Paul McCartney Says A.I. Will Replicate John Lennon’s Voice On A “Final” Beatles Album
by Trisha Leigh
There’s a lot of controversy about AI out there these days.
I imagine one of the most beloved bands of all time coming out with a “new” album that contains an artificial voice is only going to turn up the volume.
Paul McCartney, one of the Beatles’ original members, talked about the decision with BBC Radio 4’s Best of Today. He said the song will include vocals from the late John Lennon, who was killed in 1980.
It’s possible, he says, because of AI.
“It was a demo that John had that we worked on. We were able to take John’s voice and get it pure through this AI. Then we could mix the record, as you would normally do. So it gives you some sort of leeway.”
This isn’t the first time someone has brought Lennon back to life using his voice. During a 2021 documentary about the band, director Peter Jackson employed the same technique while covering 1970’s Let It Be.
“We were able to use that kind of thing when Peter Jackson did. He could separate them with AI. He could tell the machine, ‘This is a voice, this is a guitar, lose the guitar.’ And he did that. So it has great uses.”
There is no further information about the release, but it’s thought that the song will be a Lennon-penned track called “Now and Then.”
The band tried to record the song back in 1995, but let it go after George Harrison complained about the quality of the sound, McCartney told Q Magazine.
“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. But George didn’t like it. The Beatles being a democracy, we didn’t do it.”
“Now and Then” is the last Beatles song still waiting to be released, and McCartney wants to get it out into the world with the help of AI, despite the controversy.
“There’s a good side to it and a scary side. It’s something we’re all sort of tackling at the moment and trying to deal with. ‘What’s it mean?’ I don’t hear that much because I’m not on the internet that much, but people will say to me, ‘Oh, there’s a track where you know John Lennon is singing one of my songs.’ And it isn’t – it’s just AI.”
Ringo Starr, the only other living bandmate of McCartney’s, is supportive of the move, according to an interview he did on the Today show.
He says he’d play with the Beatles, who he called “the best band,” “any day.”