Paul McCartney has used AI to create the "final" ever Beatles song

The Beatles
(Image credit: Bettmann / Contributor)

While many artists have openly shown their disdain towards the role of artificial intelligence in the music industry, with Nick Cave and Sting both recently airing their disgust over the quickly-advancing technology, Paul McCartney has revealed that he recently used AI to create the "final" Beatles song.

In conversation with BBC Radio 4's Today, the former Beatle explains how he sourced the technology to "extricate" John Lennon's voice from an old demo so that he could use it to complete an already-written piece of music.

Of the track, which is has not yet been officially revealed, but is rumoured to be the unheard 1978 John Lennon song Now And Then, McCartney says: "We just finished it up and it'll be released this year."

For the project, McCartney recruited the help of famed director Peter Jackson, who used AI to clean up audio for the acclaimed 2021 Beatles documentary series Get Back.

"He [Jackson] was able to extricate John's voice from a ropey little bit of cassette,' he tells host Martha Kearney.

"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.'

Speaking of his views on the divisive technology, he adds: "I'm not on the internet that much [but] people will say to me, 'Oh, yeah, there's a track where John's singing one of my songs', and it's just AI, you know?

"It's kind of scary but exciting, because it's the future. We'll just have to see where that leads."

According to the BBC, the track was dubbed a possible "reunion song" for the Beatles in 1995, during the compilation of their career-spanning Anthology series, with McCartney receiving the demo a year earlier from Yoko Ono.

The demo was lifted from a cassette which was labelled "For Paul", recorded by Lennon in his New York apartment shortly before his death in 1980.

Other tracks on the tape - Free As A Bird and Real Love - were previously completed by producer Jeff Lynne, and released in 1995 and 1996. However, Now And Then never managed to see the light of day, with George Harrison declaring his clean-up attempt  "rubbish" and refusing to work on it.

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.