Music

Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song? 

Mick Jacobs
Updated December 31, 2019 123.7k votes 6.5k voters 30.3k views 519 items

List Rules Vote up the artists you would love to see do one final song.

Many of the world's greatest musicians remain highly respected even in death. The world often mourns the loss of the artist and the songs that the artist never got to write. If you go looking through your iTunes or Spotify libraries, you will likely find dozens of those dead musicians. You'll probably want to bring back more than a few, even if it's just so that they can write one more song.

In the whirlwind world of music, numerous rock stars die before their prime. Their untimely demises pose a difficult question, one that needs an answer.

We asked you, our audience, "Which artist would you bring back from the dead to write one more song?" And your answers have been both surprising and satisfying. Artists who died before ever reaching thirty, from Kurt Cobain to Aaliyah, are among your choices but a few prolific artists who had time on their side, such as Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen, also showed up in your responses. Some people believed that these legends were still capable of genius even in their old age.

While no one determined for certain which dead artist needs to make one more song, each answer still reminds us of how much these musicians continue to impact the world.

list ordered by
1
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music; Nationality: England

Albums: Imagine, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Double Fantasy, Milk and Honey, Walls and Bridges, + more

Labels: Parlophone, Geffen Records, EMI, Polydor Records, Apple Records, + more

John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon, 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as the rhythm guitarist for ...more

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#88 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years 28 Facts You Didn't Know About John Lennonlisted on Famous Accordionists

2
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly; Nationality: Zanzibar, United Kingdom

Albums: The Solo Collection, Barcelona, Mr. Bad Guy, Time, Guide Me Home, + more

Labels: Parlophone, Hollywood Records, EMI, Polydor Records, Columbia, + more

Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British singer, songwriter, record producer, and lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. Regarded as one of the ...more

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#1 of 714 The Best Rock Vocalists #866 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time True Stories From Freddie Mercury’s Childhood

3
Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Opera, Classical music; Nationality: Germany

Albums: Symphony Edition, Classical Anthology, Symphonies Nos. 1-9 (feat. piano: Cyprien Katsaris), Eternal Classics, The Perlman Edition (disc 15: Bach), + more

Ludwig van Beethoven ( (listen); German: [ˈluːtvɪç fan ˈbeːthoːfn̩] (listen); baptised 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the ...more

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4
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Thriller, Bad, Off the Wall, Dangerous, Michael, + more

Labels: Sony Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Motown Records, MJJ Music, Sony Music Entertainment, + more

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant ...more

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#2 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Time #58 of 2,218 The Best Rock Bands of All Time The Best Michael Jackson Songs of All Time

5
Prince is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Purple Rain, Sign 'O' the Times, 1999, Love Symbol Album, Around the World in a Day, + more

Labels: Universal Records, Paisley Park Records, Arista Records, Warner Bros. Records, NPG Records, + more

Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, actor, and filmmaker. With a career spanning four decades, Prince was ...more

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#19 of 714 The Best Rock Vocalists #20 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Time The Best Prince Songs of All Time

6
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music; Nationality: United Kingdom, England

Albums: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Hunky Dory, Diamond Dogs, Aladdin Sane, "Heroes", + more

Labels: PRT Records, Parlophone, Hansa Records, EMI America Records, Deram Records, + more

David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), known professionally as David Bowie (, BOH-ee), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry ...more

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#20 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #544 of 1,148 The Best Actors in Film History The Best David Bowie Songs of All Time

7
Ricky Nelson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Dimos Dicoudis added Genre: Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Rick Sings Nelson, Rudy the Fifth, The Rock 'n' Roll Era: Ricky Nelson: 1957-1972, Best of Ricky Nelson, The Lost '60s Recordings, + more

Labels: Decca Records, MCA Records, Imperial Records, Epic Records, Music Corporation of America

Eric Hilliard Nelson (May 8, 1940 – December 31, 1985) was an American pop star, musician, and singer-songwriter. From age eight he starred alongside his family in the radio and television ...more

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#65 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Time #1,102 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Ricky Nelson Albums of All Time

8
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: First Rays of the New Rising Sun, Band of Gypsys, Voodoo Child: The Jimi Hendrix Collection, Live at the Fillmore East, Live at Woodstock, + more

Labels: MCA Records, Vee-Jay Records, Polydor Records, Reprise Records, Barclay Records, + more

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. His mainstream career lasted ...more

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#86 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Time The Best Jimi Hendrix Songs of All Timelisted on Rolling Stone's Top 100 Guitarists of All Time

9
Kurt Cobain is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Grunge, Alternative rock, Punk rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: 1993-09-08: Rock Against Rape Benefit, Club Lingerie, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, + more

Labels: Geffen Records, DGC Records, Sub Pop

Kurt Donald Cobain (February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994) was an American singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the guitarist and frontman of the rock band Nirvana. He is remembered as ...more

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#26 of 714 The Best Rock Vocalists 15 Crazy But True Stories About Nirvanalisted on Rolling Stone's Top 100 Guitarists of All Time

10
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Valdave added Genre: Opera, Ballet, Art song; Nationality: Holy Roman Empire

Albums: Symphony Edition, Classical Anthology, Eternal Classics, Concertos for Flute, Harp and Orchestra (Orchestra: Saint Paul's Philharmonic Orchestra; Flute: Ubaldo Rosso; Harp: Ursula Mazurek; Conductor: Silvano Frontalini), + more

