Music

The Best Albums Released Posthumously 

Ranker Music
Originally by
Updated March 19, 2019 9.1k votes 857 voters 15.7k views 60 items

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
MTV Unplugged in New Yor... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
MTV Unplugged in New York
Released on Nov. 1, 1994: Kurt Cobain died on April 5, 1994
2
The Dock of the Bay is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
The Dock of the Bay
Released Feb. 23, 1968: Redding died December 10, 1967
3
Pearl is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Pearl By Janis Joplin (1971); Tracks: Me and Bobby McGee, Move Over & Half Moon
Released on January 11, 1971: Joplin died on October 4, 1970
4
American V: A Hundred Hi... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Johnny Cash (2006); Tracks: God's Gonna Cut You Down, I'm Free From the Chain Gang Now & A Legend in My Time
Released July 4, 2006: Cash died Sept. 12, 2003
5
Live at the Fillmore Eas... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Live at the Fillmore East
Released on Feb. 23, 1999: Hendrix died on Sept.18, 1970
6
Sublime: 10th Anniversar... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Sublime (1996); Tracks: April 29, 1992 (Miami) & Burritos
Released on July 30, 1996: Bradley Nowell died on May 25, 1996
7
Closer is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Joy Division (1980); Tracks: A Means to an End, Heart and Soul & The Eternal
Released July 18, 1980: Ian Curtis died May 18, 1980
8
Until the End of Time is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Tupac Shakur (2001); Tracks: World Wide Mob Figgaz, Until the End of Time (RP remix) & U Don't Have 2 Worry
Released March 27, 2001: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
9
Yeeeah Baby is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Big Pun (2000); Tracks: 100%, The Creation (intro) & My Dick
Released April 4, 2000: Big Pun died Feb. 7, 2000
10
Live at Woodstock is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
mwtv added Live at Woodstock
Released July 6, 1999: Hendrix died Sept.18, 1970
11
The Sky Is Crying is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Arthur Williams added By Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble and Stevie Ray Vaughan (1991); Tracks: Little Wing, Chitlins Con Carne & The Sky Is Crying
Released November 5, 1991: Vaughan died Aug. 27, 1990
12
The Don Killuminati: The... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Tupac Shakur (1996); Tracks: Against All Odds, Hold Ya Head & Just Like Daddy
Nov. 5, 1996: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
13
First Rays of the New Ri... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Jimi Hendrix (1997); Tracks: Freedom, Ezy Ryder & Belly Button Window
Released April 22, 1997: Hendrix died Sept. 18, 1970
14
Life After Death is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By The Notorious B.I.G. (1997); Tracks: Notorious Thugs, Miss U & I Got a Story to Tell
Released March 25, 1997: Biggie died March 9, 1997
15
I Care 4 U is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
I Care 4 U
16
Coda is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
gamedemon24 added By Led Zeppelin (1982); Tracks: Poor Tom, Darlene & I Can't Quit You Baby
Released Nov. 19, 1982: John Bonham died Sept. 25, 1980
17
Mystery Girl is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Roy Orbison (1989); Tracks: The Comedians, California Blue & A Love So Beautiful
Released Feb. 7, 1989: Orbison died Dec. 6, 1988
18
Confrontation is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Bob Marley & The Wailers (1983); Tracks: Chant Down Babylon, Buffalo Soldier & Blackman Redemption
Released May 23, 1983: Marley died May 11, 1981
19
Better Dayz is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Tupac Shakur (2002); Tracks: There U Go, Still Ballin' & Who Do U Believe In
Released Nov. 26, 2002: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
20
R U Still Down? (Remembe... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Tupac Shakur (1997); Tracks: Only Fear of Death, Thug Style & I'm Losin It
Released Nov. 25, 1997: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
21
Milk and Honey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By John Lennon and Yoko Ono (1984); Tracks: I'm Stepping Out, You're the One & O' Sanity
Released Jan. 27, 1984: Lennon died Dec. 8, 1980
22
From a Basement on the H... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Elliott Smith (2004); Tracks: Coast to Coast, Let's Get Lost & Ostrich & Chirping
Released Oct. 18, 2004: Smith died Oct. 21, 2003
23
Lioness: Hidden Treasure... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Lioness: Hidden Treasures
Released Dec. 2, 2011: Winehouse died July 23, 2011
24
Genius Loves Company is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Ray Charles (2004); Tracks: Heaven Help Us All, Here We Go Again & Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
Released Aug. 31, 2004: Charles died June 10, 2004
25
Grievous Angel is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
By Gram Parsons (1974); Tracks: #9202a8c04000641f8000000026eea920, Medley: Cash on the Barrelhead / Hickory Wind (live) & Love Hurts
Released January 1974: Parsons died Sept. 19, 1973