A long and winding road indeed!
More than 50 years after their breakup, The Beatles have released their final song — and used AI to bring John Lennon's voice back to life.
In an announcement published on their official website, The Beatles — or their two remaining members — suggested that the band's final song "Now and Then" is a followup to Paul McCartney's admission earlier this year that Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, had provided him with demos from his former bandmate that included the new and final track.
Over the summer, McCartney teased in a BBC interview that the new AI-remastered track was gleaned from a tape labeled "For Paul" that Ono had given him in the 1990s.
Recorded before Lennon's murder in 1980, the tape contained unreleased material that ended up on the first part of the Beatles' "Anthology" series, including the tracks "Real Love" and "Free as a Bird." When it came to "Now and Then," however, the late George Harrison was not on board.
"George didn't like it," McCartney told Q Magazine back in 1997, per the BBC. "The Beatles being a democracy, we didn't do it."
More than 20 years later, the knighted Beatle admitted to the New Yorker that Harrison had called the song "fucking rubbish."
As the BBC points out, McCartney has repeatedly expressed over the years that he wanted to finish the track — which apparently had a persistent buzzing sound that may have been due to the wiring in Lennon's old Manhattan apartment complex, The Dakota — to his liking.
With new AI tech that was able to extricate Lennon's voice from a "ropey little bit of cassette" and get it "pure," as McCartney told the BBC, it seems like he finally has.
All the same, the Beatle said some AI applications give him pause.
"People will say to me, 'Oh, yeah, there's a track where John's singing one of my songs,' and it's just AI, you know?" he told the British public broadcaster over the summer. "It's kind of scary but exciting, because it's the future. We'll just have to see where that leads."
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