Nearly two months after AI created a viral hit song featuring (fake) Drake and The Weeknd that shook the music industry, The Beatles are getting ready to possibly do the same by using this advanced technology to release their “final song” with deceased member John Lennon.
Beatles member Paul McCartney told the BBC on Tuesday that he had used AI to “extricate” Lennon’s voice from an old demo to complete the song, which is expected to be “Now And Then,” a song written by Lennon in 1978. According to the BBC, the song was one of many on a cassette Lennon made titled “For Paul” that he recorded on a boombox in his New York City apartment. Lennon was killed in 1980.
McCartney said the song will be released this year, although he did not specify what song it was.
The band got the idea to make the final Beatles song after working with director Peter Jackson on the 2021 Get Back documentary, which tells the making-of story of the Beatles’ album Let It Be. As explained by McCartney, Jackson’s team trained computers to separate the members’ voices from background noises and their own instruments to get “clean” audio.
When it came to Lennon, McCartney said that Jackson was able to “extricate John’s voice from a ropey little bit of cassette.” That was the key.
“We had John’s voice and a piano and he could separate them with AI. 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,” McCartney told the BBC. “Then we can mix the record, as you would normally do. So it gives you some sort of leeway.”
As amazed as he is with AI, McCartney said he’s still concerned about how it can be used, pointing out that some people use the technology to recreate Lennon’s voice singing their songs. That’s just AI, McCartney said. This final song, on the other hand, is really Lennon.
“It’s kind of scary but exciting, because it’s the future. We’ll just have to see where that leads,” he said.
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