Paul McCartney has revealed in an interview with the BBC that a “final Beatles record” is set to be released later this year, with the aid of artificial intelligence. McCartney, who will turn 81 soon, explained that the record was based on a demo created by John Lennon, which they had previously worked on together and recently completed.
The Beatles, consisting of Lennon, McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, disbanded in 1970, with each member pursuing individual careers. Sadly, Lennon was tragically shot and killed in New York in 1980 at the age of 40, while Harrison passed away from lung cancer in 2001 at the age of 58.
McCartney did not disclose the title of the recorded song, but it is believed to be a Lennon composition from 1978 called “Now And Then,” which Lennon had recorded on a cassette for McCartney a year before his untimely death. The cassette was given to McCartney by Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, in 1994. Two other songs from the cassette, “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love,” were later cleaned up and released in 1995 and 1996 with the help of producer Jeff Lynne.
An earlier attempt was made to restore “Now And Then,” but the project was abandoned due to background noise on the demo. McCartney expressed his desire to finish the song, and now, with the assistance of artificial intelligence, he has been given a new opportunity.
Working alongside Peter Jackson, the director of the 2021 documentary series “The Beatles: Get Back,” McCartney utilized AI to isolate Lennon’s vocals and a piano track from the original recording. McCartney explained that they instructed the AI to identify Lennon’s voice and remove other elements, such as the guitar. This process allowed them to retrieve Lennon’s pure voice, which could then be mixed with other instruments in a traditional manner, giving them creative flexibility.
McCartney, who performed a two-hour set at the previous year’s Glastonbury festival, captivating the massive crowd with Beatles’ classics, even performed a virtual duet with Lennon on the song “I’ve Got a Feeling” from the Beatles’ final album, “Let It Be.”
The use of AI in music creation has sparked debates within the industry, with some criticizing potential copyright issues while others appreciate the technology’s capabilities. McCartney acknowledged that incorporating AI in the process was both daunting and exciting, emphasizing that it represents the future. He concluded by expressing curiosity about the path it would lead the music industry down.