Paul McCartney finishes an old song with AI

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Almost 30 years after the surviving members of The Beatles reunited to record their new tracks Free as a Bird and Real Love, Paul McCartney shared a unique surprise on BBC Radio 4 – one more Beatles song is on its way and it was completed with the help of artificial intelligence.

While McCartney didn’t reveal the name of the song, avid fans are certain the tune is Now and Then, a song originally slated with the Beatles Anthology sessions in the 1990s, however it was abandoned when guitarist George Harrison refused to participate.

Now, with the assistance of director Peter Jackson, who used specific techniques during the making of the Beatles’ Get Back Disney+ docuseries, McCartney was able to restore a “ropey little bit of cassette” of John Lennon’s voice.

This development marks an inspiring moment in music and proves that all you need is love – and artificial intelligence.

Continues the ex-Beatle: “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.”

“When we came to make what will be the last Beatles record… We were able to get John’s voice through AI.”

McCartney used the same technology during his most recent tour, which allowed him to “duet” with a recording of Lennon accompanying him.

It’s also not unlike what someone did below, to complete an unauthorized but very convincing-sounding new Beatles song using AI.

Based on a half-finished demo for a song called Watching Rainbows from the band’s Get Back sessions, AI imagined how the band might have finished it off — complete with new Beatle-y words and more of a fleshed-out melody.

The new song used AI much like The Beatles and Jeff Lynne had during the Anthology sessions, restoring John Lennon’s old demos and adding new sounds and voices which gave the effect of newly recorded Beatles music.

This is incredibly astonishing for Beatles fans, both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have commented on the longevity of their fandom.

I asked Starr such a question back in late 2019, when I had just come from visiting the band’s studio in Abbey Road, London, which was then at the top of the charts due to its remixed release.

Starr said to me: “How far out is that? Far out. But it still holds up. I think it’s a fine, fine record.


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