AI Attempts on Steve Marriott’s Legacy Face Backlash from Rock Legends

AI Attempts on Steve Marriott’s Legacy Face Backlash from Rock Legends | Society Of Rock Videos

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A storm of controversy has enveloped the music community following plans to release new Humble Pie tracks featuring AI-generated vocals. These recordings aim to replicate the voice of the late Steve Marriott, the powerhouse vocalist from the Small Faces and Humble Pie, but have incited fierce opposition from a host of legendary musicians and Marriott’s own family.

AI’s Role in Steve Marriott’s Legacy

The genesis of this contention was revealed by Jerry Shirley, Humble Pie’s bassist, who holds the rights to the band’s name. Shirley disclosed to Variety that he was approached with a new take on the Hoagy Carmichael classic “Georgia On My Mind,” sung by an AI version of Marriott. His response was disheartened, “[It] sounded like someone trying to sound like someone trying to sound like Steve Marriott.” A second attempt didn’t fare much better; Shirley noted that while the vocal might pass for a decent soul singer, “it didn’t sound like Steve. And the backing track was just laughable.”

Adding to the clamor is Mollie Marriott, Steve’s daughter, who has become the vocal leader of a campaign to halt these AI projects. She outlined the emotional and ethical stakes involved, emphasizing that the AI album planned by the Marriott Estate deviates significantly from her father’s artistic integrity. “The Marriott Estate is due to release an AI solo album of old and new songs of my father, Steve,” said Mollie. “Sadly, the surviving family, comprising just my siblings Lesley, Toby, Tonya, and I, have nothing to do with the Estate as there was no will. It is run by my stepmother who was only with my father for two years prior to his death and has since been remarried.”

Her criticism extends beyond personal and family matters to a broader cultural critique. “This is only for money, not art nor appreciation,” she asserts. Mollie sees these developments as antithetical to her father’s legacy – a man celebrated for his vibrant and unfiltered vocal presence. “It would absolutely break his heart if he were alive to know this. It is the start of a campaign I wish to lead against this sort of thing, where deceased artists have no rights and that everything natural in this world is truly dying, including creativity and the arts, as AI comes into play. It’s a sad world to behold.”

Industry Titans Rally Against AI in Music, Amid Estate’s Indifference

Support for Mollie’s stance has poured in from high places within the rock music fraternity. Notables such as Robert Plant, David Gilmour, Paul Weller, Paul Rodgers, and Joe Brown, along with other celebrated musicians like Bryan Adams, Matt Sorum, Glenn Hughes, Gary Kemp, and broadcaster Bob Harris have aligned with her. Robert Plant expressed his discontent, highlighting the incongruence of these technological imitations with the musicians’ original dreams: “This is a far cry from what any of us dreamt of when we set off into this wonderful world of music. We just can’t stand by and watch this unfold.”

While the opposition is significant and vocal, the management of Marriott’s estate, represented by Chris France, appears unmoved by the familial and public dissent. According to France, there are no fixed agreements currently, but the door remains open to potential deals with interested parties: “There are no confirmed plans to use Steve Marriott’s voice on AI recordings,” he elucidated. “[But] that does not mean a deal will not be done with one of several suitors who have made offers. I am afraid that [Mollie Marriott’s] opinions are of no consequence to me or his estate.”

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