Some of the most impactful musicians in history are those who spent the least time with us. Their legacies live on in the groundbreaking music that they made. Despite not reaching old age, it’s now possible to see what lost-too-soon icons would have looked like in their autumn years, thanks to facial imaging technology. These images were created by Sachs Media Group with photo restoration and manipulation company Phojoe.
John Lennon then
The Beatles are one of the most influential bands ever to pick up instruments, and as one of their main songwriters, John Lennon has had an incalculable influence on the development of music.
Known for his increasingly avant-garde and conceptual lyrics, Lennon is credited as one of the artists who helped to expand notions of the forms pop music could take, and the subjects that it could tackle. His passing in 1980 was considered a great loss for music, but his existing work nonetheless continues to influence artists to this day.
John Lennon now
Lennon was known for often wearing a peaceful, inscrutable expression, a reflection of the calm and thoughtful disposition that he actively cultivated for himself over the years. This expression remains on the generated image of Lennon, who would be 79 years old today.
Although his hair has thinned somewhat, its color has persistently remained, and despite the presence of a few wrinkles, his face retains a lively and engaging quality. The image does, however, show him without his trademark glasses, which might prove contentious for some fans.
Jimi Hendrix then
Perhaps the single most impactful guitarist in history, Jimi Hendrix fit more into 4 years than twenty people do in a lifetime. Releasing his first single, ‘Hey Joe’, with The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1966, he proceeded to revolutionize guitar music and rock music as a whole, before his passing in 1970.
Lauded for his immense and varied skill with the guitar, his pioneering of new playing styles, and his countercultural stances, Hendrix left an imprint on the public consciousness that is unlikely to ever fade.
Jimi Hendrix now
The imaging software has been pretty generous with Hendrix, and despite an age of 76, he looks as ready as ever to pick up an ax and start shredding. His hairline has receded slightly, but he’s still got a fair amount of fur for a man pushing 80.
In addition, his face is still full of the youthful spirit that made him so electrifying in the first place. He looks ready to break into a smile at any moment, powered by the sheer zest for life that infused his iconic performances.
Janis Joplin then
Known for her distinctive vocals and captivating performing style, Janis Joplin has been an influence on artists of all genders, for decades after her passing, and changed singing as an art form forever.
Anyone reaching for the more painful, personal parts of their voice owes a debt to Janis, who was brave enough to stand up all those years ago and start wailing her heart out for an audience. A truly unique individual, another person just like Joplin hasn’t been seen since her passing, and likely won’t be seen again.
Janis Joplin now
27 years old at the time of her passing, Janis Joplin would be 76 years old this year. The digitally rendered Janis, despite having had an additional 5 decades to live through, hasn’t seen her spirit dim at all.
Despite some extra lines, Joplin’s face is still brimming with life, and the dynamic personality that jumped out on stage can still be seen behind her eyes and in her smile. A few extra years has greyed some of her hair, but the ombré fits pretty well with her individualistic style.
Kurt Cobain then
One of the more recent names on this list, Kurt Cobain, changed the musical landscape of the 90s, and shifted the direction of music forever. Known for his personal, thoughtful songs, cutting edge musical style, and soulful voice, Cobain became the icon of a generation, whose words still resonate today.
Numerous bands grew from the ground Nirvana paved, as they revolutionized rock, grunge, indie music, and the way that many young people felt and communicated. Cobain’s work gave a voice to many who felt unable to express themselves, and his impact as such is impossible to calculate.
Kurt Cobain now
Having passed in 1994, at the age of 27, Cobain would be 52 today, a relatively spritely age for this list. As such, the imaging software has put him in classic ‘middle-aged rocker’ territory. Although still dressed in his trademark flannel, Cobain’s once luscious locks have been considerably clipped, stripping him somewhat of the irreverent vibe that used to surround him.
Nonetheless, his eyes have lost none of their intelligence or their honesty, and despite a few lines around the face, he looks like a man with plenty of life still in him.
Dennis Wilson then
Dennis Wilson was a founding member of the highly successful boy band, the Beach Boys. The Beach Boys are most well-known today for their hit single, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice, featured in “50 First Dates” starring Drew Barrymore.
The three members of the group were all brothers, making them 1960’s version of the Jonas Brothers. Out of the three, Dennis truly embodied his “beach boy” role when he became extremely invested in his surfing hobby. Dennis was the drummer of the group, although he still offered his vocals on certain tunes.
