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Sir Paul McCartney cleared up some confusion on Thursday about whether The Beatles will use artificial intelligence on John Lennon’s post-humous voice for the iconic band’s “final record” scheduled for release later this year.
Last week, McCartney announced the band was preparing for a comeback, despite the fact that just he and the band’s drummer Ringo Starr are the only two members who remain living. Lennon was murdered at the age of 40 in December 1980, and George Harrison died of cancer at the age of 58 in 2001.
But McCartney revealed he would use artificial intelligence to “extricate” Lennon’s voice from an old demo to create the group’s purported final record, believed to be “Now And Then.”
“Been great to see such an exciting response to our forthcoming Beatles project,” McCartney tweeted. “No one is more excited than us to be sharing something with you later in the year. We’ve seen some confusion and speculation about it. Seems to be a lot of guess work out there. Can’t say too much at this stage but to be clear, nothing has been artificially or synthetically created. It’s all real and we all play on it. We cleaned up some existing recordings — a process which has gone on for years.”
“We hope you love it as much as we do. More news in due course — Paul,” he added.
Speaking to Radio 4’s Today program, McCartney explained that producer Jeff Lynne, who had released songs recorded by Lennon in the mid-90s, including “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love,” had also tried to clean up “Now And Then” but had a hard time cleaning up the song, but AI allowed McCartney to revive Lennon’s voice.
McCartney explained that director Peter Jackson, who used AI to clean up the audio for the “Get Back” documentary, was able to “extricate” John’s voice from a ropey little bit of cassette.
“We had John’s voice and a piano, and he could separate them with AI,” he said. “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; we were able to take John’s voice and get it pure through this AI,” he continued. “Then we can mix the record, as you would normally do. So it gives you some sort of leeway.”
McCartney appeared on the radio show to promote his new book “1964: Eyes of the Storm, Photographs and Reflections by Paul McCartney.”
It remains unclear when the “final record” from The Beatles will be released.
Hank Berrien contributed to this report.