16 musicians who have released albums posthumously

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·9 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Prince's estate has released a multitude of music since his death.

Handout/Getty Images

On July 3, 2020, the debut album by Pop Smoke was released, just a few months after the 20-year-old rapper was murdered in February.

While it may seem eerie to listen to new music from one of your favorite artists after their death, it can also be comforting to hear new material from voices that were silenced too soon.

Here are 16 famous posthumous releases, from Mac Miller to John Lennon.

Pop Smoke's debut studio album, "Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon," was released five months after his death. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Rapper Pop Smoke
Pop Smoke.

Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images

The 20-year-old had released two well-regarded mixtapes and was working on his debut album when his life was cut short during a home invasion in February.

"Shoot for the Stars" was originally set to be released on June 12, but it was pushed back out of respect for the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd. It was released on July 3 to critical acclaim, and even earned the rapper his first No. 1 album and first top 20 hit on the Hot 100. He joins the Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, and XXXTentacion, as the only rappers to posthumously debut atop the charts, according to Billboard.

Mac Miller's family released his album, "Circles," in January 2020, 16 months after his death in September 2018.

mac miller
Mac Miller.

Rich Fury/Getty Images

The late rapper's family announced they were releasing his final album a week prior on Instagram. "Circles" was meant to be a companion album to 2018's "Swimming" —  the concept being "swimming in circles" — and he was working on it at the time of his death.

The first posthumous album by John Lennon was 1984's "Milk and Honey," on which he collaborated with his wife Yoko Ono.

john lennon
John Lennon.

Ron Case/Keystone/Getty Images

The murder of Lennon shocked the world in December 1980, when he was just 40 years old. Since then, mountains of Lennon's music has been released, including box sets, live albums, and compilations of previously unreleased music and demos.

But the 1984 album "Milk and Honey" sticks out in his discography, probably because of the association with Ono, as it would have been their follow-up to 1980's "Double Fantasy," which ended up winning the Grammy for Album of the Year after Lennon's death.

The Notorious B.I.G.'s eerily titled "Life After Death" was released two weeks after he was fatally shot.

notorious big
The Notorious B.I.G.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Biggie released two albums in his career — both having to do with death. His debut album was called "Ready to Die," and was released in 1994. Three years later, he was murdered in a drive-by shooting, just two weeks before his second album, "Life After Death," was set to be released. "Life After Death" topped the charts and was nominated for three Grammys.

There has been a wealth of Prince music released after his death, notably the 2019 album "Originals," comprised of demos.


Handout/Getty Images

Prince died in 2016 due to an accidental overdose at 57. Since then, two full-length albums have been released. The first, "Piano and a Microphone 1983," came from Prince's vault, and was released in 2018. Recorded on a cassette in 1983, it's just a single take of Prince brainstorming song ideas.

The second, "Originals," are all unreleased demos (besides "Nothing Compares 2 U") that Prince wrote and gave away to other singers. Notable tracks include The Bangles' "Manic Monday," Kenny Rogers' "You're My Love," and Apollonia 6's "Sex Shooter."

Mark Ronson, Salaam Remi, and Amy Winehouse's family worked together to release "Lioness: Hidden Treasures," six months after her death.

Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse.


Winehouse died in July 2011 from alcohol toxicity. In December that year, her close friends and collaborators worked with her family to release "Lioness," a compilation album of previously recorded demos and unreleased tracks that were left off "Back to Black" and "Frank."

A live album called "Amy Winehouse at the BBC" was also released in 2012, and the soundtrack to the 2015 film, "Amy," was released that year as well, with more demos and live versions of her popular songs.

Lil Peep's estate released both a full album, "Come Over When You're Sober Pt. 2," and a compilation album, "Everybody's Everything," after his death in 2017.

lil peep
Lil Peep.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Lil Peep died in November 2017 when he was 21 years old due to an accidental drug overdose. A follow-up to his debut studio album, "Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 1," was released almost a year after his death, aptly titled "Come Over When You're Sober, Pt. 2."

"Everybody's Everything" was released exactly two years after his death to coincide with a documentary about him of the same name. It has unreleased music, new songs, and tracks pulled from previous EPs.

Janis Joplin's album "Pearl" was released in January 1971, a few months after her untimely death.

janis joplin
Janis Joplin.

