Music

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

Mick Jacobs
Updated July 6, 2020 147.5k votes 7.9k voters 42.7k views 526 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
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Rockabilly; Nationality: United Kingdom

Albums: The Solo Collection, Barcelona, Mr. Bad Guy, Time, Guide Me Home, + 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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2
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 2 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

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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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 and Classical music; Nationality: Austrian Empire

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

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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The Best Michael Jackson Songs of All Time #67 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #2 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

5
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 5 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

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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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

Albums: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Hunky Dory, Diamond Dogs, Aladdin Sane, "Heroes", + 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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The Best David Bowie Songs of All Time #130 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #16 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

7
Prince is listed (or ranked) 7 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

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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The Best Prince Songs of All Time #59 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #10 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

8
Kurt Cobain is listed (or ranked) 8 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

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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9
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 9 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

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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The Best Johnny Cash Songs of All Time #22 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Yearslisted on 1970s Christian Pop Artists

10
Bob Marley is listed (or ranked) 10 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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11
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ... 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: 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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12
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 12 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

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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#230 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time #79 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #87 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

13
Ella Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 13 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

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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The Best Ella Fitzgerald Albums of All Time #11 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #14 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time

14
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 14 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

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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15
Ricky Nelson 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: 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

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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The Best Ricky Nelson Albums of All Time #37 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time #1,012 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

16
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 16 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

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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17
Jim Morrison 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, Rock music & Acid rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Paris Jim, Dionysus

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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18
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 18 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: United Kingdom

Albums: All Things Must Pass, Cloud Nine, Living in the Material World, Thirty Three & 1/3, George Harrison, + 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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19
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 19 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

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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20
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 20 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

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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21
Karen Carpenter is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Valdave added Genre: Pop music and Soft rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Karen Carpenter

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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22
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Instrumental rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Couldn't Stand the Weather, In Step, Texas Flood, The Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, The Sky Is Crying, + more

Stephen Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990) was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, and one of the most influential guitarists in the revival of blues in ...more

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The Best Stevie Ray Vaughan Songs of All Time #57 of 784 The Best Singers of All Time #84 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

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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24
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Lubbock sound, Rock music & Rockabilly; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Buddy, 20 Golden Greats, What You Been A-Missin': What You've Been A-Missin', The Buddy Holly Story, That'll Be The Day, + more

Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American musician and singer-songwriter who was a central and pioneering figure of ...more

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25
Janis Joplin is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Folk music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Pearl, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Greatest Hits, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, The Essential Janis Joplin, + more

Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American rock, soul, and blues singer-songwriter, and one of the most successful and widely known rock stars of her era. After ...more

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