The Beatles Photo

Group photo of The Beatles, 1963 (Photo: ingen uppgift via Wikimedia Commons, PD-US-not renewed)

Few bands have reached the level of superstardom as The Beatles. Although two of their members have passed, their influence lives on in their music which is still widely listened to today. And while no one expected to hear another Beatles song, AI technology is making the impossible a reality. A new recording will be released in 2023 and it will feature the voices of living members Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, as well as the late John Lennon’s voice.

How is this possible? Well, the surviving Beatles band members used AI to extract Lennon’s voice from demo recordings that he made prior to his death in 1980. These cassettes were donated by Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono. Most of the tracks were made at their New York apartment while Lennon played the piano. Right now, there is no confirmed title for the release, but it is speculated that it will be a song Lennon wrote in 1978 titled “Now and Then.”

McCartney formed the idea for this collaboration after working on the 2021 documentary Get Back with director Peter Jackson—which follows the making of The Beatles’ album Let It Be. In this project, the film crew was able to separate all of The Beatles members’ voices using computers. “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,” McCartney says. “Then we can mix the record, as you would normally do. So it gives you some sort of leeway.”

While McCartney expressed concerns about the usage of artificial intelligence in the music and art industries, he recognizes that it will likely become more commonplace. “All of that is kind of scary,” McCartney said, “but exciting—because it’s the future.”

The Beatles are releasing a new song with the help of AI.

John Lennon Photo

John Lennon for “Billboard,” 1971 (Photo: Peter Fordham via Wikimedia Commons, PD-US-no notice)

Artificial intelligence was able to extract John Lennon’s voice from old recordings so The Beatles could sing together again.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono Photo

Yoko Ono and John Lennon, 1969 (Photo: Joost Evers/Anefo via Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0)

h/t: [NPR, Gizmodo]

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