Watch CBS News

Paul McCartney says there was "confusion" over Beatles' AI song

In a BBC Radio interview earlier this month, Paul McCartney said the Beatles' final song has been made with the help of artificial intelligence and will be released this year. On social media this week, the singer said there was confusion about the song, though, as it wasn't "artificially or synthetically created."

McCartney, 80, told BBC Radio's Martha Kearney that in the 2021 documentary "The Beatles: Get Back," which is about the making of the band's 1970 album "Let It Be," a sound engineer used AI to extract vocals from background music. "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,'" McCartney said.

"When we came to make what will be the last Beatles record, it was a demo that John [Lennon] had that we worked on. And we've just finished it up, it'll be released this year, " he said. "We were able to take John's voice and get it pure through this AI so that we could mix the record as you would normally do."

In social media posts on Thursday, McCartney further explained that "nothing has been artificially or synthetically created" for the song and "we all play on it," explaining that for years they have "cleaned up existing recordings." 

The band broke up in 1970 and Lennon died in 1980 at age 40 after being shot outside his apartment building in New York City; Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001 at age 58. McCartney and Ringo Starr, 82, are the two remaining members of the band. 

It is possible that the recording they "cleaned up" for the new song will be from a recording Lennon made in 1978 called "Now and Then." Before he died, Lennon recorded a demo tape he labeled "For Paul," which his widow, Yoko Ono, gave to McCartney in 1995, according to BBC News.

McCartney and Jeff Lynne reproduced two of the songs, creating the posthumous tracks "Free As A Bird," released in 1995, and "Real Love," released in 1996, as part of its in-depth anthology retrospective. 

"Now and Then" is another song on the tape that the Beatles considered releasing in 1995. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.