Dennis Wilson now
The brothers unfortunately ended up going their separate ways, mostly due to Dennis’s development of substance abuse issues. Dennis, however went on to produce his own solo album.
Sadly, however, the issues overtook Dennis’s way of life, and although he tried to get better with therapy, Dennis ended up drowning at Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles, California. In his CGI image, Dennis still has his luscious locks of hair. Hopefully if he were alive today, he would be free of his issues and still giving the world his classic California tunes.
Bob Marley then
Despite the creeping commercialization of his image over the years, Bob Marley was a musical pioneer and political firebrand. His music blended reggae with several other genres, creating a wholly original musical style, which was especially potent when combined with his highly individual style of songwriting.
His distinctive singing voice and political declarations touched hearts around the world, and he became an artistic, spiritual, and political leader for millions of people. Marley’s influence stretched far beyond reggae, and his work will undoubtedly be relevant for years to come.
Bob Marley now
Marley passed away in 1981 at the age of 36, and as such he would be 74 years old were he around today. Several extra decades have done nothing to dim the power of Marley’s gaze, as his peerless wisdom and intellect still radiate from his gaze.
Despite being 74 years old, Marley has also managed to retain all of his hair, rocking a mane as luxuriant and impressive as he did during his youth.
Keith Moon then
As the drummer for The Who, Keith Moon is part of several different musical legacies. As a band, The Who are credited with having carved up the rock music scene at the time, changing the way that people approached melodies, sound, and live performances.
As a drummer, Keith Moon is seen as one of the most iconic of all time, having influenced legions of drummers that came after him. Known for an unconventional playing technique and truly individual style, he is considered one of the greatest performers to have ever picked up a pair of drumsticks.
Keith Moon now
Moon was known for a particularly intense lifestyle which some might think would have aged him poorly, but he seems to have come out of things quite well. Having passed away in 1978 at the age of 32, Moon would be 73 years old today, and looks quite good for it.
He has a somewhat serious expression, but his face still has a lot of life in it. Moon has managed to avoid too many wrinkles, and too much greying or hair loss, giving him the appearance of a man several years younger.
Bobby Darin then
A crooner with talent across genres and instruments, Bobby Darin was an electric personality who couldn’t be pinned down to just one area. With a voice as smooth as silk, Darin was able to win hearts with songs that have since become iconic standards covered time and again by other artists.
Darin was truly versatile, having also starred in films alongside his singing career, and hosted his own variety show, flexing his acting and comedic chops for primetime audiences.
Bobby Darin now
Darin passed away at the age of 37 in 1973, leaving decades of potential success ahead of him. In keeping with the tradition of so many crooners before him, Darin would almost certainly be performing today, even at the age of 82.
He certainly looks the part, having retained the character and charm that made him so appealing to audiences. In addition, despite some wrinkles on the face and a little greying of the hair, he’s able to pull off the suit and slicked-back hair common to so many crooners, without any trouble at all.
Jim Morrison then
As the frontman for The Doors, Jim Morrison became a cultural icon in a way few ever manage. His philosophical, poetic songwriting, alongside his unique voice and enrapturing live performances, captured the imagination of his audience and simply did not let go.
An elusive and dynamic singer with a thoughtful and rebellious nature, Morrison became one of the key icons of 60s counterculture, acting as a focal point for the feelings and expression of many young people at the time.
Jim Morrison now
Morrison passed away in 1971 at the age of 27, and he would be 76 were he still alive in 2019. The years have shaved a lot of the thoughtful youth from his face, but his intelligence and vibrant spirit are still clearly present.
Despite a few wrinkles, Morrison’s smile still radiates the passion for life and love for others that was so present in his work. His iconically luxuriant hair has been clipped back a fair amount, but despite the grey it’s still a very healthy head of hair, which would no doubt make his fans very happy.
Cass Elliot then
Cass Elliot had a lot of different names throughout the years. She was born in 1941 and legally named Ellen Naomi Cohen. Nonetheless, the world would come to know her as Mama Cass, one of the singers from the hit band The Mamas & the Papas.
Mama Cass always had a big smile on her face, and could make a room full of people laugh. Her big and powerful voice was a huge reason as to why the band earned as much fame as it ultimately did.
Cass Elliot now
In April of 1974, Mama Cass collapsed before she was supposed to appear for an on-screen interview. She was brought the hospital, but ultimately no one thought anything of it, and she continued performing.
