Paul McCartney Uses AI to Complete Unfinished Beatles Song . June 13, 2023

Sir Paul McCartney has made an exciting announcement that a final Beatles recording, created using artificial intelligence, will be released later this year. The talented musician revealed that he utilized innovative technology to "extract" John Lennon's voice from an old demo and successfully finish a song that had remained incomplete for decades.

“We just finished it up and it’ll be released this year,” he said on Tuesday.

Although the specific song was not mentioned by McCartney, it is highly probable that the recording in question is a composition by Lennon from 1978 titled "Now and Then." This particular demo, along with other songs labeled "For Paul," was created by Lennon shortly before his tragic passing in 1980. Subsequently, Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, presented these cassette tapes to McCartney.

The majority of the demo was captured on a boombox while Lennon sat at a piano in his New York apartment. The lyrics, which open with "I know it's true, it's all because of you / And if I make it through, it's all because of you," exemplify the apologetic love songs that Lennon crafted during the later stages of his career.

The inspiration to employ artificial intelligence for reconstructing the demo emerged from Peter Jackson's extensive eight-hour documentary, "Get Back." In the process of creating the film, dialogue editor Emile de la Rey utilized specially designed AI technology capable of recognizing the voices of the Beatles and separating them from background noise.

This breakthrough process enabled McCartney to "duet" with Lennon during his recent tour, including their performance at last year's Glastonbury festival. Furthermore, it facilitated the creation of new surround-sound mixes for the Beatles' "Revolver" album last year.

“[Jackson] was able to extricate John’s voice from a ropey little bit of cassette,” McCartney said. “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. Then we can mix the record, as you would normally do. So it gives you some sort of leeway.”

"Now and Then" had been under consideration as a potential reunion song for the Beatles back in 1995 when they were working on their comprehensive Anthology series, covering their entire career. The three surviving band members released two songs from Lennon's cassette tapes, namely "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love." These releases marked the first appearance of "new" material from the band in 25 years.

However, their attempt to record "Now and Then" during that time was short-lived. The session was quickly abandoned, with producer Jeff Lynne, responsible for refining the reunion songs, stating that the band was merely "messing with it" during a single afternoon.

“The song had a chorus but is almost totally lacking in verses. We did the backing track, a rough go that we really didn’t finish,” Lynne said.

In a subsequent revelation, McCartney disclosed that the reason the song was abandoned and never released was due to George Harrison's strong disapproval. Harrison had vehemently criticized the song, labeling it as "fucking rubbish," and made it clear that he refused to participate in any further work on it. As a result, the song remained shelved and unheard by the public.

“It didn’t have a very good title, it needed a bit of reworking, but it had a beautiful verse and it had John singing it,” he said to Q Magazine. “[But] George didn’t like it. The Beatles being a democracy, we didn’t do it.”

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