed that a final Beatles song has been completed using artificial intelligence.

The song features John Lennon’s voice, which was taken from a demo tape that dates back to the 1970s, though he did not reveal a title or offer any insight into its lyrical content. 

“When we came to make what will be the last Beatles record, it was a demo that John had, that we worked on,” McCartney told BBC Radio 4. “We were able to take John’s voice and get it pure through this A.I., so then we could mix the record, as you would normally do.”

It has been surmised in some circles the song might be culled from a 1978 demo of a tune called “Now and Then” that was given to the surviving Beatles by Yoko Ono in 1995 when McCartney, Ringo Starr and the late George Harrison were working on the acclaimed Anthology series. 

Two other songs on that tape, “Free As a Bird” and “Real Love,” were later completed by the three surviving Beatles using Lennon’s original voice recording and were officially released in 1995 and 1996.

It is uncertain at press time exactly how Macca and Ringo are utilizing this demo or if it will include any new songwriting from the surviving Fabs. 


VIDEO: The Beatles “Free As A Bird”

This isn’t the first time A.I. has been used to create music. Over the spring, there was an artificial intelligence-based tune called “Heart On My Sleeve” that assimilated the vocal stylings of Drake and The Weeknd that began gaining traction on the Internet before it was taken down by Universal Music Group. There’s also an AI song out there that mimics Rhianna covering Beyoncé’s “Cuff It.”

For McCartney, the decision to create this final Beatles song stemmed from Peter Jackson’s Get Back documentary, where dialogue editor Emile de la Rey taught computers to recognize the Beatles’ voices and separate them from other sounds to create “clean” audio.

“He [Jackson] was able to extricate John’s voice from a ropey little bit of cassette,” Sir Paul told Radio 4’s Martha Kearney. “We had John’s voice and a piano and he could separate them with A.I.. They tell the machine, ‘That’s the voice. This is a guitar. Lose the guitar’. So when we came to make what will be the last Beatles’ record, it was a demo that John had [and] we were able to take John’s voice and get it pure through this AI. Then we can mix the record, as you would normally do. So it gives you some sort of leeway.”

However, Paul is well aware of the dangers of artificial intelligence all the same. 

“I’m not on the internet that much [but] people will say to me, ‘Oh, yeah, there’s a track where John’s singing one of my songs’, and it’s just AI, you know?” he said. “It’s kind of scary but exciting, because it’s the future. We’ll just have to see where that leads.”

McCartney was on the BEEB to promote Eye of the Storm, his upcoming exhibition later this month at the National Portrait Gallery featuring previously unseen photographs he took during the early days of The Beatles.


VIDEO: New York Post reporting on final Beatles song using A.I.


Ron Hart

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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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