Three months later, however, after a wildly successful concert, Mama Cass went back to her hotel room, fell asleep, and never woke up. After being posthumously examined, the coroner revealed that Mama Cass had died from heart failure. In 1998, this optimistic vocal legend was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Buddy Holly then
Buddy Holly was born in Texas during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Times were hard for Buddy and his family, but they made the best out of the situation. In fact, most of the members of Buddy’s immediate family were musicians of some type, finding it lifted them up spiritually.
Buddy in particular was inspired by the rhythm and blues he would hear around the city, and after deciding to pursue music as a full-time career, he found himself opening up the stage from Elvis Presley in 1955.
Buddy Holly now
Buddy started touring, and fans everywhere would go wild when they heard Buddy Holly was coming to perform. During one winter tour, the weather was particularly bad. Buddy, and several other popular artists of the time, including Ritchie Valens who was 17 years old, needed to fly from Iowa to Minnesota.
Tragically, the plane crashed killing all four who were aboard. According to Don McLean, that sad day was the “day the music died.” Even in his death, however, Buddy has been awarded several honors for his groundbreaking work in the music industry.
Karen Carpenter then
Karen Carpenter had one of the most distinctive voices in popular music, captivating audiences with her personal, nuanced vocal performances. She was also a highly accomplished drummer, who began as the drummer for The Carpenters, the band she was in with her brother, Richard.
Drumming was Karen’s first love, but as the magic of her voice became The Carpenters’ big draw, she stepped out from behind the drums more and more. Although not blessed with powerful vocals, Carpenter was a highly skilled and unique singer, changing the landscape of female vocals forever.
Karen Carpenter now
Karen Carpenter would be 69 years old today, having passed in 1983, at the age of 32. One of the things Carpenter was most known for was her dazzling smile, which remains as strong as ever in the generated image.
There are some wrinkles on Karen’s face, but the vivacity and spirit that made her such a potent singer are as present as ever. Had Karen made it beyond the age of 32, she would undoubtedly have continued to reshape what was thought possible for vocalists, adjusting the nuances of her voice as it changed with age.
The Notorious B.I.G. then
One half of the Biggie/Tupac feud, the Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls, was one of the most famous names in rap during his life, and influenced an incalculable number of rappers who came after him.
Smalls was chiefly known for his unparalleled musical delivery, able to utilize any number of vocal styles and bring them together in one cohesive, entracing flow. Nowadays, Biggie is considered to be one of the greatest rappers in history, having entirely upended what people thought could be done with a microphone and a couple of rhymes.
The Notorious B.I.G. now
Despite being known for his somewhat stern, imposing visage during his life, old age seems to have mellowed Biggie somewhat. Smalls passed away in 1997 at just 24 years old, and would be 47 today.
The lines that have set into Biggie’s face only serve to enhance his character, giving him an appearance of extreme wisdom and geniality. This would no doubt be the case had he lived to this day, as 23 extra years would have seen him bear witness to several different eras of rap, and become a legend most could only dream of being.
Tupac Shakur then
Another more recent entry on this list, Tupac Shakur passed away in September of 1996, at the age of 25. Shakur is credited with having popularized the more thoughtful dimensions of hip-hop, releasing albums that concerned themselves with topics such as social injustice, economic inequality, and self-perception.
Melding philosophical musings with a poetic style, Tupac altered the course of hip-hop forever, vastly expanding the scope of issues that could be tackled in rap music, and inspiring different stylistic approaches.
Tupac Shakur now
Had he made it to 2019, Tupac would have been 48 years old, and the imaging software seems to have been a little hard on him. Shakur is sporting some very deep lines on his face, which, coupled with the extreme greying of his hair, give him the image of an affable grandfather rather than a middle-aged man.
Nonetheless, the intelligence and charisma that made him such a superstar are still front-and-center, as he flashes a disarming smile at the camera.
Elvis Presley is one of the biggest names in music history. Starting his career at the tender age of 21, he immediately became a smash hit, being launched to worldwide fame, and drawing crowds of screaming women wherever he went.
Elvis would go on to release numerous best-selling albums, star in films, and become the best-selling solo artist in history.
Elvis passed at the age of 42, and would be 84 years old had he made it to 2019. The King was known for pursuing a lifestyle that was certainly taxing, but apparently age would have been pretty kind to him.
The hair that made him so famous has certainly greyed, but it hasn’t diminished one bit. In addition, the smile that set hearts aflutter around the world is as bright as ever, set off by the ever-present twinkle in his eye.