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.
MTV Unplugged in New YorkNirvanaReleased on Nov. 1, 1994: Kurt Cobain died on April 5, 1994
The Dock of the BayOtis ReddingReleased Feb. 23, 1968: Redding died December 10, 1967
PearlJanis JoplinReleased on January 11, 1971: Joplin died on October 4, 1970
Live at the Fillmore EastJimi HendrixReleased on Feb. 23, 1999: Hendrix died on Sept.18, 1970
- Tupac ShakurReleased March 27, 2001: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
- SublimeReleased on July 30, 1996: Bradley Nowell died on May 25, 1996
- Johnny CashReleased July 4, 2006: Cash died Sept. 12, 2003
- Big PunReleased April 4, 2000: Big Pun died Feb. 7, 2000
- The Notorious B.I.G.Released March 25, 1997: Biggie died March 9, 1997
- Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Stevie Ray VaughanReleased November 5, 1991: Vaughan died Aug. 27, 1990
- Joy DivisionReleased July 18, 1980: Ian Curtis died May 18, 1980
- Tupac ShakurNov. 5, 1996: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
- Roy OrbisonReleased Feb. 7, 1989: Orbison died Dec. 6, 1988
Live at WoodstockJimi HendrixReleased July 6, 1999: Hendrix died Sept.18, 1970
- Led ZeppelinReleased Nov. 19, 1982: John Bonham died Sept. 25, 1980
- Jimi HendrixReleased April 22, 1997: Hendrix died Sept. 18, 1970
- Bob Marley & The WailersReleased May 23, 1983: Marley died May 11, 1981
- John Lennon, Yoko OnoReleased Jan. 27, 1984: Lennon died Dec. 8, 1980
- Gram ParsonsReleased January 1974: Parsons died Sept. 19, 1973
- Tupac ShakurReleased Nov. 25, 1997: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
- Elliott SmithReleased Oct. 18, 2004: Smith died Oct. 21, 2003
- Marvin GayeReleased April 22, 1997: Gaye died April 1, 1984
- Ray CharlesReleased Aug. 31, 2004: Charles died June 10, 2004
- Sam CookeReleased Jan. 1965: Cooke died Dec. 11, 1964
Lioness: Hidden TreasuresAmy WinehouseReleased Dec. 2, 2011: Winehouse died July 23, 2011