Greatest Albums The Best Albums Released Posthumously  

Ranker Music
Originally by
5k votes 662 voters 14.8k views 61 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
204 80
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
137 66
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
105 39
American V: A Hundred Highways is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Johnny Cash
Released July 4, 2006: Cash died Sept. 12, 2003

4
131 64
Pearl is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Janis Joplin
Released on January 11, 1971: Joplin died on October 4, 1970

5
107 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
60 40
The Sky Is Crying is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
59 29
Double Fantasy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
John Lennon, Yoko Ono

9
67 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
119 85
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
112 76
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
121 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 56
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 56
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
44 48
Confrontation is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Bob Marley & The Wailers
Released May 23, 1983: Marley died May 11, 1981

19
51 45
The Immortal Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Otis Redding
Released June 1968: Redding died Dec. 10, 1967

20
43 48
Genius Loves Company is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Ray Charles
Released Aug. 31, 2004: Charles died June 10, 2004

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
33 42
Shake is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Sam Cooke
Released Jan. 1965: Cooke died Dec. 11, 1964

23
55 60
R U Still Down? (Remember Me) is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Tupac Shakur
Released Nov. 25, 1997: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996

24
58 65
Until the End of Time is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
Tupac Shakur
Released March 27, 2001: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996

25
44 48
Milk and Honey is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Albums Released Posthumously
John Lennon, Yoko Ono
Released Jan. 27, 1984: Lennon died Dec. 8, 1980