Greatest Albums The Best Albums Released Posthumously  

Ranker Music
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List Rules Studio 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.

list ordered by

1
202 78
MTV Unplugged in New York is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
MTV Unplugged in New York Nirvana - Released on Nov. 1, 1994: Kurt Cobain died on April 5, 1994

2
135 65
The Dock of the Bay is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
The Dock of the Bay Otis Redding - Released Feb. 23, 1968: Redding died December 10, 1967

3
130 63
Pearl is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Janis Joplin - Released on January 11, 1971: Joplin died on October 4, 1970

4
103 39
American V: A Hundred Highways is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Johnny Cash - Released July 4, 2006: Cash died Sept. 12, 2003

5
105 53
Closer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Joy Division - Released July 18, 1980: Ian Curtis died May 18, 1980

6
99 52
Live at the Fillmore East is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Live at the Fillmore East Jimi Hendrix - Released on Feb. 23, 1999: Hendrix died on Sept.18, 1970

7
59 28
Double Fantasy is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
John Lennon, Yoko Ono

8
60 40
The Sky Is Crying is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Arthur Williams added Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughan - Released November 5, 1991: Vaughan died Aug. 27, 1990

9
66 45
Live at Woodstock is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
mwtv added Live at Woodstock Jimi Hendrix - Released July 6, 1999: Hendrix died Sept.18, 1970

10
116 84
Sublime: 10th Anniversary Delu... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Sublime - Released on July 30, 1996: Bradley Nowell died on May 25, 1996

11
109 75
Life After Death is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
The Notorious B.I.G. - Released March 25, 1997: Biggie died March 9, 1997

12
119 85
The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Tupac Shakur - Nov. 5, 1996: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996

13
62 54
Coda is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
gamedemon24 added Led Zeppelin - Released Nov. 19, 1982: John Bonham died Sept. 25, 1980

14
64 55
First Rays of the New Rising S... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Jimi Hendrix - Released April 22, 1997: Hendrix died Sept. 18, 1970

15
51 33
Mystery Girl is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Roy Orbison - Released Feb. 7, 1989: Orbison died Dec. 6, 1988

16
49 45
Grievous Angel is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Gram Parsons - Released January 1974: Parsons died Sept. 19, 1973

17
62 54
From a Basement on the Hill is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Elliott Smith - Released Oct. 18, 2004: Smith died Oct. 21, 2003

18
51 45
The Immortal Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Otis Redding - Released June 1968: Redding died Dec. 10, 1967

19
43 48
Confrontation is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Released May 23, 1983: Marley died May 11, 1981

20
33 41
Shake is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Sam Cooke - Released Jan. 1965: Cooke died Dec. 11, 1964

21
34 38
Vulnerable is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Marvin Gaye - Released April 22, 1997: Gaye died April 1, 1984

22
42 48
Genius Loves Company is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Ray Charles - Released Aug. 31, 2004: Charles died June 10, 2004

23
44 47
Milk and Honey is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
John Lennon, Yoko Ono - Released Jan. 27, 1984: Lennon died Dec. 8, 1980

24
31 23
My Mother's Hymn Book is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Johnny Cash - Released Nov. 25, 2003: Cash died Sept. 12, 2003

25
41 50
Lioness: Hidden Treasures is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Lioness: Hidden Treasures Amy Winehouse - Released Dec. 2, 2011: Winehouse died July 23, 2011