Paul McCartney Thinks John Lennon Would Have Loved Using Auto-Tune
John Lennon died 17 years before Auto-Tune was invented in 1997, but if you're curious what the late Beatles frontman and "Imagine" singer would have thought of using the technology in his music, apparently he'd be extreme it was on it.
We know this thanks to producer Mark Ronson's documentary series “Watch the Sound” for Apple TV +, in which he interviewed Lennon's son Sean Ono Lennon and ran some of John's vocals through auto-tune and a digital harmonizer to create an entirely new, yet unprecedented still known sound.
John Lennon's composing partner, Paul McCartney, told Ronson on the first episode of “Watch the Sound” that he thought John really wanted to play around with auto-tune. "I would say if John Lennon had the opportunity he would have been everywhere," said McCartney. "Not so much to fix your voice as just to play with it."
McCartney pointed out that in music production, the Beatles are often open to unorthodox ideas and are known to be musically ahead of their time. Lennon, too, has always been interested in the idea of creating a unique sound by layering different samples on top of each other to create an immersive, sometimes overwhelming soundscape. McCartney discusses this in episode two of “Watch the Sound,” noting that in “Tomorrow Never Knows,” from the band's 1966 “Revolver” album, they used avant-garde looping techniques to incorporate seagull and everyday sounds into the song.
"Yes, Auto-Tune, I would use it," McCartney said of his more recent solo work. "If I've done a chant that I don't think is that good ... 'Oh come on, let's hold on," why not, "he said.
Sean Ono Lennon. Watch the sound with Mark Ronson's Apple TV +
Unforgettable, Lennon was shot dead by the murderer Mark David Chapman outside his New York City apartment in December 1980. Auto-Tune was created in 1997 and its first use in a mainstream song was in 1998 Cher's hit "Believe" from the album of the same name.
The creator of the technology, Dr. Andy Hildebrand, after years of working on underground sonar technology, realized that he could use the same mapping technology to map the human throat and correct the pitch digitally. It started with Cher and billions of hits later we're here today.
Even Lennon's son, Sean, agreed that if he'd used it, Lennon would probably have loved the invention. "It's definitely true that my father didn't like his voice alone, like a single voice," Sean told Ronson. “Part of it is why he found all of these phase effects because he was always trying to make his voice sound better to him.
Ronson auto-tuned the vocals on John Lennon's 1970 track "Hold On" (which he recorded with the Plastic Ono Band) and, frankly, it sounded pretty weird. After trying out the robot Lennon's voice, Ronson used digital harmonization software and layered more of Lennon's original vocals into the song, and even Sean admitted that it sounded "pretty cool man ... you're bringing it to 2021".
"Not only did he keep up with technology, but the Beatles and my father were always up to date," added Sean. "I think he would have tried auto-tune."
Watch Episode 1 of “Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson” on Friday, July 30th on Apple TV +.
Read the Original Story Paul McCartney Thinks John Lennon Loved Using Auto-Tune on TheWrap
In this article:
English singer and songwriter, founding member of the Beatles (1940-1980)
American composer and musician, son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono
English singer-songwriter, bassist for the Beatles
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