- 13 Jun 23
The song will feature a new voice track from the late John Lennon, using advanced AI to add Lennon in the song.
Over forty years since the death of John Lennon, Paul McCartney has said that the final-ever Beatles song featuring contribution from all four original members is on its way, thanks to the help of modern technology.
“We just finished it up and it’ll be released this year,” he said, of the untitled song. Although McCartney did not disclose the title of the recorded song during the interview, it has been speculated by many to be an unfinished 1978 Lennon composition called “Now and Then”, an apologetic love song that was fairly typical that hit all the beats of a solo-era John Lennon track.
"When we came to make what will be the last Beatles record... We were able to get John's voice through AI."
Ahead of his exhibition at @NPGLondon of Beatles photos, Sir Paul McCartney spoke to @Marthakearney and revealed that a new record will be released this year.#R4Today
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) June 13, 2023
The single was reportedly in the running to serve as a “reunion song” for the 1995 Anthology series, which also included two new songs based on demos recorded by Lennon after the group split. Cleaned up by producer and ELO star Jeff Lynne, two of those songs - 'Free As A Bird' and 'Real Love' - were completed and released in 1995 and 96, marking the Beatles' first "new" material in 25 years.
McCartney reportedly received the demo for the new track from Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, in 1994. The song was one of several on a cassette labelled “For Paul” that Lennon had reportedly put together shortly before his murder in 1980, on a piano in his New York apartment.
The living members of the band at the time - Paul, Ringo Starr and the late George Harrison - attempted to record “Now and Then” around the time of the Anthology release, but abandoned the sessions in short order. Jeff Lynne recalled the song had a chorus, but was "almost totally lacking in verses".
McCartney blamed the reason for not completing the track on George Harrison, saying he refused to work on “Now and Then” due to the sound quality on Lennon’s vocals being reportedly “rubbish".
"George didn’t like it. The Beatles being a democracy, we didn’t do it,” said the Beatles frontman in the BBC interview.
Artificial intelligence technology has granted McCartney an unprecedented opportunity to breathe new life into "Now And Then." By harnessing the power of AI, McCartney and his collaborators overcame the hurdles that had previously impeded the realization of the composition.
The result is expected to be an amalgamation of the creative genius of Lennon and McCartney, with the backing of cutting-edge AI technology. The announcement has meant that questions have arisen over the ethical usage of deceased artists' works.
The impending release of this final Beatles record has sparked excitement and curiosity among some music enthusiasts worldwide, while others remain skeptical, unsure how AI fits into the songwriting and producing process.
Despite the widespread mixed opinions on the unveiling of this unexpected Beatles project, the song is the culmination of years of work and is sure to hit the headlines when it is released in 2024.