• Music

The Best Albums Released Posthumously

List RulesStudio 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.

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  • 1
    208
    202

    MTV Unplugged in New York

    Nirvana
    Released on Nov. 1, 1994: Kurt Cobain died on April 5, 1994
  • 2
    135
    186

    The Dock of the Bay

    Otis Redding
    Released Feb. 23, 1968: Redding died December 10, 1967
  • 3
    155
    172

    Pearl

    Janis Joplin
    Released on January 11, 1971: Joplin died on October 4, 1970
  • 4
    103
    165

    Live at the Fillmore East

    Jimi Hendrix
    Released on Feb. 23, 1999: Hendrix died on Sept.18, 1970
  • 5
    98
    81

    Until the End of Time

    Tupac Shakur
    Released March 27, 2001: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
  • 6
    131
    216

    Sublime

    Sublime
    Released on July 30, 1996: Bradley Nowell died on May 25, 1996
  • 7
    Released July 4, 2006: Cash died Sept. 12, 2003
  • 8
    120
    70

    Yeeeah Baby

    Big Pun
    Released April 4, 2000: Big Pun died Feb. 7, 2000
  • 9
    83
    155
    Arthur Williams added

    The Sky Is Crying

    Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughan
    Released November 5, 1991: Vaughan died Aug. 27, 1990
  • 10
    108
    187

    Closer

    Joy Division
    Released July 18, 1980: Ian Curtis died May 18, 1980
  • 11
    109
    200

    Life After Death

    The Notorious B.I.G.
    Released March 25, 1997: Biggie died March 9, 1997
  • 12
    111
    199

    The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

    Tupac Shakur
    Nov. 5, 1996: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
  • 13
    72
    164
    mwtv added

    Live at Woodstock

    Jimi Hendrix
    Released July 6, 1999: Hendrix died Sept.18, 1970
  • 14
    71
    174
    gamedemon24 addedLed Zeppelin
    Released Nov. 19, 1982: John Bonham died Sept. 25, 1980
  • 15
    Released April 22, 1997: Hendrix died Sept. 18, 1970
  • 16
    74
    141

    Mystery Girl

    Roy Orbison
    Released Feb. 7, 1989: Orbison died Dec. 6, 1988
  • 17
    60
    139

    Milk and Honey

    John Lennon, Yoko Ono
    Released Jan. 27, 1984: Lennon died Dec. 8, 1980
  • 18
    45
    144

    Confrontation

    Bob Marley & The Wailers
    Released May 23, 1983: Marley died May 11, 1981
  • 19
    47
    146

    Grievous Angel

    Gram Parsons
    Released January 1974: Parsons died Sept. 19, 1973
  • 20
    54
    153

    R U Still Down? (Remember Me)

    Tupac Shakur
    Released Nov. 25, 1997: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
  • 21
    50
    156

    From a Basement on the Hill

    Elliott Smith
    Released Oct. 18, 2004: Smith died Oct. 21, 2003
  • 22
    33
    120

    Vulnerable

    Marvin Gaye
    Released April 22, 1997: Gaye died April 1, 1984
  • 23
    40
    133

    Genius Loves Company

    Ray Charles
    Released Aug. 31, 2004: Charles died June 10, 2004
  • 24
    28
    125

    Shake

    Sam Cooke
    Released Jan. 1965: Cooke died Dec. 11, 1964
  • 25
    40
    128

    Lioness: Hidden Treasures

    Amy Winehouse
    Released Dec. 2, 2011: Winehouse died July 23, 2011