The Best Albums Released Posthumously

Voting Rules
Studio and live recordings only, or we'd be here all day.

This list of the best albums release posthumously represents some of the greatest musical accomplishments of artists who died way too soon. When you look at the individual albums listed here, it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the sheer brilliance. From Otis Redding to Amy Winehouse, artists who had albums released after they died live on through their music, forever. Some of these albums are among the greatest of all time, too. Vote for your favorite posthumous albums and certainly, add any that are missing. You also have the option of reranking this list in any order you choose.

No list of great albums albums released by dead musicians would be complete without Tupac Shakur. After his untimely death in 1996, a string of incredible 2Pac albums were released, including (arguably) his best: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. It's hard to find anyone who doesn't love this album, which was released under 2Pac's stage name, Makaveli. It is without a doubt one of the best hip hop albums ever recorded. It's just a shame that 2Pac didn't live to see its release.

Some of the greatest artists in music whose deaths were the most untimely had amazing posthumous album's released, in some cases long after their passing. One good example: Nick Drake. Drake died in 1974, never having gained great fame. In the decades since his death, however, his three albums have been adored by critics and fans alike (especially Pink Moon).

Artists who died young but continued to have a slew of posthumous albums released also include Jimi Hendrix (First Rays of the New Rising Sun is incredible), The Notorious B.I.G., Frank Zappa (a ton of live albums) and Amy Winehouse, whose compilation posthumous album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, certainly lives up to its name.

And then, there's Otis Redding. Redding was killed in a plane crash in 1967 (he was just 26 years old), and his sixth studio album, The Dock of the Bay, came out just months later. Anyone who argues that posthumous albums are always a bad thing need only take a listen to Dock of the Bay, The Immortal Otis Redding, or any other albums in Otis Redding's discography to know they're wrong.

Photo: flickr / CC0
Ranked by
  • MTV Unplugged in New York
    461 votes

    MTV Unplugged in New York

    Released on Nov. 1, 1994: Kurt Cobain died on April 5, 1994
  • American V: A Hundred Highways
    276 votes
    Released July 4, 2006: Cash died Sept. 12, 2003
  • Pearl
    338 votes


    Janis Joplin
    Released on January 11, 1971: Joplin died on October 4, 1970
  • The Dock of the Bay
    356 votes

    The Dock of the Bay

    Otis Redding
    Released Feb. 23, 1968: Redding died December 10, 1967
  • Live at the Fillmore East
    261 votes

    Live at the Fillmore East

    Jimi Hendrix
    Released on Feb. 23, 1999: Hendrix died on Sept.18, 1970
  • Until the End of Time
    201 votes
    Released March 27, 2001: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996