Paul McCartney On Upcoming AI-Assisted Beatles Record: “It’s All Real And We All Play On It”

Paul McCartney wants to clear up confusion about that upcoming Beatles record: Nothing, including the vocals of the late John Lennon, has been artificially created.

“We’ve seen some confusion and speculation about it,” McCartney said in a tweet today. “Seems to be a lot of guess work out there.”

Last week, McCartney generated lots of buzz and anticipation when he announced in a BBC interview that he is using artificial intelligence technology to “extricate” the vocals of former bandmate Lennon from an old demo to create a “final Beatles record.” While McCartney explained to the BBC that the technology was merely being used to lift Lennon’s vocals from the late-’70s lo-fi demo, many internet speculators expressed (ill-founded) outrage over the notion that McCartney was using AI to create a Lennon-soundalike.

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“We’ve seen some confusion and speculation about it,” McCartney said in today’s tweet. “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.”

Although the song was not identified by McCartney, it’s widely expected to be the 1978 Lennon song “Now and Then,” one of four demos provided by Yoko Ono for possible use on the 1995 Beatles Anthology project. Recorded by a piano-playing Lennon in his Dakota apartment on a cassette boombox, two of the songs – “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” – were deemed usable for the project, with the three then-surviving Beatles adding instrumentation and harmony vocals.

McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, who died in 2001, also provided backing for a third song, titled “Now and Then,” but the sound quality on the Lennon demo was deemed “rubbish” by Harrison and the song was shelved. (The surviving Beatles did not record backing for the fourth song, “Grow Old With Me.”)

In the BBC interview, McCartney said that the new AI technology that was not available in 1995 now allows him to “extricate” Lennon’s voice from the dodgy cassette recordings.

On Twitter today, McCartney said more news will be forthcoming, and that “something,” apparently the song, will be shared “later in the year.”

“We hope you love it as much as we do,” he wrote.

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