Artificial intelligence is being used to digitally bring the band’s voices back together this year.
Through the use of AI technology, the Beatles are going to be releasing a new song for the first time in decades, bringing their voices back together, to a certain extent.
Paul McCartney recently announced that the new Beatles song is slated for release in 2023.
According to Paul McCartney, when speaking to the BBC, there is no set release date, though it will come out before the end of this year. Moreover, the song will feature the voice of John Lennon.
“When we came to make what will be the last Beatles record, it was a demo that John had that we worked on,” said McCartney in a Radio 4 interview with Martha Kearney. “We were able to take John’s voice and get it pure through this AI so that then we could mix the record as you would normally do — it gives you some sort of leeway.”
The demo was given to McCartney by Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono. It was recorded on a cassette tape which Lennon had labelled “For Paul” and was reportedly recorded shortly before he was murdered.
In 2021, when Peter Jackson was working on “The Beatles: Get Back”, a docuseries about the band, the production team was able to use AI technology to separate Lennon’s voice from the background, according to McCartney.
Jackson was “able to extricate John’s voice from a ropey little bit of cassette and a piano,” said the former Beatle in the interview. “He could separate them with AI. He’d tell the machine, ‘That’s a voice, this is a guitar, lose the guitar.’”
That same AI technology made it possible for McCartney to virtually “duet” with Lennon.
John Lennon was murdered in 1980, having been shot in New York City. Though McCartney didn’t know the name Lennon intended to give the demo song on the tape, he thinks it might have been a composition Lennon originally created in 1978, and that he was calling Now and Then.
Though the band had made a previous attempt to record Now and Then, back when it was still together, according to McCartney, the effort was stopped because George Harrison wouldn’t work on it since the sound quality was “f—ing rubbish.”
That said, McCartney feels that with AI technology, the song now has potential. “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 explained in an interview with Q Magazine. “(But) George didn’t like it. The Beatles being a democracy, we didn’t do it.”