Evening Standard/Getty Images

Joplin is one of the most famous members of the "27 Club," a group of celebrities who died at 27. Joplin passed away in October 1970 due to a heroin overdose. She recorded the last song for the album, "Mercedes Benz," according to the Wall Street Journal, "in the studio for fun." She died three days later.

Though Joplin only released four albums in a four-year period, she has become one of the most influential musicians in rock and roll history.

The estate of James Brown has released 16 compilation albums since his death in 2006.

james brown 2000
James Brown.

Getty/Dan Callister

The prolific musician died in 2006 due to pneumonia, at age 73. Over his decades-long career, Brown released over 100 singles, all of which have been packaged into compilation albums after his death. To date, there have been 11 volumes of "The Singles" released.

Brown was also featured on the soundtrack of his biopic, "Get On Up," which was released in 2014.

Leonard Cohen's 15th album, "Thanks for the Dance," was released in November 2019, three years after his death.

leonard cohen
Leonard Cohen.

Valentin Flauraud/Reuters

Cohen died in November 2016 at 82, just a few weeks after his album "You Want It Darker" was released. The songs from "Thanks for the Dance," were recorded during the same sessions as its predecessor, and can be viewed as a continuation of that album.

There have been eight Freddie Mercury albums released posthumously, most recently 2019's "Never Boring" — and that's not including his work with Queen.

freddie mercury
Freddie Mercury.

Steve Jennings/WireImage

Mercury died in November 1991 due to complications from AIDS. He was 45. Since then, multiple compilations and box sets of his solo material have been released, most recently in October 2019. "Never Boring" contains five discs of "Mercury's songs, videos and spoken words."

Controversial rapper XXXTentacion had two solo albums released posthumously: "Skins" in 2018 and "Bad Vibes Forever" in 2019.

xxxtentacion fist

mpi04 / MediaPunch /IPX/AP

The rapper released his last album, "?," three months before he was killed in June 2018. Before his death, XXXTentacion had announced he was working on three albums: "?," "Skins," and "Bad Vibes Forever."

"Skins" was released in December 2018, and is a sparse 19 minutes long with just 10 songs. The follow-up, "Bad Vibes Forever," was released a year later, with considerably more material. 

One of Ray Charles' posthumous albums is called "Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters."

ray charles
Ray Charles.

AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian

Charles, one of the most beloved musicians of all time, had no shortage of unreleased music to draw from after his death in 2004 at the age of 73. Most recently, his estate released "Rare Genius" in 2010, comprised entirely of previously unreleased songs and demos from the '70s, '80s, and '90s.

The first album by Charles to be released posthumously was 2005's "Genius & Friends," which is made up of unreleased duets between Charles and his friends, like Gladys Knight, Diana Ross, Willie Nelson, and John Legend, among others.

George Harrison's final studio album was released in 2002, almost a year after his death. There have been compilations since then.

george harrison
George Harrison.


The former Beatle died in 2001 due to lung cancer at 58. Almost a year later, 2002's "Brainwashed" was released. The album consists of songs he had been working on for almost a decade, though he died before the album could be finished. His son, Dhani, and his frequent collaborator Jeff Lynne finished it for him.

Eazy-E's second and final solo album was released 10 months after the rapper's death.

eazy e

Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Eazy-E, who is well known for both his time as a member of NWA and his work as a solo artist, only released one full-length album in his lifetime, 1988's "Eazy-Duz-It." But after the rapper's death in 1995 due to complications from AIDS at 30, a greatest hits album called "Eternal E" was released in November of that year.

"Str8 off tha Streetz" was released in January 1996, and was comprised of completely new material. In 2002, another EP of material that was meant to have been on this album, "Impact of a Legend," was released.

Avicii's final album, "Tim," was released in June 2019, over a year after his death.


Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Avicii died by suicide at the age of 28 in April 2018. His final album, "Tim," — his real name was Tim Bergling — was released in June 2019, almost four years after his prior album, "Stories."

The DJ left behind "numerous songs, notes, email conversations, and text messages still available to friends and collaborators with his passing," according to SPIN. His friends and family worked together to finish his songs, and put together the album.

Read the original article on Insider

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting