Paul McCartney: “The last Beatles record will be released this year”

The Beatles are using artificial intelligence (AI) to complete what Paul McCartney calls “the last Beatles record”.

Although he did not name the song, it is believed to be ‘Now And Then’, based on a 1979 John Lennon demo and worked on by McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr in 1995.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, McCartney told Martha Kearney that the recording will “be released this year”.

Well it’s a very interesting thing, you know. It’s something we’re all sort of tackling at the moment, you know, and trying to deal with. What’s it mean, you know?

I don’t hear that much [unofficial AI ‘Beatles’ music] because I’m not on the internet that much, but people will say to me: ‘Oh yeah, there’s a track where, you know, John is singing one of my songs.’ And it isn’t, it’s just AI, you know?

So all of that is kind of scary, but exciting because it’s the future. And we were able to use that kind of thing when Peter Jackson did the film Get Back, where it was us making the Let It Be album. And he was able to extricate John’s voice from a ropey little bit of cassette that had John’s voice and a piano. He could separate them with AI.

They tell the machine: ‘That’s a voice, this is a guitar, lose the guitar.’ And he did that. So it has great uses.

So when we came to make what will be the last Beatles record, it was a demo that John had that we worked on and we just finished it up. It’ll be released this year.

We were able to take John’s voice and get it pure through this AI. So then we could mix the record as you would normally do, you know, so it gives you some sort of leeway.

So there’s a good side to it and then a scary side. And we’ll just have to see where that leads.

Paul McCartney

‘Now And Then’ had been considered as a third Beatles reunion single in 1996. After the recording was abandoned it was replaced on Anthology 3 by the orchestral track ‘A Beginning’, recorded in 1968 as an unused introduction for ‘Don’t Pass Me By’.

There was one more that we didn’t do, which was a pity. It didn’t have a very good title, it needed a bit of reworking, but it had a beautiful verse and it had John singing it. But George didn’t wanna do it.
Paul McCartney
Q magazine, November 2006

McCartney revealed the news about the forthcoming Beatles single during an interview to promote his new book 1964: Eyes Of The Storm, which contains 275 photographs taken by McCartney in Liverpool, London, Paris, New York, Washington, DC, and Miami. The images were from a collection of nearly 1,000 which were discovered in 2020.

Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, George Martin, 1995

Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and George Martin, 1995

Last updated: 13 June 2023
Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band live: Cuthbert Amphitheater, Eugene
Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band live: Greek Theatre, Los Angeles
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