Paul McCartney: AI has enabled a “final” Beatles song

Enlarge / A portrait of The Beatles in 1966, as imagined by AI image synthesis. (credit: Stable Diffusion)

On Tuesday, BBC Radio 4’s Today program aired an interview with Paul McCartney in which he announced that thanks to AI technology, a “final Beatles record” has been finished and will be released later this year. He said that AI techniques have isolated John Lennon’s vocals from an old cassette tape demo, enabling him to complete the song.

Though McCartney did not provide the song’s title, speculation points towards it being “Now And Then,” a 1978 Lennon composition, which McCartney has mentioned wanting to finish in the past. In 1995, the three living Beatles considered including the song in their Anthology series (similar to “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love“) but abandoned it due to quality issues and George Harrison’s refusal to work on it. Harrison died in 2001.

The BBC notes that the original demo for “Now and Then” was among several songs on a cassette that Lennon had made for McCartney shortly before his death in 1980. The cassette, labeled “For Paul,” was given to McCartney by Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono. The songs, recorded in Lennon’s New York apartment, were in a primitive state and featured a lot of noise.

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