• 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
    204
    200

    MTV Unplugged in New York

    Nirvana
    Released on Nov. 1, 1994: Kurt Cobain died on April 5, 1994
  • 2
    136
    182

    The Dock of the Bay

    Otis Redding
    Released Feb. 23, 1968: Redding died December 10, 1967
  • 3
    153
    171

    Pearl

    Janis Joplin
    Released on January 11, 1971: Joplin died on October 4, 1970
  • 4
    103
    163

    Live at the Fillmore East

    Jimi Hendrix
    Released on Feb. 23, 1999: Hendrix died on Sept.18, 1970
  • 96
    81
    Released March 27, 2001: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
  • 129
    213
    Sublime
    Released on July 30, 1996: Bradley Nowell died on May 25, 1996
  • Released July 4, 2006: Cash died Sept. 12, 2003
  • 118
    72
    Released April 4, 2000: Big Pun died Feb. 7, 2000
  • 107
    198
    The Notorious B.I.G.
    Released March 25, 1997: Biggie died March 9, 1997
  • 81
    154
    Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughan
    Released November 5, 1991: Vaughan died Aug. 27, 1990
  • 106
    186
    Joy Division
    Released July 18, 1980: Ian Curtis died May 18, 1980
  • Nov. 5, 1996: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
  • 78
    138
    Roy Orbison
    Released Feb. 7, 1989: Orbison died Dec. 6, 1988
  • 14
    71
    163

    Live at Woodstock

    Jimi Hendrix
    Released July 6, 1999: Hendrix died Sept.18, 1970
  • 70
    173
    Led Zeppelin
    Released Nov. 19, 1982: John Bonham died Sept. 25, 1980
  • Released April 22, 1997: Hendrix died Sept. 18, 1970
  • 46
    142
    Bob Marley & The Wailers
    Released May 23, 1983: Marley died May 11, 1981
  • 61
    136
    John Lennon, Yoko Ono
    Released Jan. 27, 1984: Lennon died Dec. 8, 1980
  • 46
    144
    Gram Parsons
    Released January 1974: Parsons died Sept. 19, 1973
  • Released Nov. 25, 1997: Shakur died Sept. 13, 1996
  • 49
    155
    Released Oct. 18, 2004: Smith died Oct. 21, 2003
  • 33
    118
    Marvin Gaye
    Released April 22, 1997: Gaye died April 1, 1984
  • 40
    131
    Released Aug. 31, 2004: Charles died June 10, 2004
  • 28
    121
    Sam Cooke
    Released Jan. 1965: Cooke died Dec. 11, 1964
  • 25
    39
    128

    Lioness: Hidden Treasures

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