Paul McCartney Approves of Technology Used For New Beatles Song ‘Now and Then’ -
Paul McCartney at AAMI Park Melbourne on Tuesday 5 December 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Paul McCartney at AAMI Park Melbourne on Tuesday 5 December 2017. Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Paul McCartney Approves of Technology Used For New Beatles Song ‘Now and Then’

by Paul Cashmere on August 9, 2023

in News

Paul McCartney has approved of the technology used to create the new Beatles song ‘Now and Then’ and has confirmed to OGlobo Brazil that Artificial Intelligence was not used to create the voices or the instruments.

When The Beatles compiled the 1995 Anthology series of albums, ‘Now and Then’ was one of three new tracks made from John Lennon demos along with ‘Free As A Bird’ and ‘Real Love’.

‘Free As A Bird’ was released on Anthology 1, ‘Free As A Bird’ was released on Anthology 2 and ‘Now and Then’ was planned for ‘Anthology 3’ but the three surviving Beatles at the time, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison (and especially George) were not happy with how it turned out.

The technology at the time was incapable of separating the individual tracks including John’s voice and the demo was deemed unusable.

When Peter Jackson was given the task to clean up the 1969 Get Back sessions tapes, he developed new technology to separate the sounds and with that new 2020 technology, it became possible to isolate John’s voice in the aborted ‘Now and Then’ project and recreate it for 2023 using the same technology used in the ‘Get Back’ documentary.

The John Lennon voice being used on the new ‘Now and Then’ recording is the real john Lennon voice, not an AI interpretation of John’s voice. Paul McCartney differentiates what The Beatles are doing with ‘Now and Then’ to what fans are uploading with AI versions of The Beatles singing The Beach Boys ‘God Only Knows’.

In an interview with o Globo Brazil for the upcoming Brazil tour, Paul McCartney said he had heard the fake version of The Beatles ‘God Only Knows’ but confirms ‘Now And Then’ is not going down that same path. “It’s one thing for you to use artificial intelligence to pretend it’s my voice singing “God Only Knows,” and there’s a lot of that on the internet. Another is using it to technically clean up some recordings, and that’s pretty cool. The technicians were able to isolate the voice, so it felt like we were back to the original recording. It was great, we had John’s voice very clear and beautiful”.

While the AI technology isn’t there yet, Paul says it soon will be and that will open lots of legal issues. He added, “As for the other case… I hear that “God Only Knows” and I know it doesn’t sound like me. But five years from now, he’ll be sounding like me. So I think we have to start deciding who owns these recordings. Whether it’s the Beach Boys or the Beatles or whoever created this thing”.

The complete Paul McCartney interview is here is Spanish. Use Google translate to get it into the language you need.

Paul McCartney 2023 Tour Dates:

10/18 – Adelaide, AU @ Entertainment Centre
10/21 – Melbourne, AU @ Marvel Stadium
10/24 – Newcastle, AU @ McDonald Jones Stadium
10/27 – Sydney, AU @ Allianz Stadium
10/28 – Sydney, AU @ Allianz Stadium
11/01 – Brisbane, AU @ Suncorp Stadium
11/04 – Gold Coast, AU @ Heritage Bank Stadium
11/30 – Brasília, BR @ Mané Garrincha Stadium
12/03 – Belo Horizone, BR @ MRV Arena
12/09 – São Paulo, BR @ Allianz Parque
12/13 – Curitiba, BR @ Estádio Couto Pereira
12/16 – Rio de Janeiro, BR @ Maracanã Stadium

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