Artists Whose First Album Was Released After They Died

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The lives of famous music artists tend to all have a similar trajectory: They rise from obscurity to achieve fame and renown, which either diminishes or stays strong throughout their lives. But sadly, some artists never live to see their solo musical efforts released to the world.  

There’s a cruel twist of fate at play when an artist – musical or otherwise – dies before achieving the success they’ve worked so hard for. Otis Redding, for instance, died in a plane crash just days before his first No. 1 hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” was released. (Accidents claim the lives of some musicians, but these famous musicians were murdered.)

Some of the artists on this list had already achieved fame in a musical group but passed away shortly before releasing their first solo album, while others had recorded music that could have potentially catapulted them to stardom, but sadly didn’t live to see it released. In some instances, their first albums came out only years after their passing, thanks to the efforts of friends and family. (Here are some examples of solo artists that were more successful than their bands.)

To compile a list of artists whose first album was released after they died, 24/7 Tempo consulted numerous websites including Rolling Stone, Insider, Loudwire, Discogs, Yardbarker, Paste, and NME. In some cases, the artist appeared on previous albums as part of a group but the posthumous release represents his or her first solo effort.

Most of these artists may have not lived to see the fame, fortune, and commercial success they wished for, but their music lives on.

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