(London) More than 50 years later, the four boys in the wind are back: an unreleased Beatles song recorded using artificial intelligence to recreate the voice of John Lennon will be released this year, Paul McCartney has announced.
As the possibilities of AI spark fears and envy in the music industry, the musician from the legendary Liverpool band, who is about to turn 81, revealed the information in an interview broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday. .
“We came to do what will be the last Beatles recording, it was a demo of John that we worked from,” “Macca” explained.
“We just finished and it’s coming out this year,” he added.
“We managed to take John’s voice and purify it using AI to mix the recording,” he continued.
He explained that the idea came after the documentary series directed in 2021 by Peter Jackson.
For Get Back, the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy had “taken John’s voice” from a cassette by separating it from the piano using new technologies.
In April 1970, six months after the release of the album Abbey Road and a month before that of Let it be, the Beatles announced their separation. Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr’s ten years together have produced 14 successful albums, nearly a billion records sold and the shooting of several films.
Despite the deaths of Lennon in 1980 and Harrison in 2001, “Beatlemania” remains fierce across the world and the possibilities offered by AI have already given fans attempts to bring them together, or revisit the latest works of Paul McCartney with his youthful voice.
It was when asked about these developments that McCartney revealed the preparation of this new song which he did not name.
The BBC believes it is “probably” a Lennon composition from 1978, called Now and Then, already considered for compilation in 1995.
It was included in a tape titled For Paul recorded by Lennon shortly before his assassination in New York in 1980. The widow of the musician Yoko Ono then gave it to its recipient.
Paul McCartney had not hidden since wanting to give the piece a new life but had always explained that the project had never succeeded due to the opposition of George Harrison who did not like it.
The appearance of AI in the music industry poses enormous financial and ethical questions. The process is used to recreate works by renowned musicians. Fake works by artists like Eminem, Drake, The Weeknd or Oasis have been created using artificial intelligence.
British singer Sting recently predicted a “battle” by artists to “defend our human capital against AI”.
“You can’t let the machines take over, you have to be careful,” said the 71-year-old former Police singer. “Maybe for electronic music it works. But for the songs, which express emotions, I don’t think I will be moved.”
For his part, Paul McCartney considered the phenomenon “very interesting”: “It’s something that we are all trying to understand at the moment, trying to understand what it means”.
“There’s a good side, and a scary side, we’ll see where it leads,” he added.
The musician, author in particular of “Yesterday”, the most broadcast song of the 20th century, remains hyperactive. He led a rich solo career and became again last year, a few days after having blown out his 80 candles, the oldest headliner of the legendary English festival of Glastonbury.
He was speaking on Tuesday at the opening in late June of an exhibition of 250 never-before-seen photos of the Beatles that “Sir Paul” took during their early days in 1963 and 1964 at the National Portrait Gallery in London.