Several months back, we ran several stories about long-dead celebrities being turned into holograms in the wake of the late Tupac Shakur appearing at the Coachella music festival.
This, of course, raised a number of legal and ethical questions as to how an artist’s image can be used and reproduced after they die. For example, Elvis Presley, who passed away on August 16.
Yes, it is difficult to believe that 35 years ago we lost the King, and considering his rabid following, I can’t imagine why he still wouldn’t be packin’ ’em in at Caesar’s Palace, even well into his ’70s. In fact, 35 years after we lost him, he’s still one of the top grossing celebrities in the world.
This would of course would make some greedy manager somewhere drool, because just imagine what a hologram tour would pull in. And even with his greedy parasite manager, the Colonel Tom Parker, long gone, there’s sure to be plenty of other bloodsuckers who would love to exploit the King for a buck if they could get a hologram of the King in his prime back on the road. (Actually, a hologram of the King in his decline could also make a poignant performance considering he became a powerful cautionary tale against the perils of fame).
Although we’ve reported there are plans in the works to hologram the King and potentially take him on the road again, I’m not sure if that’s such a great idea. There’s plenty of cheesy Elvis exploitation out there already, and as much as his fans would probably love to see him back in any form, even this could be really tacky if it’s not done right. (Not that Elvis wasn’t above being tacky, mind you…)
Eventually there may even come a point where this will be done with a lot of performers when they’re too broken down to perform anymore, although something tells me an Axl hologram will still be hours late to a gig, and the Van Halen holograms will all be at each other’s throats backstage. If any of this ever goes forward, Elvis would probably be the first hologram to tour because as one executive behind his digital resurrection told MTV, “You have to start with the king.”
Although I’m sure there’s some nights Elvis would have wished a hologram could have taken his place, I’m sure if he were around today he’d want to be up there in the flesh singing and dancing his ass off himself, because a hologram will never know the pure adrenaline of performing, and an audience getting off on you at your best.
Still, maybe fans will be satisfied with a reasonable facsimile. Although Elvis’s fans are fanatical, I don’t know if they’ll hold a vision of him in his glory up to the same level of scrutiny as say a Star Wars holding every little change Lucas makes up to microscopic scrutiny.