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the classical era. Born in ...more

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11
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Valdave added Genre: Ballad, Swing music, Traditional pop music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Côte d'Azur Concerts on Verve, Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas, The Stockholm Concert, Porgy & Bess, + more

Labels: Decca Records, Verve Music Group, Reprise Records, Pablo Records, Capitol Records

Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996) was an African-American jazz singer sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. She was noted for her ...more

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#16 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Time #60 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Ella Fitzgerald Albums of All Time

12
Bob Marley is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Reggae; Nationality: Jamaica

Albums: Sun Is Shining, One Love, Rainbow Country, Lively Up Yourself, Forever Gold, + more

Robert Nesta Marley, (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981) was a Jamaican singer and songwriter. Considered one of the pioneers of reggae, his musical career was marked by blending elements of reggae, ...more

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13
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Pop music, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album, Whitney Houston, My Love Is Your Love, I'm Your Baby Tonight, The Preacher's Wife: Original Soundtrack Album, + more

Labels: Sony Music Entertainment, Arista Records, RCA Records

Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer and actress. She was cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and ...more

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#4 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Time #95 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Whitney Houston Albums of All Time

14
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: American V: A Hundred Highways, American IV: The Man Comes Around, At Folsom Prison, American Recordings, American III: Solitary Man, + more

Labels: Mercury, American Recordings, Legacy Recordings, Columbia, Sun Records

John R. "Johnny" Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, ...more

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#24 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Time #30 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Johnny Cash Songs of All Time

15
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Dimos Dicoudis added Genre: Christian music, Pop music, Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Jailhouse Rock, The Sun Sessions, From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential '60s Masters, Can’t Help Falling in Love / Rock-A-Hula Baby, Elvis Presley (Legacy Edition), + more

Labels: Sun Records, RCA Records

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known mononymously as Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th ...more

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#363 of 1,148 The Best Actors in Film History #5 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Time Elvis Presley And Richard Nixon Once Shared The Strangest White House Meeting Of All Time

16
Karen Carpenter is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Valdave added Genre: Pop music, Soft rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Karen Carpenter

Labels: A&M Records

Karen Anne Carpenter (March 2, 1950 – February 4, 1983) was an American singer and drummer who was part of the duo the Carpenters alongside her brother Richard. She was praised for her contralto ...more

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#9 of 969 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #171 of 926 People We Wish Were Still Alive

17
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Full Moon Fever, Wildflowers, Highway Companion, Mary Jane's Last Dance, Free Fallin', + more

Labels: MCA Records, Shelter Records, Backstreet Records, American Recordings, Reprise Records, + more

Thomas Earl Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was the lead singer of Tom Petty and the ...more

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#121 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #35 of 714 The Best Rock Vocalists #328 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

18
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, Still I Rise, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..., + more

Labels: Amaru Entertainment, Death Row Records, Interscope Records

Tupac Amaru Shakur ( TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. He is ...more

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19
Luciano Pavarotti is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Valdave added Genre: Opera; Nationality: Italy

Albums: The Tenors, Tutto Pavarotti, Rigoletto (Luciano Pavarotti, Renata Scotto, Rome Opera House Orchestra & Chorus feat. conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini), + more

Luciano Pavarotti (, also US: , Italian: [luˈtʃaːno pavaˈrɔtti]; 12 October 1935 – 6 September 2007) was an Italian operatic tenor who also crossed over into popular music, eventually becoming ...more

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20
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Doo-wop, Motown Sound, Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: What's Going On, Here, My Dear, Let's Get It On, I Want You, + more

Labels: Motown Records, Tamla Records, Columbia

Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr.; April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984) was an American singer, songwriter, and record producer. He helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an ...more

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#77 of 2,187 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #111 of 926 People We Wish Were Still Alive The Best Marvin Gaye Albums of All Time

21
Jim Morrison is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music, Acid rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Paris Jim, Dionysus

Labels: Elektra Records, Columbia

James Douglas Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) was an American singer, songwriter and poet, who served as the lead vocalist of the rock band the Doors. Due to his poetic lyrics, ...more

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22
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Dimos Dicoudis added Genre: Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock; Nationality: England

Albums: All Things Must Pass, Cloud Nine, Living in the Material World, Thirty Three & 1/3, George Harrison, + more

Labels: Swan Records, Parlophone, Zapple Records, EMI, Dark Horse Records, + more

George Harrison (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician, singer-songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the ...more

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23
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Birth of Soul, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, The Spirit of Christmas, Ray Charles at Newport, Genius Loves Company, + more

Labels: ABC Records, Atlantic Records, Swing Time Records, Rhino Entertainment, Concord Records, + more

Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), professionally known as simply Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer. Among friends and fellow ...more

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#96 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #23 of 1,057 The Best Singers of All Time The Best Ray Charles Albums of All Time

24
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again, Duets: The Final Chapter, Greatest Hits, + more

Labels: Atlantic Records, Uptown Records, Bad Boy Records

Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), known professionally as The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or Biggie, was an American rapper. He is widely considered to be ...more

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25
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Doo-wop, Pop music, Neo soul; Nationality: England

Albums: Back to Black, Frank, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, Rehab, Remixes Promo 2, + more

Labels: Island Records, Universal Republic Records, Universal Music Group, Republic Records

Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer and songwriter. She was known for her deep, expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, ...more

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