Tech

Deepfake version of young Paul McCartney reveals himself to be… Beck?


The walrus was Paul. The Paul was Beck.


Screenshot by CNET

He’s a Beatle, baby, not a loser this time. In a new video using deepfake technology, what appears to be a younger, so much younger than today version of Paul McCartney is seen dancing through a hotel hallway and other scenes. Eventually, in an unnerving scene, Young McCartney pulls off a mask to reveal himself as singer Beck. Turns out it’s all been a video for Find My Way, a song by the two musicians on the remix album McCartney III Imagined.

Deepfakes are always disturbing, and this one, showing a twenty- or thirtysomething McCartney when the real singer is 79, may be more disturbing than most. The video went live on YouTube on June 22, and in one day, has been viewed more than 2 million times.

“The Paul is dead crew will be going absolutely nuts about this,” said one YouTube commenter, referring of course to the urban legend claiming McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a lookalike. McCartney himself even joked about the rumor by naming a 1993 album Paul Is Live.

Said another YouTube viewer, “That was freaky to watch a young McCartney in a modern context like that.”

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence to make it appear that a person is doing or saying things they didn’t do or say, as with these Tom Cruise deepfakes. They’re often very well done, and could be used to spread false information, though this one in particular was just for entertainment value and McCartney obviously was in on the concept. In fact, McCartney himself shared the video on Instagram, with the caption, “Step back in time and onto the dancefloor.”

In addition to Beck, the album features famous faces remixing songs from the 2020 album McCartney III, the former Beatle’s 18th solo album. Featured performers on the album include Idris Elba, Phoebe Bridgers, Josh Homme and St. Vincent.



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